CommonLit's Summer Reading Challenge: Full List of Reading Lessons

CommonLit's Summer Reading Challenge: Full List of Reading Lessons

In this blog post, we will provide a comprehensive list of texts for each of the 11 different reading lists for children in grades 3–12 along with discussion questions to keep the conversation going.

Now that you are signed up and have gotten started with CommonLit’s Summer Reading Challenge, be sure to review the instructions for how children complete their first reading lesson of the summer!

Below, you will get to see a list of every CommonLit lesson included in our Summer Reading Challenge. Along with every text, our team has provided a discussion question for families to engage with after reading. These discussion questions provide an opportunity to extend the lesson and make real-life connections.

To search this blog for a specific text, press CTRL + F (Mac) or ALT + F (PC) and type in the title of the reading list or text you are looking for.
CommonLit is excited to be a part of your family’s summer reading plans!

CommonLit’s Summer Reading Lists (EN)

3rd & 4th grade

Sports (Informational)

  • “Fun and Games” by Kelsie Ingham
Discussion Question: In the text, the author discusses how games specifically help children learn. Do you thinking playing games can also be good for adults? Why or why not?
  • “Dancing Towards Dreams” by Sara Matson
Discussion Question: John Woodruff took a great risk during his Olympic race. Do you think this is an example of bravery? Why or why not? When is it a good idea to take a risk? Describe a time when you took a risk and it paid off.
  • “Stopping for Olympic Gold” by Angie Kay Dilmore
Discussion Question: John Woodruff took a great risk during his Olympic race. Do you think this is an example of bravery? Why or why not? When is it a good idea to take a risk? Describe a time when you took a risk and it paid off.
  • “Fastest Woman in the World” by Pat Parker
Discussion Question: In the context of the text, what obstacles did Wilma Rudolph overcome to become an Olympic gold medalist? How do you think she was able to overcome these obstacles? Describe a time when you overcame something difficult to succeed. How were you able to overcome your obstacle?
  • “Alice Coachman Jumps for the Sky” by Barbara Kramer
Discussion Question: In the text, the author describes Alice Coachman growing up during a time of segregation. Based on this text and other texts you’ve read, how do you think Coachman’s life was impacted by this discrimination? Do you think it affected her pursuit of a career in sports? Why or why not?

Science! (Informational)

  • “What is Antartica?” by NASA
Discussion Question: In the text, the author describes how scientists study Antarctica. How does studying Antarctica help humans better understand Earth, and even space? Why is it important for humans to better understand our planet and space?
  • “Space Food” by Barbara Radner
Discussion Question: What do you think space food will look like in the future? How could space food be improved? What would you send with astronauts going to space if you got to pick out their menu?
  • “What is a Spacewalk?” by NASA
Discussion Question:What are some character traits that astronauts would need to have? Would you ever want to go on a spacewalk? Why or why not?
  • “Learning about the Solar System” by Barbara Radner
Discussion Question: In the context of the text, how do scientists and astronauts learn about our solar system? Why is it important to learn about Earth’s solar system? Do you want to be an astronaut or a scientist when you grow up? Why or why not?
  • “They Need Fire” by Buffy Silverman
Discussion Question: In the text, the author discusses how the environment benefits from forest fires. What are some of the dangers of forest fires? How do you think we could get the positive effects of forest fires, without any of the consequences?
  • “Treasures in a Pinecone” by Jan Black
Discussion Question: Jan Black is curious about pinecones because she wants to know why some pinecones are open and some are closed. How does the author respond when they are unsure why pinecones open and close? What are other ways you can find out more information about something unknown?

5th & 6th grade

Folktales and Fables (Literary)

  • “Emperor’s New Clothes” by Hans Christian Anderson
Discussion Question: In the context of this story, how does power corrupt? Use evidence from this text, your own experience, and other art or literature to answer this question.
  • “Cinderella” by Charles Perrault
Discussion Question: Why do you think the stepsisters were mean to Cinderella? Did the stepsisters get what they deserved in the end? Do you think they have learned a lesson? Why or why not?
  • “Snow White” by The Brothers Grimm
Discussion Question: In the story, the queen considers herself beautiful and wants to be judged as “the fairest of all.” How do we define beauty today? What is the danger in comparing ourselves to others? Cite evidence from this text, your own experience, and other literature, art, or history in your answer.
  • “Rumpelstiltskin” by The Brothers Grimm
Discussion Question: In the context of the text, how does power influence the way people act? How does Rumpelstiltskin’s power to spin straw into gold influence his actions? Cite evidence from this text, your own experience, and other literature, art, or history in your answer.
  • “The Little Match Girl” by Hans Christian Andersen
Discussion Question: One modern version of this story has a kind family finding the little girl and giving her food, warm clothing, and a soft bed. Why do you think another author would change the end of this story? Do you think this would have been a better ending? How would this ending have changed the meaning of the story? Why or why not?
  • “Little Red Riding Hood” by The Brothers Grimm
Discussion Question: Can you identify a moral in this story? What do you think this story was trying to teach children at the time? Does it still provide a valid lesson today?

