CommonLit is a free collection of fiction and nonfiction for 5th-12th grade classrooms. Search and filter our collection by lexile, grade, theme, genre, literary device, or common core standard.
That Evening Sun
Young Quentin wonders why Nancy, the black washerwoman, is afraid of her husband in this Southern Gothic story.
Pigs is Pigs
Ellis Parker Butler
An argument over the definition of “guinea pigs” leads to unanticipated and avoidable problems.
Letter from Birmingham Jail
Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.
Martin Luther King, Jr., outlines his nonviolence approach to addressing injustice while responding to criticism.
The Supreme Court’s Ruling in Brown vs. Board of Education
U.S. Supreme Court
In this pivotal Supreme Court decision, Chief Justice Earl Warren describes the necessity of desegregating American public schools.
The Masque of the Red Death
Edgar Allan Poe
Safe inside his home from the disease ravaging the country, Prince Prospero throws an extravagant party for his esteemed friends, only to receive an unexpected guest: Death himself.
Julia Alvarez discusses the multiple names she has been given over the years.
A sniper during the Irish Civil War exchanges fire with the enemy and suffers a great loss.
Tristan and Isolde
Lady Jane Wilde
A knight and a princess fall in love, but at the cost of betraying their king.
General Eisenhower’s Order of the Day
General Dwight D. Eisenhower
In this note from World War II, General Eisenhower encourages his troops to defeat the enemy on the eve of the Invasion of Normandy.
The Scholarship Jacket
Marta is a straight-A student who has earned a scholarship jacket, but her financial situation – and an unjust school leader – may prevent her from receiving her reward.
The Man in the Arena
President Theodore Roosevelt
In Theodore Roosevelt’s famous 1910 speech, he puts into words that characteristic for which he is perhaps best remembered: his proclivity toward action.
Hearts and Hands
A woman runs into an old friend on the train and is surprised to find out what he has been up to since their last visit.
Anthem for Doomed Youth
A soldier laments the loss of his fellow young combatants during the First World War.
A Dead Woman's Secret
Guy de Maupassant
While mourning the passing of their saintly mother, a brother and sister uncover a shocking secret.
An ironworks manager leads his friend on an eerie tour of his company shortly after discovering a secret.
Verses Written by a Young Lady, on Women Born to Be Controll'd!
A speaker laments the position of women as was then conceived natural: subservient to men.
I like to see it lap the Miles
A speaker depicts the arrival of the "iron horse," or railroad engine and its train.
To His Excellency, General Washington
An ode to the future first president, commending his achievements as general in the American Revolutionary War.
When I Have Fears That I May Cease to Be
A speaker shares his desires for his future and his fears that he will not accomplish them.