Diverse and Inclusive Short Story Ideas

In a short story rut? Tired of the same short story anthologies that you have used for years? Want to add some new voices to your collection?

I have spent the last several years on the hunt for DIVERSE and INCLUSIVE short stories to add to my teaching. I still love using the classics, however, I know the importance of including a variety of voices and experiences into my teaching and have had fun looking for and using modern short stories written by an amazingly talented and diverse group of authors.

One of the first things I do when I start a short story unit is to talk about the short stories students have read previously.  I might have to prompt them with the titles I know they read in previous years at my school, but we come up with a list of short stories they remember.  We discuss as a class who the authors are and whose voices are most represented in the stories they have read.  It is then easy to generate a list of whose voices are missing... and whose voices they would like to hear in the stories we read in class.  From the list I will look for stories that I think will pique their interest and share a voice they might not have heard before. 

Not only do I want my students to see themselves reflected in the curriculum and the stories they read, but I want them to hear and read about the experiences of others. I think learning about others people's lives and their achievements, challenges, and beliefs helps students build empathy and understanding.  Many of my students have such a narrow view of the world that I want to expand and challenge their thinking by exposing them to voices that they may not have heard before.

The great thing about mixing up your short story unit and moving towards a more inclusive collection of stories is that regardless of what short story you teach in class, you can still cover all of the elements of short stories.  I love to use my SHORT STORY GRAPHIC ORGANIZERS to help students review the elements of plot, setting, characterization, conflict, theme, mood, tone, and more! The great thing about the organizers is that they can be used with ANY SHORT STORY!  

Grab this FREE GRAPHIC ORGANIZER to use as a jumping-off point for a deeper analysis of any short story.  It's a quick and easy review activity after reading any short story.  

Here are some of my favorite short story anthologies to use with middle - high school students.  Full disclosure - I have not read all of the stories in each book as I'm slowly working my way through them all... it's an ongoing project. However, these are all books that I am proud to have on my bookshelf for students to read during silent reading or to borrow.  I have used stories from several of these books with success in my classroom.  Click HERE to download a copy of the list I have made.

It is so important to me that all of my students can see and find themselves in the pages of a book or short story.  I am lucky to teach where we do not have a prescribed curriculum and I do not have to use a district-provided set of novels or short stories. I have the freedom to find and use stories and novels that I think will work in my classroom.  

Unfortunately, I do not have class sets of any of these books - I read the stories aloud with students and we discuss them as a class.  One of my goals for next year is to get a class set or two of several of these books to add to my school's book collection.  

For more specific short story recommendations I recommend checking out this resource from Nouvelle ELA

Happy Reading!

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