Teen Heroes (Informational)

  • “A Kenyan Teen’s Discovery: Let There Be Lights to Save Lions” by Nina Gregory
Discussion Question: Whose job is it to protect wildlife? Should the burden fall on wildlife activist organizations or on the government? Is it important that individual citizens like Richard also do their part?
  • “Simone Biles” by Marty Kaminsky
Discussion Question: Simone Biles has won various gold medals at the All-Around World Championships and the 2016 Summer Olympics. What do you think contributed to her success? What traits do you think are the most important to success?
  • “Marley Dias: The 13-Year-Old Activist & Author” by Barrett Smith
Discussion Question: How has Marley Dias changed how people approach children’s literature and how they view activism? How has she influenced your own views on what you might be able to accomplish?
  • “Girls of the Crescent: Meet the Two Teenagers Fighting for Better Representation in Books” by Girls of the Crescent
Discussion Question: How important is it for young people to find characters they can relate to in their reading? Explain your thinking. Have you met characters in books that you can relate to? If so, how did this make you feel?
  • “Malala Yousafzai’s Address to the United Nations, July 2013” by Malala Yousafzai
Discussion Question: In the context of Malala Yousafzai’s life and speech, what does it mean to be brave? Cite evidence from the text in your answer.
  • “A Princess Who Can Tune an Engine” by Rosi Hollinbeck
Discussion Question: According to the text’s description of Elizabeth as a princess, what kind of queen do you think she made and why? What qualities do you think make a good queen and why?

7th & 8th Grade

Cultural Icons (Informational)

  • “Duke Ellington” by Jessica McBirney
Discussion Question: In the context of the text, why do you think Ellington’s music is still popular today? Who are the musicians, artists, or performers that you think will still be listened to or celebrated after they have died? What things do you think they will be remembered for? Cite evidence from this text, your own experience, and other literature, art, or history in your answer.
  • “Louis Armstrong” by Jessica McBirney
  • “Lin-Manuel Miranda” by Jessica McBirney
Discussion Question: In the Heights was inspired by Miranda’s life in Washington Heights in New York City. What are some other books, plays, or movies that were inspired by someone’s true experiences? Why do you think artists draw from their personal experiences in producing their work?
  • “Frida Kahlo” by Jessica McBirney
Discussion Question: Kahlo’s life experiences impacted her identity. In the context of the text, what makes you who you are? Cite evidence from this text, your own experience, and other literature, art, or history in your answer.
  • “Salvador Dalí” by Jessica McBirney
Discussion Question: Salvador Dalí gained fame in part for what made him different. How can being eccentric be both a positive and a negative quality? Can you think of any other artists or celebrities who are known for being eccentric? Cite examples from the text, your own experience, and other literature, art, or history in your answer.

African-American Heroes (Informational)

  • “The Fastest Woman in the World” by Pat Parker
Discussion Question: In the context of the text, what obstacles did Wilma Rudolph overcome to become an Olympic gold medalist? How do you think she was able to overcome these obstacles? Describe a time when you overcame something difficult to succeed. How were you able to overcome your obstacle?
  • “Jesse Owens” by Shelby Ostergaard
Discussion Question: Throughout his life, Owens faced prejudice because of his race, even after winning gold Olympic gold medals. What were the effects of this prejudice? Do you think Owens would have continued to compete if it weren’t for the prejudice he encountered when he returned to America? Why or why not?
  • “The Women of Hidden Figures” by Jessica McBirney
Discussion Question: Why did race and gender influence the way people were treated at NASA? What challenges did African American women encounter that white women did not? Have you ever been prevented or discouraged from doing something because of your race and/or gender?
  • “Tuskegee Airmen” by Jessica McBirney
Discussion Question: African Americans also played a prominent role in the American Civil War. Over 200,000 African Americans, equaling 10% of the entire military force, served in the Union military. 37,000 died fighting for the Union. Most were escaped slaves who served in segregated units under white officers. What similarities or differences do you see between the African-American soldiers in the Civil War and World War II? In your opinion, what motivated them?
  • “The Legacy of Charles R. Drew” by CommonLit Staff
Discussion Question: In the context of the text, how do people overcome adversity? Why was Drew able succeed in his field despite the obstacles he encountered? What qualities did he possess that made this possible?

