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What is CommonLit and How Does It Work? Best Tips and Tricks

CommonLit is an all-in-one literacy program that uses assessments and other tools to help with reading.CommonLit is an online literacy resource that provides students with standards-based training and assessments. It was designed for grades 3 through 12 and covers a wide range of reading progression. As a result, there is a large number of free-leveled texts of various types available.

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Built to Common Core standards, this can be a valuable resource for teachers to supplement their current resources. It can also allow students to learn at their own pace outside of the classroom. This is a very appealing way to engage students in reading because of the clear and straightforward layout filled with rich content. Is CommonLit right for you?

What is CommonLit?

CommonLit is a digital resource for teaching and learning literacy skills. It provides a diverse range of common-core standards-aligned reading and assessment tools.CommonLit is web-based and accessible from a variety of devices.

Everything is helpfully organized and presented intuitively, making searching and browsing very simple, even for younger students. News articles, short stories, poems, and historical documents are among the texts.

There is also a selection of curated texts that organize information by literary or historical periods, making it all very useful as teaching resources. Several languages are available, as well as speech-to-text, all of which help make the various texts more accessible to a wide range of students.

How does CommonLit work?

CommonLit allows you to browse by category, with a separate Themes section, and filter by features like grades, genders, range, and more. To search, type in a specific title. When you’ve found what you want to read, click on the header to be taken to the lander page. You can start reading immediately, have it read aloud, or have it translated into another language.

If you want to read the written content offline or save it for later, you can download it as a PDF. Extra resources are available via tabs, including a Teacher Guide, Parent Guide, Related Media, and Paired Texts. You can change the font size and save it as a favorite to return to later.

The option to share is also ideal for teachers who want to distribute specific titles to the class, groups, or individual students. Texts typically include images, either in-line or to the side, that are a fixed size and do not require a fast internet connection or a large amount of data to access.

What are the best CommonLit features?

CommonLit instantly translates texts into more than 13 languages, including Spanish, Arabic, and Russian. Each passage includes annotations that allow students to define words by clicking a button.

However, you can create annotations, which is extremely useful if you want to leave guidance or instructions for students. Along with the texts, CommonLit provides assessments of varying levels, advice, and discussion.

Various assessment questions help provide an idea of student understanding, ranging from multiple-choice questions to short answers. There are also guiding questions that can be turned on or off and that students must answer correctly to progress.

Offering extension texts and related content is a great way to continue learning about a subject while providing reading for students at home. Integration tools like Google Classroom and Clever make it easier for students to sign in. However, many features are only available in the paid-for premium versions. More on that later.

How much does CommonLit cost?

CommonLit is available in various flavors, including free and paid premium tiers. The CommonLit Digital Library and the CommonLit 360 Curriculum are included in the free account. At $2,000 per school, the Essentials plan consists of the above and introductory webinars, priority customer support, ClassLink and Clever rostering integrations, and on-demand professional development.

At $3,250 per school, the Essential Pro tier includes all of the above and the CommonLit Assessment Series, Canvas integration, and administrator data. At $5,500 per school, the Essential Pro Plus package consists of all of the above and quarterly virtual 360 PD and consulting and 360 unit skills assessments.

CommonLit best tips and tricks:

Make use of the themes
Explore topics such as Family, America, Prejudice and Discrimination, Resilience, and more by working through a theme in a lesson or over a week.

Make use of Text Set.
To lay out tasks for the class, use the Text Set feature to choose from 50 options organized by historical period, literary movement, or more.

Allow students to use the annotation tool to provide feedback and highlight questions to look at in class so you can assist.

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