What tools and supports does CommonLit provide for English Language Learners?

CommonLit offers several tools and supports for students of different reading levels and needs, including English language (ELLs) and English as a foreign language students (EFLs).

The CommonLit digital platform allows students to annotate, hear text read aloud, and translate when reading a text on the site. Students can hear the text read aloud in English (click Read Aloud, then the play button or a speaker icon), annotate a text using notes or highlights (select the text with their mouse and click the highlight or T icon), or translate a passage or question (click Translate, then a globe button). Currently, CommonLit offers digital translation into over 30 languages

CommonLit also offers Guided Reading Mode (GRM) as a tool to support basic comprehension. GRM chunks the text into bite-sized pieces and asks students comprehension questions about what they've read before they can move on. Teachers can enable GRM for a whole class on a difficult text, or individually for students based on their need for differentiated support. 

Furthermore, for any students who speak Spanish as their first language, CommonLit also offers texts originally in Spanish for Spanish-speaking ELLs and EFLs. These texts feature printable PDF versions, and teachers can assign these to students to help them adjust to the rigor of CommonLit's assessment questions in their native language before assigning English-language assignments. Teachers can also instruct students to use the translation tool on English-language assignments. A full list of all of CommonLit texts that have a Spanish and English version can be found at this link: CommonLit Texts in English and Spanish. Additionally, teachers can check the "Paired Texts" tab on any text page to see if there is a Spanish version of the text.

Finally, teachers can also differentiate instruction by assigning texts and lessons at different grade/Lexile levels to individual students or groups of students based on their reading and writing abilities. To learn more about how to do this within CommonLit, please see the FAQ article "How do I assign a reading to a single student or small group of students?"

Have a suggestion for further ways to support your students? Please email feedback@commonlit.org.

Common Accessibility Toolbar FAQs:

Can students start read aloud where they left off?

Yes, students can pick up read aloud where they left off by clicking "Read Aloud" to reveal speaker icons next to each paragraph/line of the text. Then, they should click the speaker icon next to where they want the reading to begin. CommonLit also bookmarks where teachers and students leave off in the text, so it should pick up where you left off in your last session when you hit play.

Can students access the toolbar on tablets and phones?

Yes, Read Aloud and Translate are currently available on mobile devices and tablets.