Have you ever heard of commonlit? If not, you’re in for a treat. Commonlit is an online resource with a mission to promote literacy and critical thinking. As a free website, Commonlit provides high-quality reading passages and lesson plans to teachers and students. Whether you’re an educator looking to engage your students or a lifelong learner searching for thought-provoking content, Commonlit has something for you.

With Commonlit, you’ll find short stories, news articles, historical documents, and more, along with reading comprehension questions and writing prompts to deepen your understanding. The passages span a range of lexile levels so you can find material suited for any skill level. As an added bonus, many of the resources are thematically connected across genres and topics, allowing for cross-curricular learning.

If you’re looking to strengthen your reading, writing, and critical thinking skills through engaging with meaningful content, look no further than Commonlit. This comprehensive educational resource has everything you need to become a more thoughtful reader, writer, and thinker.

What Is CommonLit?

CommonLit is a free collection of fiction and nonfiction texts for grades 3-12. Teachers and students can use the library of passages and lesson plans to build literacy skills for college and career readiness.

What’s Included

CommonLit offers over 2000 high-quality, complex texts across genres and topics. Teachers have access to reading passages, related questions, paired texts, and multimedia to build lessons and assignments. Some of the types of texts include:

  • Short stories
  • Poems
  • Historical documents
  • News articles
  • Speeches
  • Biographies

Students can read, annotate, and analyze these texts using CommonLit’s simple but powerful tools.

How Does It Work?

Using CommonLit is easy and free for teachers and students. Simply make a free account, browse the library of texts, and build digital lessons right in your browser. You can assign readings and questions to your students, who can then complete assignments and submit their work on any device.

Teachers get real-time data on student progress to support differentiation and guide instruction. The texts also come with suggested questions and lesson plans to make lesson planning efficient.

Who Uses CommonLit?

Over 5 million students and 200,000 teachers use CommonLit worldwide. It is used in all 50 states by teachers in public schools, charter schools, private schools, and homeschools.

CommonLit aims to promote literacy and critical thinking. By providing high-quality, complex texts and tools for scaffolding and differentiation, CommonLit helps teachers build students’ reading comprehension, writing skills, and content knowledge. Overall, CommonLit strives to prepare students with the literacy and critical thinking skills needed for college and career success.

The Mission and Vision Behind CommonLit

CommonLit was founded in 2013 with the goal of providing free, high-quality reading and writing resources for grades 3-12. The mission is simple: empower teachers and students with the tools they need to succeed.

The vision behind CommonLit is to build an online library of vetted reading passages, instructional supports, writing prompts, and assessments that meet the demands of today’s classrooms.### Through crowdsourcing and partnerships, CommonLit provides teachers with a diverse range of fiction and nonfiction texts in every genre and subject area.

CommonLit is committed to promoting literacy and critical thinking. Their resources span a range of complexity levels to meet students at their reading level and help them progress. The passages and tools also aim to inspire a love of reading in students.

CommonLit’s resources are designed to save teachers time in and out of the classroom. Teachers have access to pre-made lessons, assignments, and assessments for every passage that can be customized as needed. The site provides an easy way for teachers to track student progress and performance through interactive reports and data dashboards.

CommonLit is a nonprofit organization dedicated to closing the opportunity gap. Their resources are completely free for teachers and students to support equitable access to high-quality instructional materials. Over 5 million students have benefited from CommonLit’s resources so far.

Through the generosity of funders and donors, CommonLit continues to expand their library and develop new teacher tools and student supports. The goal is to empower every teacher and student with the materials they need to develop a love of reading and succeed academically. Overall, CommonLit aims to promote literacy, critical thinking, and opportunity for all.

CommonLit’s Library of Reading Passages

CommonLit’s digital library contains over 1,500 reading passages for students in grades 3 through 12. Their collection includes fiction and nonfiction texts as well as poems, speeches, and historical documents.


CommonLit has short stories, folktales, myths, and excerpts from novels for students. You’ll find works from authors like Mark Twain, Ray Bradbury, and Alice Walker. The fiction passages span many genres like adventure, fantasy, historical fiction, mystery, and more.


The nonfiction category includes biographies, essays, news articles, scientific papers, and historical documents. Students can read about influential leaders like Martin Luther King Jr. and Malala Yousafzai. They can also explore topics such as technology, the environment, and social issues.