9th-12th Grade

Why Do People Do Bad Things (Informational)

  • “What Makes Good People Do Bad Things?” by Melissa Dittman
Discussion Question: Do you think Zimbardo’s list of situations that seduce people into doing evil things is complete? Do you think there are other scenarios that might cause a good person to momentarily change their ways? Explain.

“The Stanford Prison Experiment” by Saul McLeod

Discussion Question: What do you think was most powerful for perpetuating the brutality at the Stanford Prison Experiment: the “individuation” process that the prisoners had to undergo, the prison uniforms that the guards had to wear, or the money that each individual was paid for participating in the experiment? Explain your answer.
  • “Is There a Cheater’s High?” by Romeo Vitelli, Ph.D
Discussion Question: According to this article, study participants expected to feel guilt after cheating but instead felt positive emotions. In your opinion, what does this say about most people’s morality?
  • “Bullying in Early Adolescence” by Dorothy L. Espelage
Discussion Question: Why do you believe that adolescents bully one another? Does the text reinforce or alter your beliefs?
  • “Teenage Brains are Malleable and Vulnerable” by John Hamilton
Discussion Question: Consider your experiences as a teenager and how your overall maturity has developed over the years: do you agree with the observations stated in this article?
  • “When Good People Do Bad Things” by Ann Trafton
Discussion Question: In your opinion, what is the most interesting finding in the study? Why?

Amazing Women (Informational)

  • “A Child of Slavery Who Taught a Generation” by Karen Grigsby Bates
Discussion Question: Why is it important to know about Anna Julia Haywood Cooper? What does awareness about her figure contribute to our overall understanding of U.S./world history?
  • “Amelia Earhart” by Barrett Smith
Discussion Question: How do people succeed in reaching their goals? Why was Amelia Earhart successful? Does success always come easy? Cite evidence from this text, your own experience, and other literature, art, or history in your answer.
  • “Eleanor Roosevelt, Not Without Her Consent” by Shelby Ostergaard
Discussion Question: In the context of this article, what makes a great leader? What qualities make a leader most effective or inspiring? Cite evidence from this text, your own experience, and other literature, art, or history in your answer.
  • “Marie Curie” by Barrett Smith
Discussion Question: Marie Curie made important discoveries involving radium and radioactivity. How do you think this created change in science? In what ways are these discoveries still important today? Cite evidence from this text, your own experience, and other literature, art, or history in your answer.
  • “Grace Hopper” by Tim Salvin
Discussion Question: In the context of the text, what were the benefits of Hopper’s contributions to technology? How do they continue to be important today? Cite evidence from this text, your own experience, and other literature, art, or history in your answer.

CommonLit Español’s Summer Reading Lists

3° — 4° Grados (Viajemos por el mundo)

  • “¿Qué es la Antártida?” por NASA
Discusión: Después de aprender más sobre la Antártida, ¿te gustaría visitarla alguna vez? ¿Por qué?
  • “Las praderas de África: grandes espacios abiertos” por Nancy White
Discusión: El texto introduce algunos animales que viven en las sabanas y como se han tenido que adaptar para vivir ahí. ¿Cuál animal te parece el más interesante? ¿Por qué?
  • “Magueyes” por Jacinta Ramírez Bautista y Carlos Galindo Leal
Discusión: ¿Cómo es el clima en el lugar donde vives? ¿Con qué frecuencia llueve allí? ¿Describirías el clima como seco y caluroso? ¿Por qué? ¿Hay magueyes donde vives?
  • “Arrecifes de coral” por Ellen Halloran
Discusión: En el texto se mencionan algunos de los animales que viven en los arrecifes de coral. ¿Cuáles de ellos conoces? Menciona algunas de las características de los animales que conozcas utiliza información de otras fuentes para elaborar tu respuesta.
  • “La selva tropical de Sudamérica: húmeda y caliente” por Nancy White
Discusión: Si pudieras convertirte en un animal y vivir en uno de los niveles de la selva tropical (el suelo, el sotobosque o la bóveda), ¿cuál nivel preferirías? Y ¿qué animal elegirías? ¿Cuáles son las adaptaciones o características que te ayudarían a sobrevivir en ese hábitat?
  • “La vida en un ecosistema acuático” por Héctor Martínez Valdés y Diana Rocío Villarreal Hernández
Discusión: En el texto los personajes descubren un ecosistema acuático en una zanja. ¿En dónde puedes encontrar otros ecosistemas acuáticos? ¿Qué animales y plantas viven en ese lugar? ¿Qué características tienen esos animales? Utiliza los conocimientos adquiridos en tu clase de ciencias.

