book reading jane eyreWhen I taught middle school reading, I used to spend hours every night searching for free news articles, poems, or short stories that I could coherently pair with novels. The process was incredibly frustrating—it seemed like everywhere I looked, there was a paywall, login, district code, or page view limit getting in the way of content I needed to do my job well.

CommonLit.Org is a new website where teachers can access a free collection of poems, short stories, news articles, and historical documents—all organized by fourteen themes commonly taught in middle and high school ELA courses.

Better still, each CommonLit theme category is broken down by essential question, like “How does power corrupt?” or “What makes you who you are?” with a database of corresponding texts. These thought-provoking questions can be used to spark a class discussion or as the prompt for a longer writing exercise.

common lit

Join the Community

CommonLit.Org is a nonprofit organization building a growing collection of supplemental texts, made by teachers, for teachers. Here are some ways to connect:

  • Become a CommonLit Contributor: Email to join the team of reading teachers who suggest content for the site.
  • Share Great Ideas: Tell us how you use CommonLit in your class, or email us a picture at We would love to share your story with our network!
  • Help spread the word about CommonLit in your school or district!

For more free ELA resources, check out our 5 Places to Score Free Books for Your Kids.

Image credit: Flickr (top); CommonLit (bottom)