Curated Short Stories Library

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Curated Short Stories Library

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Planning Your Short Story Units

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In this 10-minute video, I show you how easy you can access our library of stories, collaborate with other members, and ask for help if you need it.

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Learn how to create short story units using resources from the Curated Short Stories Library and the 5Es Short Story Unit Framework.

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Learn how to ENGAGE students in reading short stories using resources from the Curated Short Stories Library and the 5Es Short Story Unit Framework.

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Learn how facilitate as students EXPLORE short stories and related resources from the Curated Short Stories Library and the 5Es Short Story Unit Framework.

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I'm always working to improve the library, to add resources, to update what I already have. I know I can better meet your needs if I hear from you. I'd love to read your feedback and incorporate your experiences and understanding as I continue to update the library. You're welcome to fill out this survey after your first visit to our library or wait until you've had time to use the resources. You can also return to the survey and submit new feedback at any time. I can't wait to hear from you!

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As we're working to improve the library for educators, we sometimes need quick feedback from you. Do you prefer PDFs or DOCs? What is the best time to email you about new resources? Things like that. Polls in this section should not take more than a few seconds to complete.

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Short Story Organizers

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You can find dozens of current Young Adult short stories published in anthologies. I haven't read all of them, but am adding to my list the ones that have been recommended to me by English teachers and students. I have linked to the anthologies at BookShop.org.

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2 B R 0 2 B by Kurt Vonnegut is a short story that would make an excellent addition to your dystopian or science fiction unit. Set in a near future, scientists have found the cure to aging. The resulting over population leads to destruction, poverty, and famine until one scientist establishes a government owned gas chamber to curb the population.

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All Summer in a Day by Ray Bradbury is a short story that would make a wonderful introduction to a science fiction genre unit. Set in Venus where it rains all the time and the sun only shines for one day every seven years, the story features a group of children who are too young to see the sun — except for one girl who has recently arrived from Earth. She shares her love of the sun through metaphor and poetry, and Bradbury explores what happens when a group of children, left to their own devices, grapple with jealousy.

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Amigo Brothers by Piri Thomas is a short story about two 17-year-old friends who’ve grown up together in New York City. They share a love of boxing and they are close like brothers. But what happens when they have to compete against each other?

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The Bass, The River, and Sheila Man is a short story set on a river during the summer. The narrator, a 14-year-old boy, has two loves — Sheila Mant and fishing. He asks Sheila out, but then catches a huge bass. He has to decide between the girl and the fish.

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The Burglar's Christmas is a short story by Willa Cather. It was first published in Home Monthly in 1896 under the pseudonym of Elizabeth L. Seymour, her cousin's name.

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Christmas Day in the Morning by Pearl S. Buck tells a story that illustrates how doing something special for someone you love can be the greatest gift of all. Touching on themes of true love, coming of age, and selfless service.

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The Black Cat by Edgar Allan Poe is a short story that is a study of the psychology of guilt and of our capacity for evil.

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A Christmas Carol tells the story of Ebenezer Scrooge, an elderly miser who is visited by the ghost of his former business partner and the spirits of Christmas Past, Present and Yet to Come. After their visits, Scrooge is changed into a more empathetic man.

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The Fall of the House of Usher by Edgar Allan Poe is a short story in the Gothic horror genre that focuses on a protagonist with a mental illness who lives in an old mansion with his sister. The deterioration of the house symbolizes that of the main characters. Poe crafts a dark, mysterious, and frightening mood in his story that is representative of his works.

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I first discovered this story around 2010 while substituting for an 8th grade English class in my hometown. The students were watching Charly and informed me that they’d read Flowers for Algernon. The novel is written as a a series of progress reports by an intellectually disabled adult who is selected by two doctors to undergo a surgical procedure that triples his IQ as it did for Algernon, a laboratory mouse who also underwent the same procedure.

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The Gift of the Magi by O. Henry is a short story that features one of the author's best twist endings in a Christmas setting. Students will love this story!

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Icarus and Daedalus by Josephine Preston Peabody is retelling of the Greek myth highlighting the importance of listening to one's elders. Find out what happens when Icarus decides to ignore his father's wisdom.

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In The Lady, or the Tiger? by Frank Stockton, a man accused of having an affair with a "semi-barbaric" king's daughter is hauled into a public arena and forced to choose one of two doors as his punishment. Behind one door is a woman he has been approved to marry; behind the other is a hungry tiger poised to eat him.

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The Landlady by Roald Dahl is a Halloween favorite of middle and high school students! This delightfully twisted short horror story will shock and captivate your students.

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The Legend of Sleepy Hollow by Washington Irving is a an classic example of one of the first American horror stories. It's perfect to share with students during Halloween. Written in 1820, the language can seem archaic, so it may be a good idea to scaffold student reading comprehension by showing one of the videos below before reading the short story itself.