5° — 6° Grados (Conociendo el reino animal)

  • “Nuestras amigas las hormigas” por Haydée Zayas-Ramos
Discusión: En el texto se menciona que las hormigas son insectos sociales. ¿Qué otros animales conoces que vivan en grupos organizados? ¿Crees que la organización sea importante para los animales? ¿Por qué? Utiliza detalles del texto e información de distintas fuentes para elaborar tu respuesta.
  • “Criando elefantes” por Jennifer Barry
Discusión: Según el texto los elefantes viven en una sociedad matriarcal. ¿Qué piensas de este tipo de organización? ¿Por qué algunos animales se organizan de esta forma? En los seres humanos, ¿puede existir una organización similar? ¿Por qué? ¿Qué similitudes observas entre la sociedad del elefante y la sociedad humana? ¿Qué diferencias hay? Explica tu respuesta utilizando detalles del texto y de tu contexto.
  • “La próxima vez que veas una cochinilla” por Emily Morgan
Discusión: ¿Dónde viven las cochinillas? ¿Por qué viven ahí? Piensa en la última vez que viste una cochinilla en tu vida. ¿Dónde fue? Si no has visto una, ¿en qué lugares piensas que encontrarías una?
  • “¿Quién ha estado durmiendo en mi cama?” por Bill Willis
Discusión: Con base en el texto, ¿las ardillas voladoras pueden volar? ¿Por qué?
  • “El nuevo inquilino” por Haydée Zayas-Ramos
Discusión: El texto menciona unas ventajas y desventajas de los zoológicos. ¿Estás a favor o en contra de los zoológicos? ¿Por qué?
  • “Selva seca” por Comisión Nacional para el Conocimiento y Uso de la Biodiversidad
Discusión: En el texto se afirma que la selva seca es un lugar cálido donde habitan diversos animales. ¿Cómo influye el clima en la vida de los animales y plantas de la selva seca? ¿Cómo influye en la vida de las personas y animales el clima del lugar en donde vives? Utiliza ejemplos del texto y de tu experiencia personal al contestar estas preguntas.

7° — 9° Grados (Recorrido literario)

  • “Palabras fundamentales” por Nicolás Guillén
Discusión: Según el autor, las palabras pueden contribuir a la transformación social. ¿Por qué la poesía puede ser una forma de transformación social? Utiliza información del texto y de diversas fuentes para elaborar y argumentar tu respuesta.
  • “Sentir la lluvia” por Cruz Sánchez Vega
Discusión: El autor revela algunas actitudes útiles para afrontar los cambios. ¿Cuáles son? ¿Piensas que éstas son útiles? ¿Por qué? ¿Qué otras actitudes o habilidades se requieren para afrontar cambios y situaciones inesperadas? Utiliza detalles del texto y de tu experiencia para elaborar tu respuesta.
  • “La gama ciega” por Horacio Quiroga
Discusión: En el cuento se afirma que la gamita es traviesa, ¿estás de acuerdo? ¿Por qué? ¿Has hecho una travesura que puso en peligro tu salud? ¿Por qué? En caso afirmativo describe tu experiencia.
  • “La historia de Cojía Hassan” por Jordi Sierra I Fabra
Discusión: Saad y Saadí piensan de manera diferente en cuanto a cómo ser felices. ¿Con cuál de ellos estás de acuerdo? ¿Por qué? Respalda tu respuesta con fragmentos del cuento, de otros textos o con tu experiencia.
  • “Soñé que tú me llevabas” por Antonio Machado
Discusión: En el poema, el narrador revela un sueño que lo hace feliz. ¿Recuerdas algún sueño que te haga sentir feliz o esperanzado como le sucede al poeta? Narra tu sueño y explica las emociones que te hace sentir. ¿Crees que es importante reflexionar sobre nuestros sueños?
  • “El lirio” por Roxanna Erdman Lang
Discusión: En tu opinión, ¿son justificables las acciones del lirio? ¿Por qué sí o por qué no? Regresa al texto y reúne algunas evidencias para argumentar tu respuesta. En parejas o grupos, comparen sus evidencias. ¿Qué evidencias encontraron tus compañeros? ¿Estás de acuerdo con ellos?
  • “Agradecer” por Cruz Sánchez Vega
Discusión: El texto menciona la importancia del respeto a uno mismo y a los demás. ¿Estás de acuerdo con el punto de vista del autor? ¿Por qué? ¿En qué situaciones te ha sido necesario respetarte y respetar a los demás? ¿Cómo ejerciste este respeto? Utiliza detalles del texto para elaborar tu respuesta.