I want to respect copyright and permission rules. What am I allowed to do with CommonLit materials and resources? Can I download and print articles? Can I share them? What about assessments?

Can all texts on CommonLit be freely used, shared, remixed, and repurposed?

No, not all texts on CommonLit can be freely used, shared, remixed, and repurposed.

While the CommonLit Library includes many texts that are openly licensed, not all texts on the site are openly licensed. For any content that is licensed to CommonLit from third-party copyright holders, CommonLit asks that you respect the restrictions in the permissions line at the bottom of the text. For these materials, you must ask permission from the original copyright holder to change or share the text anywhere other than the CommonLit website. This restriction applies to saving or reposting PDF copies of CommonLit's third-party licensed content on internal school websites and databases.

Which texts and resources on CommonLit can be freely used, shared, remixed, and repurposed?

CommonLit original reading materials and resources (including original articles and questions, Target Lessons, and 360 Lessons) are shared under a Creative Commons license called CC BY-NC-SA 4.0. This means that you can freely use, share, remix, and repurpose these CommonLit materials as long as the following conditions are met:

  • Attribution – You must cite CommonLit as the original source of the materials, indicate if you’ve made changes, and keep the CC BY-NC-SA 4.0 license on the resources.
  • NonCommercial – You cannot use the materials for any commercial purposes.
  • ShareAlike – If you change, remix, or repurpose the resources, the resulting materials must also be shared under the same CC BY-NC-SA 4.0 license.

To determine if a text is original to CommonLit and licensed under Creative Commons, scroll to the copyright information at the bottom of the text and look for “This text is licensed CC BY-NC-SA 4.0.”

What can I do with assessment questions from texts in the CommonLit library? 

CommonLit often gets asked about reusing CommonLit assessment questions from lessons in the library in tests and exams. Educators are permitted to reuse CommonLit assessment questions from texts, provided they respect the CC BY-NC-SA 4.0 guidelines outlined above. However, be mindful of questions that pair with a third-party licensed text that CommonLit does not own. To ensure test security, CommonLit also do not allow uploading of assessment questions to third-party assessment systems (for example, Quizlet). 

What about CommonLit assessments, like the Free Reading Assessment and Assessment Series?

The CommonLit Free Reading Assessment and Assessment Series assessments are not licensed under Creative Commons. Assessments, and the questions within, are protected under copyright law and are not to be shared, disseminated, or posted anywhere. 

Can I use CommonLit with an LMS or LOR? 

Linking from a Learning Management System (LMS) or your school’s internal file system to CommonLit is permitted. CommonLit's LMS integrations enable this link sharing.

CommonLit does not allow aggregation of CommonLit's lesson materials or metadata in a Learning Object Repository (LOR).

However, PDF copies of lessons using any public domain or Creative Commons-licensed reading passages may be uploaded to school file-sharing systems. Whenever possible, CommonLit encourages you to link to CommonLit to ensure that your students are using the most up-to-date version of CommonLit's lesson materials.

If you are unsure if your school file-sharing system is considered a learning object repository, please reach out to us.

How should I cite back to CommonLit? 

CommonLit welcomes teachers editing or creating derivatives of CommonLit lessons. However, if you share out CommonLit lessons or derivatives outside of the CommonLit platform or automatically generated PDFs, please be sure to cite back to CommonLit. 

When citing CommonLit, please share the title, author, source, and license of the original work. 

Here is an example of how you might cite the CommonLit Reading Lesson for The Danger of a Single Story, with and without edits:

Without edits: CommonLit Reading Lesson: [CommonLit text title hyperlinked to text URL on CommonLit]. CommonLit. CC BY-NC-SA 4.0.

For example: CommonLit Reading Lesson: The Danger of a Single Story. CommonLit. CC BY-NC-SA 4.0.

With edits: CommonLit Reading Lesson: [CommonLit text title hyperlinked to text URL on CommonLit]. CommonLit. CC BY-NC-SA 4.0. [Add a description of how materials were changed in the derivative and hyperlink to the derivative if necessary] by: [Name of Author who derived the work].

For example: Derived from CommonLit Reading Lesson: The Danger of a Single Story. CommonLit. CC BY-NC-SA 4.0. Changed discussion questions by Jane Doe.

If you have any questions about reusing or sharing CommonLit materials, please refer to the CommonLit Terms of Use or email permissions@commonlit.org.