Textbooks and other collections have short stories that are wide, diverse, and fascinating. From them, students can learn about life lessons and literary terms while bettering their reading skills. Because of their condensed nature, building a unit of short stories is easy and lends itself to differing teaching methods. Teachers can create numerous objectives for teaching short stories.

Literary Terms

Literary terms, such as character, theme, symbol and setting, can be difficult for students to apply to a large story. Introduce literary terms using a short story.

Read, Write, Think suggests starting with a familiar short story, such as "Jack and the Beanstalk," can meet the objective of learning terms concerning plot. Another objective would be for students to take that literary term and apply it to a different or more difficult short story. Objectives could include for students to utilize a graphic organizer or to create a PowerPoint presentation once they find examples of a chosen literary term.


Reading comprehension is understanding what you read and is a vital part of the education process. Use short stories to better students' reading comprehension. The Scholastic website states that "good readers are continually questioning themselves" as they read. Make an objective for students to answer questions as you read the story to them or as they read it to themselves. Another objective could be for students to write a summary after reading the short story. Adjust the amount of required details depending on their grade and ability levels.

The Scholastic website also states that when students grapple with the deeper meaning of a text, it will strengthen understanding. Make an objective that addresses the different levels of a short story, such as discovering an author's purpose, drawing conclusions about certain events, evaluating cause and effect, and understanding point of view.

Unit Themes

Teachers typically teach short stories grouped into a large unit that has an overall theme or genre, such as mystery or science fiction, or during a time period, such as transcendentalism or realism. A unit of short stories can also share the same author. The unit will have ideas specific to the unit.

For instance, if a unit is about Edgar Allan Poe, the unit's theme could be about mysteries, romanticism, or Poe. Objectives would focus on students' understanding how Poe's short stories fit into the romantic period and the genre of mysteries. Objectives would also focus on finding influences from Poe's life in his stories. Continue teaching short story units, forming objectives where a class' interests are.

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