CommonLit is a free collection of fiction and nonfiction for 3rd-12th grade classrooms. Search and filter our collection by lexile, grade, theme, genre, literary device, or common core standard.
Excerpt from “Civil Disobedience”
Henry David Thoreau
This excerpt from Thoreau's famous essay meditates on the necessity of following one’s own conscience, even if it conflicts with the law.
2 Khmer Rouge Leaders Are Convicted in Cambodia
Thomas Fuller and Julia Wallace
Thomas Fuller and Julia Wallace discuss the conviction of two leaders of the Khmer Rouge organization in Cambodia that committed crimes against its people.
Russia Tightens the Iron Curtain on Ideas
Harrison Salisbury discusses the Soviet Union’s practice of censorship during the Cold War.
Percy Bysshe Shelley
The speaker describes a traveler’s tale about ancient ruins encountered in a desert.
Can Machines Learn Morality?
This informational text discusses how equipping machines with a sense of right and wrong could impact the world.
PLESSY NEARS ITS END
The New York Times
Sixty years after the Plessy v. Ferguson decision, an author evaluates the state of racial segregation in the United States.
Young Goodman Brown
A religious man enters the woods and finds his faith tested by what he witnesses there.
The Armed Forces Find Woman Has a Place
Nona Brown discusses the allowance of women to serve as permanent members of the armed forces.
What Adolescents Miss When We Let Them Grow Up in Cyberspace
Brent Staples discusses the impact that the Internet has on teenagers’ development.
Zora Neale Hurston
A lecherous man hopes that a rattlesnake will help him get rid of his wife.
Hurricane Katrina: The Overview; New Orleans Is Inundated As 2 Levees Fail; Much of Gulf Coast Is Crippled; Toll Rises
Joseph B. Treaster and N.R. Kleinfield
Joseph B. Treaster and N.R. Kleinfield discuss the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina and the flooding in New Orleans.
“Frailty, Thy Name is Woman!”
In a soliloquy, Hamlet expresses his rage towards his mother due to recent choices she has made.
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.
“Three Types of Friendship” — Excerpt from The Nicomachean Ethics
Aristotle describes three different types of friendship and which is the most valuable.
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.
The Selective Laziness of Human Reasoning
Tania Lombrozo for NPR
Tania Lombrozo explores why humans tend to prefer their own opinions over the opinions of others.
The Science of Solitary Confinement
Solitary confinement can have a strong impact on a prisoner’s mental state.
Martin Luther King, Jr. Nobel Acceptance Speech
Martin Luther King, Jr.
Martin Luther King, Jr. accepts the Nobel Peace Prize for his contributions to the Civil Rights Movement.