Curated Short Stories Library

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Curated Short Stories Library

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Planning Your Short Story Units

5 Lessons

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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Short Story Organizers

3 Lessons

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21 Lessons

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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 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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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