CommonLit’s poetry collection contains classic and contemporary poems. Students will encounter works from renowned poets such as Emily Dickinson, Robert Frost, and Langston Hughes. The poems explore themes of identity, nature, hardship, and hope.


The speech category includes addresses from leaders like Franklin D. Roosevelt and Ronald Reagan. Students can analyze key speeches from history and discuss their significance and impact.

The diverse collection of passages on CommonLit provides students with opportunities to improve their reading comprehension and critical thinking skills. Teachers can also use the texts to facilitate engaging discussions in the classroom. Overall, CommonLit aims to empower teachers and students through high-quality reading material and tools for assessment and instruction. Their free resources make it easy for educators to supplement their curriculum with relevant and thought-provoking content.

Using CommonLit in the Classroom

CommonLit is a free collection of fiction and nonfiction passages, along with reading comprehension questions, discussion questions, and related media for middle and high school students. Teachers can use CommonLit to supplement their curriculum, differentiate instruction, and promote literacy in the classroom.

Using Reading Passages

CommonLit has over 2,000 passages of varying reading levels that you can assign to students. Assign a passage for the whole class to read, or choose passages tailored to students’ individual reading levels. After students read the passage, have them answer the reading comprehension questions to check for understanding. You can then use the discussion questions to spark an engaging conversation with your students.

Monitoring Student Progress

As students complete assignments, CommonLit tracks their progress so you can see which students need extra support. The data and reports provide information about how long students spend reading passages, their scores on comprehension questions, and more. Use this data to determine which students would benefit from re-reading passages or working through additional comprehension questions.

Integrating Media

Many CommonLit passages include links to related media like images, videos, audio clips, and interactive graphics. Assign the media along with the reading passage to create a multimedia learning experience for your students. The additional media reinforces themes and ideas from the text, helping to improve students’ reading comprehension and engagement.

Using Lesson Plans

CommonLit also provides free lesson plans designed to accompany many of the reading passages. The lesson plans include activities to introduce and teach the passage, discussion questions, writing prompts, and more. Use the ready-made lesson plans as-is or adapt them to best suit your teaching needs. The lesson plans make it easy to incorporate CommonLit passages into your daily instruction.

With its vast collection of reading passages, comprehension tools, multimedia, and lesson plans, CommonLit has everything you need to improve literacy and promote a love of reading in your classroom. Give it a try—your students will thank you!

The Impact of CommonLit

CommonLit has made a huge impact on literacy and education. By providing free reading resources, CommonLit has helped millions of teachers engage students in reading and learning.

Increased Access to High-Quality Reading Materials

CommonLit provides access to thousands of reading passages and poems at no cost. This allows teachers to supplement their curriculum with engaging, complex texts their students might not otherwise encounter. With such a large library of resources, teachers have many options to choose from to best suit their students’ needs and interests.

Data-Driven Tools for Teachers

CommonLit gives teachers data and analytics to track students’ progress. Teachers receive real-time data about how long students spend reading, how they respond to questions, and whether they need extra support. This data helps teachers provide interventions and better support students.

Aligned to Education Standards

All of CommonLit’s resources are aligned to state and national education standards so teachers can be confident they are supporting their required curriculum. Resources span a range of grade levels and subjects, allowing teachers to use CommonLit for both remediation and enrichment.

Promotes a Love of Reading

By providing high-interest, complex texts, CommonLit aims to inspire students to enjoy reading. When students read stories or passages they find interesting and engaging, it fosters a lifelong love of reading. This is especially impactful for struggling or reluctant readers.

CommonLit has made reading resources more accessible to all, allowing students to develop a passion for reading and gain exposure to a range of texts. With data-driven tools and standards-aligned content, CommonLit supports teachers and improves students’ literacy skills. Overall, CommonLit aims to promote educational equity through open access to high-quality instructional materials for teachers and students.


So there you have it, a complete guide to commonlit, an amazing resource for teachers and students alike. With thousands of texts at multiple reading levels, this free website makes it easy to find engaging and thought-provoking material for any classroom. You can search by keyword, theme, reading level, and more to quickly locate the perfect story or article to supplement your lesson. Interactive reading comprehension tools, discussion questions, and writing prompts help students strengthen critical thinking skills. The next time you’re planning a unit or just looking for an interesting nonfiction piece, head to You’re sure to find something to spark rich conversation and deeper learning. Happy reading!

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