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Short Stories in English with Reading Comprehension Questions

You’re probably here because you want to improve your reading skills. Or, you might be a teacher looking for teaching materials for your reading lesson. Either way, you’re in the right place. Check out our short stories in English with morals, vocabulary lists, and reading comprehension questions.

short stories for reading comprehension

Short Stories for Reading Comprehension

ESL Short Stories for English Learners

One of the best ways to improve your score on the IELTS , TOEFL or TOEIC reading section is to practice reading some short stories. To accommodate all levels of readers, all of our English short stories have three different versions for beginner, intermediate, and advanced readers.

List of Short Stories in English

Check out this list of short moral stories in English. Each story will contain three different versions, a vocabulary list, comprehension questions and answers.

  • A Bundle of Sticks
  • The Hare and the Tortoise
  • The Frightened Lion
  • A Council of Mice
  • The Fox and the Crow
  • The Boy Who Cried Wolf
  • The Bear and the Bee
  • The Bell and the Cat
  • The Lion and the Mouse
  • The Frog Who Desired a King
  • The Fox and the Hedgehog
  • The Wolf and the Crane
  • The Gnat and the Bull
  • The Clever Woodcutter
  • The Wind and the Sun
  • The Goose that Laid the Golden Eggs
  • The Ant and the Grasshopper
  • The Frog and the Ox

Reading Lesson Materials for ESL Teachers

If you’re an ESL teacher looking for additional teaching resources, here are a few different tips and tricks to incorporate into your class. These tips can be helpful for both one-on-one lessons and larger classes .

  • Post-Reading Activities for ESL Students
  • ESL Reading Games, Activities, Lesson Plans
  • Story Timeline ESL Activity
  • 71 Ways to Practice English Reading

short moral stories in english

Short Moral Stories in English

Improve Reading Comprehension with Short Stories in English

If you want to improve your reading comprehension skills using short stories, follow these tips.

  • Preview the story by taking a glance and skiming through.
  • Read aloud to enhance comprehension and gain better retention.
  • Take notes of the key points (e.g., characters or important events) of the story.
  • Imagine the story in your head to visualize.
  • Try to identify the main idea or theme of the story.
  • Ask questions to yourself while reading the story.
  • Discuss your thoughts and questions with your friends or classmates.
  • If you don’t know the meaning of a word, infer or guess based on the context of the story.
  • Feel free to reread and go back to the points that were unclear.
  • Lastly, and most importantly, enjoy reading the fun short stories!

short stories in english

Short Stories in English

FAQs About ESL Reading Comprehension Short Stories

Here are answers to some of the most popular questions that people have about ESL reading comprehension stories.

What is reading comprehension?

Reading comprehension is the ability to understand and make sense of what you read. It involves grasping the meaning of words, sentences, and overall text to comprehend and interpret information.

How do I improve reading comprehension with short stories?

Actively engage with short stories by asking questions, making predictions, and summarizing key points. Visualize scenes and characters to enhance understanding. Take notes on key details, characters, and events to reinforce retention. Read aloud to involve multiple senses in the reading process. Discuss the story with others to gain different perspectives. Set clear goals for reading, whether it’s understanding the main idea or identifying specific details.

What are some short stories for enhancing reading comprehension skills?

To enhance your reading comprehension skills, we recommend reading our versions of “The Bear and the Bee”, “The Boy Who Cried Wolf”, “A Bundle of Sticks”, “The Hare and the Tortoise”, “The Frightened Lion”, “A Council of Mice”, and “The Fox and the Crow”.

What are common challenges in reading comprehension with short stories?

Understanding new words, identifying the main idea (e.g., the moral of the story), and making connections between details can be challenging in reading short stories. Additionally, visualizing scenes, analyzing characters, and using context clues may pose difficulties for some readers. Maintaining focus and summarizing key points are also common hurdles in short story comprehension.

How should I teach reading comprehension?

Guide your approach to teaching reading comprehension by prompting students to actively interact with texts, fostering discussions to encourage diverse perspectives. Emphasize the significance of visualization and connecting details for a holistic understanding. Introduce a variety of reading materials to cater to diverse interests and skill levels, ensuring well-rounded comprehension skill development. Additionally, provide constructive feedback to support their growth in comprehending different types of content.

Short Stories in English: Join the Conversation

Did you check out the list of our short stories in English? Which one was your favourite story? Let us know in the comments. We’d love to hear from you. If you want to challenge yourself with academic reading, try out our TOEFL reading practice test .

short story english lesson

About Jackie

Jackie Bolen has been teaching English for more than 15 years to students in South Korea and Canada. She's taught all ages, levels and kinds of TEFL classes. She holds an MA degree, along with the Celta and Delta English teaching certifications.

Jackie is the author of more than 100 books for English teachers and English learners, including 101 ESL Activities for Teenagers and Adults and 1001 English Expressions and Phrases . She loves to share her ESL games, activities, teaching tips, and more with other teachers throughout the world.

