Using Short Stories in the ELA Classroom

Do you use short stories in your curriculum? I love using them for their versatility. 

Short stories are a perfect way to incorporate reading, writing, language, vocabulary, grammar, and even speaking skills into your curriculum without having to spend several weeks on the same piece of literature. 

To take advantage of using short stories this year, here are some tips and ideas:

📚 Use short stories at the beginning of the year to introduce key literary elements such as plot, setting, characters, point-of-view and perspective, and figurative language. It’s much easier for students to grasp and review these concepts through short stories. I have a literary elements pack that can be used with any story that helps students identify and explain the key concepts. It’s offered in both digital and print formats for your convenience. They are both included in my short story bundle.

📚 Many short stories are readily available in the public domain, making it easier for you to share paperless versions with your students. Project Gutenberg offers stories in both html format (just share the link with your students) or downloadable versions. Feedbooks offers free short stories in ePub format that is compatible with tablets and digital readers. This is great for remote or distance learning or for avoiding book dispersal and sanitization.

📚 Reading short stories can help students with writing short stories. I love having students read a series of different stories as mentor texts. They can study the text structure and dialogue to help them structure their own original creations. I like to have them read a wide variety of different stories so they can see just how much writing varies in a single genre. I use my Narrative Writing presentation and handouts to walk them through writing their own. After they’ve written their stories, I post them online (anonymously on our school website) and we take a week (or more) to read every story in class and give one another compliments. The students love reading their peers’ stories and the quality of writing is always better knowing they stories will be shared (even if they are anonymous).

Regardless of which story you are using with your students, you can use this FREE one-page activity. Download it to print and go, or use the TpT digital activity to share it virtually.

You can also utilize these great activities by my blog mates:

Lamb to the Slaughter Short Story Activity by Nouvelle ELA

Short Story Interactive Notebook Flipbook by The Classroom Sparrow

Short Story Complete Unit Plan by Presto Plans

Thank You, Ma'am Short Story Activities by The Daring English Teacher

Digital Short Story Bundle by Addie Williams

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