Menu
Teaching Ideas

Short Stories in ELA – Ideas, Resources, & Recommendations

An open book on a wooden table. There's a pink box in the center of the image with the white text reading "Short Stories for Secondary ELA"

Teaching tips, story recommendations, time-saving resources, everything you need to teach short stories in ELA!

An open book on a wooden table. There's a white rectangular overlay with pink and black text that reads "Short Stories for Secondary ELA"

I’ve thought a lot about teaching short stories over the years. I’ve designed and redesigned my short story unit, I’m always on the hunt for the latest and greatest short story anthology, and I’m constantly striving to make sure that I’m including not just one perspective, but a chorus of voices.

I think that by having a wide range of contemporary short stories, embracing alternative media (like songs and film), and giving students the tools to embrace their own creativity, you can make short stories relevant, engaging, and memorable for your students.

I tried to make sure that this post has something for every facet of a short story unit, but if you don’t find what you’re looking for, feel free to reach out ๐Ÿ™‚

Short Stories in ELA – Beyond the basics!

A photo of a dark, foggy forest with a white banner at the top of the image and black and pink text reading "Horror & Suspense - Inclusive Short Stories & Texts"

Inclusive Short Horror Stories for Teens

5 scary (but age-appropriate!) stories that you can use in the classroom! Great for teaching suspense, characterization, and other literary elements, or for use as model texts for creative writing.

Bonus: These stories are all by Queer or BIPOC authors.

A young girl reading under a tree with the text overlayed "Teaching Short Stories"

New Ideas for Teaching Short Stories

Need ideas for how to revitalize your short story unit? In this post, I share some of my favorite ways to change it up, without sacrificing your standards.

A stack of books next to a coffee cup with the text overlayed "New Short Stories For Middle School"

New Short Stories for Middle School

Middle school teachers, I have heard your cries! In this post, I share some contemporary and inclusive short stories for middle school, as well as some non-traditional short texts like songs and TV shows that you can use in the classroom.

Contemporary Short Stories for High School

… and this post is for you, high school teachers! Here are modern, inclusive short stories and other short media that will help your students identify and connect with the elements of storytelling.

If you’re teaching classic short stories, I have resources to help you too:

“Lamb to the Slaughter” by Roald Dahl

“The Lady or the Tiger?” by Frank Stockton

“The Monkey’s Paw” by W.W. Jacobs

“The Dinner Party” by Mona Gardner

“The Story of an Hour” by Kate Chopin

“The Black Cat” by Edgar Allan Poe

A gavel on an abstract background with the overlayed text "Teaching Social Justice With Short Stories"

Teaching Social Justice with Short Stories

Short stories can be great foundational texts for conversations about social justice and current events. Because theyโ€™re short, they can act as common reading before students work on discussion and research. They can help students hone in on the relationship between literature, politics, and โ€œthe real world.โ€ (This makes literature more relevant.) And itโ€™s always easier to talk about big issues through the lens of fictional characters.

Short Stories for High School – YA Anthologies

In this post, I share my favorite YA Short Story anthologies. These collections are great choices for your classroom library, plus you can use them to find new material for your short story units and lit circles.

Short Stories Analysis Unit

This resource gives you a full lesson plan for each topic, plus handouts, rubrics, presentations, tests, AND it can be used digitally or on paper. Each lesson has a suggested short story but can be used with the text of your choice.

Do you like using short stories to teaching literary elements and ELA concepts? Me too!

I’ve shared tips and text recommendations for teaching setting, symbolism, metaphors, suspense & pacing, irony, and figurative language. Enjoy!

A background of rainbow colored roses with overlayed text reading LGBTQ+ Short Texts for Secondary ELA

Short Texts by LGBTQ+ Authors for Secondary ELA

While this post contains a mixture of fiction and nonfiction texts, all would fit right in when teaching short stories. They’re also great choices for celebrating PRIDE and LGBTQ+ History Month (October).

Short Stories – Inclusive Ideas & Recommendations

This resource has everything you need to make your short story unit more relevant and inclusive. The story suggestions are organized by teaching topic, this makes it easy to find places in your curriculum where you can make updates.

Here are some of my favorite resources and ideas for teaching short stories in middle school and high school. Teaching short stories can be a great way to build student confidence and endurance with a number of skills. These texts span all genres and are hugely versatile โ€“ teach them as a unit or woven in with other texts throughout the year. (blog post)

Teaching Short Stories: Innovate & Engage

Here are some reading and writing exercises for teaching short stories. I share ideas for both group and solo activities, with the goal of getting students to feel more engaged and connected with the literature that they’re studying.

A Writer's Workshop model can be a great way to engage students in the writing and revising process. Writing a short story will help students strengthen their understanding of the elements of fiction, develop analytical skills, and give helpful peer feedback.

Writer’s Workshop

Hosting a mini writer’s workshop in your classroom is a great way to promote creativity and collaboration. In this blog post, I share my process, step-by-step.

A photo of an open book on a table, bathed in golden light. Below the image is a creamy yellow box with black text that reads "Short Stories for Secondary ELA"

Other Short Texts and Short Mediums for the ELA Classroom:

A photo of a dark haired girl wearing a plaid shirt and sitting at a table writing in a notebook. There's a white border at the top with pink text that reads "Personal Narrative Examples for Secondary ELA"

Personal Narrative Examples by Latinx Authors

Teaching personal narrative writing? Check out this post first! Plus, these 4 personal narratives examples are all by Latinx authors (from the wonderful anthology Wild Tongues Can’t Be Tamed), so they’re a great way to include more voices in your ELA curriculum.

A girls hand writing in a journal with the overlaid text "TED Talks to inspire Young Writers"

TEDTalks for Young Writers

These TEDTalks are all centered around language and storytelling. What better way to learn than directly from authors like Nnedi Okorafor, Jaqueline Woodson, and Gabby Rivera? Plus, you’ll find explorations of grammar, artistic inspiration, Twitter fiction, and more!

15 MORE Songs to Use in Secondary ELA

I love using songs in ELA so much that I have two posts dedicated to the subject! Songs can be approachable, high-interest ways to talk about themes, storytelling, literary elements, writers’ purpose, and much, much more.

15 MORE TV Episodes to Use in ELA

TV episodes can be much more than just time-fillers or rewards; they can be valuable teaching materials. Oftentimes, students have an easier time connecting with something that feels relevant to them, and TV can be a great “way in” for students to understand big literary concepts.

A reel of film, partially unwound in front of a pink and red background. The overlayed text says Short Films for Secondary ELA.

Short Films for ELA

I go beyond the typical Pixar favorites in this post and share 7 of my favorite short films, plus teaching ideas and activities.

Last thoughts:

I hope this post filled you with inspiration and excitement for teaching short stories in ELA! Do you have a short story “hack,” or a short story that really resonates with your students? Share it below!

A stack of books on a blue, wooden table, with a light blue wall behind them. In the upper left corner there's a black box with white text that says "Short Stories - Recommendations for Secondary ELA"

If you use any of these ideas or resources in your classroom, let me know! I’d love to hear a “review” from you and your students. Comment below or reach out on IG @nouvelle_ela ๐Ÿ™‚

Happy teaching!

No Comments

    Leave a Reply

    This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.