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.
Pigs is Pigs
Ellis Parker Butler
An argument over the definition of “guinea pigs” leads to unanticipated and avoidable problems.
Was It a Dream?
Guy de Maupassant
A grieving man visits the grave of his deceased lover, where he discovers an awful truth.
A sniper during the Irish Civil War exchanges fire with the enemy and suffers a great loss.
Dulce et Decorum Est
The horrors of chemical warfare during World War I are described in this gripping poem.
The Russian Revolution
The complex path leading to the Russian Revolution of 1917 is retraced, exploring the central conflict between social unrest and autocratic rule.
The Frog and the Mouse
A frog betrays a mouse and finds himself in a bad situation because of it.
My Last Duchess
A powerful Victorian-era Duke marvels peculiarly over a painting of his late wife, whose fate seems mysteriously related to his intolerance of her friendliness.
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.
The Legend of Sleepy Hollow
One of the earliest examples of American fiction with enduring popularity (especially during the Halloween season), this short story about Ichabod Crane and the Headless Horseman deals with themes of love, fear, gluttony, and truth.
A Dead Woman's Secret
Guy de Maupassant
While mourning the passing of their saintly mother, a brother and sister uncover a shocking secret.
A Horseman in the Sky
A young Virginian man joins the Union Army during the American Civil War and has to make a difficult decision after falling asleep on one of his watches.
Giovanni Boccaccio, translated by Mark Musa and Peter Bondanella
In an ironic twist of fate, a man loses everything for his love of a beautiful and wealthy woman.
A man is put in a rather uncomfortable situation when he discovers that he and his female companion are not alone inside of a train compartment.
Samuel Scoville, Jr.
A young Caribbean boy accompanied by his grandfather goes sponge-diving in the reef where a tiger shark killed his father—and where he faces dangers of his own.
The Golden Touch
Hawthorne retells the myth of King Midas, whose lust for gold deprives him of what he most cherishes.
A prominent military man’s rise to success is retold from the perspective of a former teacher, who is astounded at the man's good fortune.
The Narrative of the Life of Frederick Douglass: Excerpt from Chapter 11
In chapter 11, Douglass describes his escape from slavery, and the challenges he faced upon becoming a free man.
The Million Pound Bank Note
A man gains fame and fortune simply because he is in possession of a large bank note.
The War Works Hard
In this satirical poem, a speaker remarks on the impressive diligence of war and its effects, from "provid[ing] food for flies" to "invigorat[ing] the coffin makers."