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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.
Once Upon a Time
A family in South Africa tries to protect their home from intruders and live happily ever after.
Walking Down Park
A speaker reimagines the modern world as an idyllic wildlife landscape.
The Coming on of Night
This short poem describes the speaker’s peace with the inevitability of death.
The Keys to Happiness: Partly Genetic, But You Control the Rest
New research explores how genetics and personal choices contribute to a person’s happiness.
Excerpt from Democracy in America: Why Americans Are So Restless
Alexis de Tocqueville
Alexis de Tocqueville discusses the effectiveness of America’s democratic system.
Titanic Officer Swears Wreck Due to Company's Neglect
United Press Leased Wire
A newspaper excerpt about the Titanic details some of the controversy surrounding why the ship sank.
Pigs is Pigs
Ellis Parker Butler
An argument over the definition of “guinea pigs” leads to unanticipated and avoidable problems.
Years After the Funeral
A speaker describes an individual’s experiences with schizophrenia.
Sleepy Suspects Are Way More Likely to Falsely Confess to a Crime
A scientific study has shown that sleep deprivation can impact the validity of suspects’ confessions.
I felt a Funeral, in my Brain
In this poem, a speaker describes losing a part of themselves.
This article discusses the infamous attacks on September 11, 2001, and the effects they continue to have on America today.
They're Made Out of Meat
Two aliens are faced with the dilemma of whether to interact with humans.
The Treasure of Lemon Brown
Walter Dean Myers
A boy meets an old man who will protect his treasure at all costs.
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.
In this short story set in a gleaming technological future, a young person travels to see their first tree.
‘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.
J. Patrick Lewis
The poet assumes the voice of journalist and civil rights activist Helen Zia and explains how she uses words to share her perspective with others.
Depression, The Secret We Share
Andrew Solomon describes his experiences with depression and what makes some people more resilient in overcoming it.