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.
Queen Esther and Me
Amalia Hoffman describes the origins and celebration of the Jewish holiday Purim.
Can Television Be Considered Literature and Taught in English Classes?
Shelby Ostergaard discusses the potential benefits and disadvantages of using television for teaching.
Excerpt from The Harvest Gypsies
John Steinbeck discusses the role of migrant workers in California’s agriculture industry.
On Various Kinds of Thinking
James Harvey Robinson
James Harvey Robinson discusses different types of thinking and why it is important to challenge accepted truths.
Excerpt from “Our America”
José Martí discusses leadership in Latin American nations.
Excerpt from A Room of One’s Own
The speaker describes how the experiences of women pursuing the arts differ from those of men.
A speaker describes taking his nephew for a walk in the forest.
Sir Francis Bacon
In this essay, Sir Francis Bacon discusses the importance of pursuing knowledge.
On the Education of Youth in America
Noah Webster discusses the importance of educating young citizens for the success of America.
Will We ‘Fix’ The Weather? Yes. Should We Fix The Weather? Hmmm
A prominent journalist discusses the opinions of climate scientists about using technology to control the earth’s climate.
To Those Who Keep Slaves, and Approve the Practice
Famous minister and abolitionist Richard Allen implores slave-owners and pro-slavery advocates to reconsider their stances.
In My Mom's Shoes
Kat Chow reflects on losing her mother and the experience of walking in her mother’s old shoes.
Julia Alvarez discusses the multiple names she has been given over the years.
Junot Díaz explores his experiences with fear after being beat-up as an adolescent.
The Madness Of Humanity Part 3: Tribalism
Marcelo Gleiser for NPR
This essay explores how tribalism operates in modern society.
Thresholds of Violence
In this informational text, Malcolm Gladwell discusses why people act violently when they normally wouldn’t.
Everyday Life as a Learning Experience
Sarah A. Chrisman
A writer describes what she has learned by living her twenty-first-century life as if she lived in the late 1800s.
Excerpt from Southern Horrors: Lynch Laws in All Its Phases
Ida B. Wells
This excerpt discusses the injustice and horrors of Southern lynch laws, focusing especially on the violence enacted against African Americans following the Civil War and Reconstruction Era.
The Plymouth Thanksgiving Story
A Native American author adds key information to the commonly told story of the first Thanksgiving.