This post was originally published in Nick Glass’ monthly column for Curriculum Connections, an e-newsletter published by School Library Journal in partnership with TeachingBooks.net. Subscribe to this free newsletter here.
Many educators assign their students short stories to read as they explore literary styles, genres, and writing techniques. This month’s column offers audio performances, lesson plans, and video clips to incorporate into your classroom activities and discussions about a handful of classic tales.
The first three stories listed below are text exemplars in the new Common Core State Standards for English Language Arts; the other selections are some of my personal favorites.
“The Cask of Amontillado” (1846) by Edgar Allan Poe
Consider this extensive instructional plan on “Exploring Setting: Constructing Character, Point of View, Atmosphere, and Theme,” in Poe’s work from the IRA/NCTE ReadWriteThink website.
The People Could Fly: American Black Folktales (Random, 1985) by Virginia Hamilton, illustrated by Leo and Diane Dillon
Listen to Arnold Adoff discuss and read from Hamilton’s short-story collection in this original TeachingBooks.net recording.
“The Gift of the Magi” (1906) by O. Henry
Explore O. Henry’s classic tale with the help of this Schmoop Learning Guide, which includes discussions of “Themes” and offers “Analysis,” “Questions,” and “Quizzes.”
“The Lottery” (1948) by Shirley Jackson
Introduce Jackson’s story with this dramatic reading by Maureen Stapleton, offered online by HarperAudio and the Internet Multicasting Service.
“Thank You, M’am” (1958) by Langston Hughes
Expand discussions on integrity and ethics with a reading of Hughes’s story and this detailed lesson plan from the Institute for Character Education.
“Under the Wire” from The Circuit (Univ. of New Mexico Press, 1997) by Francisco Jiménez
Watch and listen as Francisco Jiménez reads from his 1997 story collection about his childhood experiences as a migrant farm worker in California.
The Fire Next Time (Penguin, 1963) by James Baldwin
Bradbury Stories: 100 of His Most Celebrated Tales (William Morrow, 2003) by Ray Bradbury
View these video clips of science fiction writer Ray Bradbury discussing short stories, celebrations, Fahrenheit 451, and other topics.
Posted by Nick Glass, Founder & Executive Director of TeachingBooks.net