Short Stories


Is your young reader ready for classic writers but not quite ready for the BIG novels?  I have found success in the introduction of classic writers through short stories.  The following examples are a few select stories which happen to be my favorites simply because students enjoy them.  This obviously makes the transition to novels by the same author much more likely. Almost every student must read Geoffrey Chaucer but most are only introduced to the Prologue of the Canterbury Tales.  The actual tales themselves are rarely read; what a shame!  Try these two:  “The Black Rocks of Brittany” and “The Nun’s Priest’s Tale.” Nathaniel Hawthorne is one of my favorite writers.  The Scarlet Letter is certainly a classic, but Hawthorne’s short stories are just as intriguing.  Among my students’ favorites are “The Birthmark,” “Dr. Heidegger’s Experiment,” and “The Great Stone Face.” Every reader should read at least one novel of Charles Dickens.  I recommend A Tale of Two Cities and Great Expectations. Start with his short stories:  “A Christmas Carol” and “A School of Facts.” Other authors I have had success introducing through short stories are Robert Louis Stevenson, “Markheim”; Stephen Crane, “The Open Boat”; Leo Tolstoy, “How Much Land Does a Man Need?”‘; Pearl S. Buck, “The Frill”; Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, “The Red-Headed League.”