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.
Excerpts from Roughing It
Twain recounts his time looking for work in the West in this semi-autobiographical, comic travelogue.
Pigs is Pigs
Ellis Parker Butler
An argument over the definition of “guinea pigs” leads to unanticipated and avoidable problems.
Why Does No One Ever Thank Me for the Magna Carta?
King John reflects on why everyone should thank him for signing the Magna Carta and for the rights they gained from it.
The Declaration of America’s Immense Offense
This new Declaration of Independence isn’t so great, according to a loyal subject of Great Britain.
Excerpt from Spirit of Laws
Charles-Louis de Secondat Montesquieu
In these satiric excerpts from Montesquieu’s political theory, the philosopher reflects on the origins of slavery and inequality.
From Slaves to Sharecroppers
This collection of three primary texts from the Reconstruction Era reveal the difficult decisions that freed slaves faced as sharecroppers.
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.
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."
In this absurd comedy, a Russian official's nose mysteriously departs from his face and then parades about town.
Extracts from Adam's Diary
In this comical take on the biblical creation story, Twain writes from the perspective of Adam as he struggles to comprehend the new, perplexing world around him.
A Satirical Elegy on the Death of a Late Famous General
Swift uses humor to show that even decorated generals cannot fight off death.
Hermann the Irascible
A king living during the Edwardian Era makes it mandatory for women to vote in every election.
A Description of A City Shower
In this humorous poem, Swift exposes the shortcomings of city life, particularly the lack of adequate plumbing, which becomes a problem for everyone when it rains.
Wealthy Teen Nearly Experiences Consequences
The Onion Staff
In this humorous article, a wealthy teenager uses his wealth and connections to escape charges for causing a terrible drunk driving accident.
Natural Selection Kills 38 Quadrillion Organisms in Bloodiest Day Yet
The Onion Staff
In this humorous faux news story, natural selection is personified as an unfeeling serial killer lacking in empathy.