October 18, 2017


Searching for fiction or nonfiction passages is a challenge when you’re looking for that just-right short text. CommonLit is a website full of leveled passages for students in fifth through twelfth grade. It organizes texts into collections to make it easy for teachers to find a passage to share with their students.
When you visit ComminLit’s website you’ll find different collections to explore. These collections are organized by themes including: Power & Greed, Prejudice & Discrimination, and Social Change & Revolution. After you decide on one of the twenty themes, users are presented with discussion questions related to the topic. For example, if you choose the theme Resilience the discussion questions are How does a person overcome adversity? and Why do people succeed? Once you’ve decided on a discussion question there are a handful of leveled articles to explore.
How can you use CommonLit’s fiction and nonfiction passages in the classroom?
  • Make connections to chapter books or literature circle texts by choosing passages for students to read with the same theme. This could kick off a discussion in whole class or small group settings where students connect both passages to the theme.
  • Use the discussion questions as writing prompts for literary essays. Students can use textual evidence from the passage to support their answer.
  • Students who are preparing a speech or piece of persuasive writing can use these texts to develop arguments or supporting claims. Try having students work in partners for this type of task.
Finding high-quality short passages to bring back to your students is easier said than done. In addition to the resources mentioned above, each passage on CommonLit is accompanied with text-dependent questions and discussion prompts. It is Common Core aligned and includes the ability to view each passage as a PDF making it easy to view and annotate.


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