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.
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.
Excerpt from The Autobiography of Benjamin Franklin
In this excerpt from his autobiography, Benjamin Franklin discusses his efforts to better himself by training different virtues.
Excerpt from Honky
Sociologist Dalton Conley reflects in this excerpt from his book on his status as a white middle-class man having grown up in a lower-income community of color.
‘Chasing Memories’ In Their Refugee Camp 40 Years After Fleeing Vietnam
Hansi Lo Wang
Refugees who traveled to the United States following the Vietnam War gather at a former processing center to remember their past.
Village Schools and Traveling Soldiers
Arthur Henderson Smith
An American missionary in China describes late 19th century Chinese views on education.
How I Found True Love in an Arranged Marriage
Surabhi Surendra tells the story of how she fell in love with her husband in an arranged marriage.
Choosing a Warning Label for Human DNA
This piece offers a thoughtful meditation on the way human beings treat the planet they call home.
Sometimes, History is Sadness
This piece explores the human impact of the tragic historical events of September 11, 2001.
The Space Race is Over
Kingsnorth examines the collective fear of the future and the resurgent concept of space colonization.
Washington's Farewell Address
President George Washington
In this letter written by Washington to the American people, the United States' first president explains his intent to decline a third term in office, leaving the nation with some final thoughts on unity, power, and freedom.