CommonLit is a free collection of fiction and nonfiction for 3rd-12th grade classrooms. Search and filter our collection by lexile, grade, theme, genre, literary device, or common core standard.
“Help Him Up!”: A Witness’s Account of Panic on a Subway Platform
A reporter describes witnesses’ reactions to a man falling onto New York City subway tracks.
A speaker describes their ancestors coming to America through Ellis Island.
Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie
A girl’s brother is arrested and sent to a corrupt prison in Nigeria.
The Red Bow
A father is devastated when his daughter is killed by a diseased dog.
Georgia Douglas Johnson
A speaker describes venturing out from a small, familiar place.
Welcome to the Underworld
Michael A. Signal
Hermes, messenger of the gods, gives a tour of the Underworld.
Excerpt from Heart of Darkness
A seaman imagines what it must have been like for the Romans who first came to England.
Excerpt from The Autobiography of an Ex-Colored Man
James Weldon Johnson
A man describes his journey to Paris and his thoughts on the city.
Excerpt from Frankenstein; or the Modern Prometheus
An explorer describes his voyage before bringing Victor Frankenstein on his ship.
Shooting an Elephant
A British officer must decide whether or not to shoot an elephant that has become aggressive.
Teri Ellen Cross Davis
A speaker describes her feelings about her natural hair over the years.
A speaker is questioned about the darkness of their skin when they inquire about leasing an apartment.
The Great Woolly Bear Hunt
Craig W. Steele
A speaker searches for a creature called a woolly bear.
Immigrants in Our Own Land
Jimmy Santiago Baca
An immigrant dreams of a better life but encounters a disappointing reality instead.
A boy wants to be named the most valuable player during his basketball team’s championship game.