Short stories area great way to work in different themes or study of different literary devices. And the holidays can provide some nice tie-ins, even at the secondary level. Here are some of my favorites that fit well around Halloween– and beyond.
1. The Monkey’s Paw— a cautionary tale of using wishes or trying to change one’s fate. Great to discuss how wishes are treated in literature, especially when compared to the wishes in the original Aladdin. (Click here for more ideas and activities for teaching The Monkey’s Paw).
2. The Raven— dark, brooding tale told in poem. Great for studying narrative poems and analogies. Reading aloud really seems to show the change in pace and tone as the raven torments the narrator. (Click here for more ideas and activities for teaching The Raven)
3. The Legend of Sleepy Hollow— classic tale of the headless horseman chasing poor Ichabod. A ghost story or a story of a prank? Great for study of foreshadowing and mood. (Click here to read more ideas and activities for teaching Sleepy Hollow)
4. The Cask of Amontillado— creepy story of revenge. Great for discussing an unreliable narrator, foreshadowing, and symbolism.
5. The Tell Tale Heart– horrifying tale of murder and guilt. Another for an unreliable narrator and the symbol of the eye.
Creepy and scary stories have held our imagination for years. Halloween is one great time to discuss or explore why.
What’s your favorite creepy or scary story to read or teach?
Once Halloween has passed, and we slip into November, there is the added challenge of engaging while students are distracted by the allure of the upcoming break. Click here to read about 5 ways to survive the last days before Thanksgiving, and still engage in learning.