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The Lottery by Shirley Jackson is a short story that calls into question the traditions of a small town. Students will love the ending!

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A Monkey's Paw by W.W. Jacobs is a short story of supernatural suspense featuring a magical artifact that can grant three wishes to three people. The characters quickly learn in the story that getting what you want often costs you greatly.

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While The Monsters Are Due on Maple Street by Rod Sterling is written in the format of a play, this dystopian story resonates with students who have witnessed what happens in their own communities and on television in recent years when people congregate in large groups and let themselves be overcome by fear.

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Mother and Daughter by Gary Soto is a short tory featuring the relationship between a mother, who'd immigrated to the United States from Mexico with nothing but the clothes on her back, and her daughter who just wanted a dress to go to a dance with the guy she had a crush on.

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The Moustache by Robert Cormier is the story of a young man whose grown a moustache just to prove he can. Now, he likes the way it looks and he wants to keep it regardless of what other people think. But one day, he visits his grandmother, who lives in a nursing home and is losing her memory. He's afraid she won't recognize him, but she does instantly. Soon, he realizes she has mistaken him for someone else and tells him a secret that makes him shave the moustache off.

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Names/Nombres by Julia Alvarez is a personal narrative essay in which the author combines several personal experiences to drive home a central theme — that a person's name is integral to one's identity.

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The Pedestrian, a 1951 story by American author Ray Bradbury, is about a man who decides to take a walk alone in a dystopian, television-centered world in the not-so-distant future. People don't read or socialize, choosing instead to spend all of their time in front of screens. Anyone who does not is considered suspect.

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The Possibility of Evil by Shirley Jackson is a short story that explores the contrast between who we are on the inside, what we tell ourselves, and what we portray to the world — and the impact this disparity often has on others. It's a perfect lead-in for a conversation on Instagram perfection and cyberbullying.

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Raymond's Run by Toni Cade Bambara is a short story about a highly competitive, street-smart teenage girl who loves to run. But she has an older brother she must care for. What happens when she realizes that he might be able to run, too?

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From Rudyard Kipling's Jungle Book, "Rikki-Tikki-Tavi" is a short story about a brave mongoose who defends his home from cobras.

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Rip Van Winkle, an 1819 story by American author Washington Irving, is about a man who falls asleep in the Catskill Mountains just before the American Revolution and wakes up 20 years later to a completely different society.

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The Scholarship Jacket by Marta Salinas is a short story that illustrates what happens when a young Mexican girl who faces obstacles in her quest to achieve her dream of earning a scholarship jacket — a symbol of her intelligence and hard work from the first through eighth grades.

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Seventh Grade by Gary Soto is a short story that features a character’s inner conflict: How to impress a girl when one lacks confidence? It’s a short read and highly relatable!

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A Sound of Thunder by Ray Bradbury is a short story that illustrates how even our seemingly smallest decisions and actions can have a huge impact on our lives. Such an important lesson to learn for our teenagers!

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"The Tell-Tale Heart" is Poe's classic story of a man's guilt following what was the perfect crime...

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Thank You, Ma'am by Langston Hughes is a short story about the lessons learned in a chance encounter between a young man who wants a pair of blue suede shoes and the woman whose purse he plans to steal in order to buy them. What does the woman see in him that others might not?

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There Will Come Soft Rains by Ray Bradbury is a science fiction short story about the last day of an automated house whose occupants were killed in a nuclear blast many days previously. Ironically, while a poem recited by the house in the story describes how much better nature will be without people, in fact nature has been all but destroyed by radiation and the war that killed the people. All that is left is the mechanical "life" of the house -- until it, too, is gone.

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To Build a Fire by Jack London is a tragic tale about an unnamed man who sets out to traverse a few miles of the Yukon during brutally cold weather. Accompanied by a dog surviving on instinct alone, he nevertheless is oblivious to the danger he is in, particularly after he accidentally gets his feet wet, requiring him to build a fire to prevent freezing to death.

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"The Veldt" is a short story written by Ray Bradbury that also explores the dangers of overusing technology. The story originally appeared as "The World the Children Made" in a 1950 issue of The Saturday Evening Post. In the story, two children become so emotionally attached to the virtual reality room in their automated house that they have no interest in leaving, which becomes a problem when a psychologist suggests they move to the country.

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Young Goodman Brown by Nathaniel Hawthorne is a short story set in the Puritan culture of New England during the Salem witch trials. The story serves as an allegory of the fall of man which Hawthorne uses to illustrate the inherent fallibility and hypocrisy in American religion.

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About the teacher

Michelle Boyd Waters, M.Ed.

Michelle Boyd Waters, M.Ed. taught middle and high school English Language Arts in rural and suburban schools. She is now studying for her doctorate in Instructional Leadership and Academic Curriculum with an concentration in English Education. Her area of interest is aliteracy -- learning why students choose not to read or write and what we can do about it.

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