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.
I Got Myself Arrested So I Could Look Inside the Justice System
Bobby Constantino got himself arrested to see how the justice system operated from the inside.
Milgram experiment on obedience
In 1963 Stanley Milgram conducted an experiment to test human obedience in response to authority figures.
The American Criminal Justice System
Rachel Slivnick discusses the state of America’s criminal justice system.
The Bill of Rights in a Changing America
The Bill of Rights continues to be a guiding document for the Supreme Court’s decisions, despite its old age.
Altruism: Why We Risk Our Own Well-Being to Help Others
Kendra Cherry discusses psychologists’ theories about why people act in unselfish ways.
NOAA's Big Miracle Worker
Dave Withrow describes how he helped three gray whales trapped in ice in Alaska.
Does the Justice System Neglect Forgiveness?
Oriel FeldmanHall and Peter Sokol-Hessner
Oriel FeldmanHall and Peter Sokol-Hessner discuss alternatives to punishing criminals.
Experts Link Teen Brains' Immaturity, Juvenile Crime
Malcolm Ritter discusses the development of the teenage brain and juvenile crime.
Does Altruism Actually Exist?
Alice G. Walton
Alice G. Walton discusses a study that explores the link between selflessness and fairness in babies.
Revisiting Milgram’s Shocking Obedience Experiments
Nick Haslam and Gina Perry
Nick Haslam and Gina Perry revisit Stanley Milgram’s experiment about humans’ willingness to obey authority figures.
The Unhappy Pine Tree
Kathy C. Tierney
In this text, a pine tree is granted three wishes when he is unhappy with the way he looks.
Why Should We Reduce Our Plastic Waste?
This text explains why plastic waste is harmful to the environment and what we can do to help.
The Nigerian Prison System Is an Example of Why ‘Justice for All’ Remains Beyond Reach
Cynthia Okoroafor describes the Nigerian prison system.
Tracking My Trash
In this text, the narrator follows his trash to uncover what happens after it is thrown out.
Banana Threat: Attack of the Clones
Alison Pearce Stevens
Alison Pearce Stevens discusses the threat to Cavendish bananas.
Tinker v. Des Moines Independent Community School District: The Majority Opinion
Justice Abe Fortas
Justice Abe Fortas discusses the majority opinion in Tinker v. Des Moines: a landmark case for the constitutional rights to protest and to free speech for students in U.S. public schools.
For a North Korean refugee raising her kids in the UK, the past is never far
Jieun Baek speaks to a North Korean refugee about her experiences in North Korea and raising her kids in the United Kingdom.
Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie
A girl’s brother is arrested and sent to a corrupt prison in Nigeria.
The Red Bow
A father is devastated when his daughter is killed by a diseased dog.