Short stories are one of my favourite things to teach. I use them to teach the elements of the novel, figurative language and critical thinking skills. In this blog post, I list and summarize my top 14 middle school short stories that I use in my classroom. Each short story title is linked to a lesson. I selected these titles as they are easy to find with a quick Google search or can be found in many ELA anthology textbooks found in many schools. At the bottom of this post, I share links to my complete short story units.
Engaging Short Stories For Middle School Students
- The Hockey Sweater by Roch Carrier – Roch’s favourite Montréal Canadiens sweater is too small. His mother orders a new sweater from the Eaton’s catalogue. Much to Roch’s despair, a Toronto Maple Leafs sweater arrives. Chaos will ensue for Roch who idolized Maurice Richard and would NEVER betray his idol.
- Amigo Brothers by Piri Thomas – Two best friends learn the true meaning of friendship when they face off in the boxing ring.
- The Necklace by Guy de Maupassant – Mme. Loisel learns that jealousy can change the course of a person’s life.
- Lose Now, Pay Later by Carol Farley – Deb and Trinja discover a new food shop in their local mall, but is it as good as everyone claims?
- The Fun They Had by Isaac Asimov – Margie and Tommy discuss the olden days where schools did not have mechanical robot teachers.
- All Summer in a Day by Ray Bradbury – On Venus, the children are jealous of Margot because she is from Earth. The sun only comes out once every 7 years on Venus and some of the children have no memory of this event.
- The Zoo by Edward D. Hoch – Who is really on display in this zoo the human people or the space creatures?
- The Scholarship Jacket by Marta Salinas – Martha desperately wants to win the highest school award during her eighth-grade graduation ceremony – winning the scholarship jacket. When she accidentally overhears her teachers discussing the selection criteria she is devastated.
- Lamb to the Slaughter by Roald Dahl – Mary Maloney is the perfect wife until the day her husband announces he wants a divorce.
- The Chaser by John Collier – Alan Austen wants nothing more than for the love of his life to notice him. He buys a love potion to make his dreams come true, but matters of the heart cannot be entrusted to a potion.
- The Lady or The Tiger by Frank R. Stockton –When a princess falls in love with a man below her status in life consequences are issued by her father the king.
- The Sniper by Liam O’Flaherty – Set during the Irish Civil War, a young soldier learns the true cost of war.
- Thank You, Ma’am, by Langston Hughes – A young boy tries to steal a woman’s purse and learns a valuable life lesson.
- Test by Theodore Thomas – Before he can drive, Robert Proctor must pass his driving test. During this driving test, things go horribly wrong.
Short Story Teaching Resources
6th Grade Short Story Unit: Use this Grade 6 short story unit to engage your students. This differentiated short story unit focuses on literary elements and literary devices (plot, character, setting, theme, conflict, similes, metaphors, symbols and foreshadowing). Use this short story unit to introduce or review literary elements and literary devices with your students.
Short Story Unit 1: This short story unit (great for 7th/8th grade) contains short stories for middle school classrooms. Students will enjoy this differentiated and engaging unit. This unit focuses on literary elements of plot, character, setting, theme, and conflict as well as these literary devices: similes, metaphors, symbols and foreshadowing. Use this unit to introduce or review literary elements and literary devices with your students. This unit is Google Classroom™️ compatible with individual PDFs and Google Slides™️ graphic organizers included. Short Story Unit 1 and 2 contain the same lessons but have different short stories, answer keys and final test.
Short Story Unit 2: This short story unit (great for 8th grade) contains short stories for middle school classrooms. Students will enjoy this differentiated and engaging unit. This unit focuses on literary elements of plot, character, setting, theme, and conflict as well as these literary devices: similes, metaphors, symbols and foreshadowing. Use this unit to introduce or review literary elements and literary devices with your students. This unit is Google Classroom compatible with individual PDFs and Google Slides graphic organizers included. Short Story Unit 1 and 2 contain the same lessons but have different short stories, answer keys and final test.