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.
“The Worst Birthday” from Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets
Tensions rise at home as a boy must suppress his magical abilities around his non-magical family, who has forgotten his birthday.
A speaker tells a grown up that he should try “growing down”.
President Reagan's Speech at the Brandenburg Gate
President Ronald Reagan
President Ronald Reagan delivers this famous speech imploring General Secretary Gorbachev to take down the Berlin Wall and reunite Germany.
Here We Aren't, So Quickly
Jonathan Safran Foer
In this avant-garde short story, a man reflects on his life and his relationship with his family.
Walking Down Park
A speaker reimagines the modern world as an idyllic wildlife landscape.
J. Patrick Lewis
The poet assumes the voice of journalist and civil rights activist Helen Zia and explains how she uses words to share her perspective with others.
Was It a Dream?
Guy de Maupassant
A grieving man visits the grave of his deceased lover, where he discovers an awful truth.
The Little Red Hen
Florence White Williams
A hard-working Red Hen must balance being a mother to her chicks and planting wheat seeds, while three other lazy animals look on.
Paul Laurence Dunbar
In this poem the speaker empathizes with the experiences of a caged bird, using vivid imagery to illustrate its oppression.
In this poem, a speaker describes the happiness he finds in eating a summer peach.
Polly Sits Tight
Ethel M. Caution
In this short story, a young girl who must wear her mother’s shoes to school is afraid of being ridiculed by her classmates.
Dance Mama Dance
In this poem, the speaker discusses his mother and his wish to see her dance.
This poem explores the relationship between a boy and his father, and the impact of his father’s eventual absence.
Malala Yousafzai’s Address to the United Nations, July 2013
In this speech to the United Nations, Malala Yousafzai describes her experience after being shot by members of the Taliban and her commitment to education and rights for women.
O Captain! My Captain!
A sailor grieves the loss of his captain, who dies before the completion of their journey.