Consider the Value of the Short Story!

Mar 31, 2017

Traditionally, short stories have gone overlooked.

Short stories are often overlooked in favor of novels. Though longer works are certainly valuable, short stories should be recognized as an instrumental source of social and historical context, as well as literary genius! In truth, short stories provide rich literary value and should be incorporated into every English course. If you teach English, plan to teach English, or simply love literature, read on to discover 6 reasons to begin teaching and/or reading short stories NOW.

6 reasons to begin teaching and/or reading short stories NOW!

  1. short storyShort stories are incredibly well written. Similar to poetry, authors of short stories have a limited amount of space to fully develop plot, characters, theme, etc. Every word, every sentence, every happening has to be more intentional than comparable elements in a novel. If you are looking for examples of stellar writing, look no further than the short story!
  1. Short stories are… short. Readers will frequently look at a thick novel and find it daunting. A short story can be read in a single sitting and can be read multiple times, which is a wonderful reading strategy. Multiple readings allow for deeper insight and analysis. Unless you truly love a particular novel, it is unlikely that you will read it again. Not the case with short stories!
  1. Short stories teach literary devices. Symbolism? Allegory? Theme? Metaphor? Yep. Short stories have them all.
  1. Short stories allow for comparison. Because short stories take a limited amount of time to read, readers can choose several short stories and compare/contrast them, another fabulous reading strategy!
  1. Short stories provide historical, social, and literary context. Short stories are just as effective as novels at providing important historical and social context. To really delve into a culture, turn to their stories. Pairing short stories with a history unit is a superb idea. Oftentimes, this strategy allows students to recall historical context better. For instance, when learning about the roaring 20s, F. Scott Fitzgerald’s short stories can help solidify the time period in a reader’s mind and make it come alive!
  1. Short stories provide an unintimidating way to explore different genres. As students become more well-read, it is important that they are exposed to different genres. Students are more likely to have a positive attitude when reading 15 pages of sci-fi (fill in any genre) rather than immersing themselves into a 350 page sci-fi novel. They may even find that they love a genre they’ve never given thought to before!

FREE DOWNLOADABLE: A Hashtag list of short stories to read before graduation

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Jess Woods currently resides in upstate New York with her husband and three children. Though she spent her childhood and adolescence in Georgia, Jess has lived in eight different states and has a fondness for traveling and experiencing different regions, as each one has taught her something about herself and about community. Jess enjoys reading, writing, and all things music (ok, most things music). Teaching is the perfect career for her since she loves being able to experience an appreciation for words and story come alive within other people.