CommonLit.org… let’s be real. If you teach upper grade level ELA, you know about them. They have always been a great resource for teachers to utilize in their classrooms. For the basics on what CommonLit can do to revolutionize learning in your classroom, check out THIS post. I currently teach 7th grade English. I have been blessed with great content from them for quite some time. I used to teach 3rd grade… I was not so blessed. Great news! Teachers in 3rd and 4th grades now have great resources on www.commonlit.org.
Look closely at that picture above. You will see something you have not seen before. There is now a section for grades 3 and 4. Yes, that is right… you elementary teachers now have this great tool to use. Oh, and in case you didn’t know… it is free.
What, you may ask, do you get with this expansion? How about some of the best texts out there for kids to read. I understand that in most states, students begin state testing in 3rd grade. Teachers constantly struggle to come up with resources to help prepare these students for the rigors of the dreaded test. Often, we find a tool, but it is only good for one genre. Well, that problem is solved. CommonLit has a wide range of genres, including poetry, non-fiction, fables, short stories, and more.
Take a look at the screenshot above. Many of the texts on CommonLit have what they call, “Guided Reading Mode.” Now, we know that there is no replacing a good guided reading teacher, but this is pretty darn cool. I was only able to get 4 or 5 kids at my kidney table at a time for guided reading. The other kids has tasks to work on, but I would have loved for them to have a tool like this. This mode has students answer questions about the text as they are reading it. This is powerful. This allows the teacher to have kids read engaging texts independently and answer questions while he/she is working with a group.
Of course, you have access to the data that CommonLit saves for you at any time. This allows the teacher to adjust instruction based on their performance. The best part? This data is easy to get to. That means you can glance at the data when you pull up your next guided reading group, and focus on the areas that specific group struggled with on CommonLit.org! Talk about efficient data driven instruction!
When I searched for texts in the 3rd-4th grade range I came up with 68 titles. That is 68 fully developed lessons, not just stories for you to access and then have to come up with questions for. This includes being able to click “Paired Texts” at the top, and it will show you texts also on CommonLit that pair well with the text. For example, I was looking at a non-fiction text about Antartica, shown below.
This is already a high interest piece for elementary kids. It is a land full of mystery, and makes kids wonder. Well, I then clicked the link for “Paired Texts” above it, and saw this.
This screen gives the teacher a quick look at what the text is about. If he/she wants to use it, simply click on the text and go to the full lesson for that text. From there, you can assign it. You now have paired texts, which is an area teachers are always looking for more resources.
So, all of you 3rd and 4th grade teachers out there, get on CommonLit.org and get those classes created. With CommonLit, you get to spend more time actually teaching, and less time searching for what to teach. For all you CommonLit veterans out there, spread the word to your lower grade level colleagues. Help them get started!
As always, feel free to drop me an email or a comment if you have any questions about how to work with this great new tool.
All images used with permission of CommonLit.org