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.
Proposals Relating to the Education of Youth in Pennsylvania
Benjamin Franklin outlines his ideas for an academy in Pennsylvania.
Excerpt from “Where Lovers Dream”
A woman runs into someone she used to know at a wedding.
Excerpt from Swann's Way
A narrator describes being on the verge of sleep.
Excerpt from Sister Carrie
A country girl sets out with nothing but a train ticket, four dollars, a Chicago address on a slip of paper, and a heart full of illusions.
Zora Neale Hurston
A man has an affair with another man's wife and suffers the consequences.
Jimmy Carter’s Nobel Lecture
Jimmy Carter accepts the Nobel Peace Prize for his contributions to international peace.
That Evening Sun
Young Quentin wonders why Nancy, the black washerwoman, is afraid of her husband in this Southern Gothic story.
The Byzantine Empire
This informational text discusses the history, power, and influence of the Eastern Roman Empire, or the Byzantine Empire.
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.
Excerpts from Roughing It
Twain recounts his time looking for work in the West in this semi-autobiographical, comic travelogue.
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.
Once Upon a Time
A family in South Africa tries to protect their home from intruders and live happily ever after.
The Coming on of Night
This short poem describes the speaker’s peace with the inevitability of death.
Excerpt from Democracy in America: Why Americans Are So Restless
Alexis de Tocqueville
Alexis de Tocqueville discusses the effectiveness of America’s democratic system.
I felt a Funeral, in my Brain
In this poem, a speaker describes losing a part of themselves.
A Very Old Man with Enormous Wings
Gabriel García Márquez
In this short story, an old man with wings crashes into a family’s yard and is exploited by the family and townspeople.
South African Apartheid
South Africa’s racist policy of “apartheid” was used to separate and discriminate against non-white South Africans.
‘Why Sit Here and Die’ Speech
Maria W. Stewart
Maria W. Stewart speaks to the New England Anti-Slavery Society about the status and rights of African Americans.