You can find her on social media at: YouTube Facebook TikTok Pinterest Instagram

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With English stories , you can:

  • Understand deeper and broaden understanding
  • Know more vocals and how they are used in real contexts
  • Motivate imagination, create your own story
  • Enhance communication skill

Besides, we wrote an ebook about the topic “ How to Learn English Effectively through short stories “. You can refer to our ebook first.

101 English short stories for English learners from beginner to advanced level

A. Beginner Level

short story english lesson

  • A Baby and a Sock
  • Birds and a Baby
  • A Cat and a Dog
  • The Baby Bear
  • An Apple Pie
  • The Top Bunk
  • A Birthday Bike
  • In the Garden
  • Today’s Mail
  • Boys Will Be Boys
  • A Good Meal
  • No Friends for Me
  • Life Is Good
  • Tell the Truth
  • God Loves Babies
  • A Clean Car
  • Farm Animals
  • Corn for People and Animals
  • Rain and Hail
  • Hungry Birds
  • At the Bus Stop
  • Brown and Blue Eyes
  • Catch Some Fish
  • Daddy Likes Beer
  • Bears and a Pig
  • A Short Plane Ride
  • A Windy Day
  • Try to Tell the Truth
  •  A Bad Economy
  • The Birthday Party
  • Plants Need Water
  • Life Will Be Better

B. Intermediate Level

short story english lesson

  • The Christmas Story – The Birth Of JESUS
  • The Man Who Learned From His Cow
  • The Girl Who Dressed Like a Boy
  • The Jindo Dog
  • The Wait-and-See Man
  • The Seal’s Skin
  • the Bear’s Son
  •  Strong Wind
  • Brer Fox’s Shoes
  •  Three Rabbits
  • The Bridge between the Earth and the Sky
  • The Wild Pigeon

C. Upper-intermediate Level

short story english lesson

  • The Christmas Star and the Little Wanderer
  • The White Ribbon (Kassie’s and Betty’s friendship)
  • The Joyous Christmas Surprise
  • A Little Princess | Part 1
  • A Little Princess | Part 2
  • A Little Princess | Part 3

D. Advanced Level

We will update more English short stories in the future. Don’t forget to subscribe to our blog and youtube channel 

Thank you, @Tony Illustrated English for being willing to share your stories on our blog – One of our partner


For example:

Short Stories in English: Farm Animals

The  chicken and the duck  were friends. They lived on a  farm . They  walked around  together. They swam in the pond together. They talked about many things. They talked about the cat. They thought the cat was tricky. They thought the cat was dangerous. The cat  looked at  them a lot. They didn’t trust the cat. “We must always keep our eyes open when the cat is around,” they both agreed. They talked about the dog. The dog was very friendly. The dog wanted to play. The dog had lots of energy. It barked a lot. It  ran around  a lot. They both liked the dog. They talked about the farmer. The farmer brought them food. The farmer  took care of  them. The farmer took care of all the animals. He fed the cow. He fed the pig. He fed the goat. He fed the sheep. He fed the rabbit. They liked the farmer. He  took good care of  everyone. He was a nice man. “Farmers are good,” said the chicken. “We need farmers,” said the duck.

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Language Arts Classroom

Short Story Lesson Plans

Short stories for high school help meet literature standards.

Looking for short story lesson plans and short story activities? You can easily add a sprinkling of these stories to your curriculum.

If you are looking for ideas for how to teach a short story, I can help. First, most of these short stories are in the public domain and are on the Internet for free. You can search for each story with the story’s name + PDF. (For instance, “The Necklace” + PDF.) These make perfect online options.

Second, teaching short stories can happen any time of the year. I’m currently prepping for the first quarter of school, and for me that means… short stories! You can read my previous post about what I hope to accomplish by starting the school year with short stories . The beauty of short story activities is they are short. You can fit the literature lessons to benefit your schedule and to meet standards.

Third, after you know what short stories you have available, what standards you’ll meet, and a what activities might work, you can narrow down the stories. I have summarized eleven stories below. These short stories will work for various ages; however, you might want to use certain ones for older students due to the content. For instance, I’ve had upset students with The Monkey’s Paw because Herbert returns from the dead. I’ve reviewed the stories below and indicated where I thought the content was mature. As always, teachers know their students best.

Fourth, your students’ abilities matter. These can be short stories for high school. You can use a short story lesson plan from the list with middle school students. So much of short story activities deal with how you present the information. Don’t let students get bogged down with confusion.

Fifth, get started with teaching short stories with a free download. Download my free Hashtag a Character activity along with 100 literature activities. The variety will provide plenty of activities for short stories. I use my hashtag activities with any short story lesson plan! You’ll see how I use the hashtag in my summaries below.

short story english lesson

Now, onto the short stories. Some of these will make the perfect short story lessons for middle school, while others will lend themselves to short story activities for high school. As you read, you might take notes about activities for teaching short stories. I’ve included links to my short story activities in the titles, but you can make your own! Consider your audience, your standards, and your community.

Here are short stories for high school (maybe middle school!) along with summaries and hashtags.

The Necklace

A beautiful woman does not live the life she believes she deserves. Wearing a borrowed necklace, she attends a party with her husband. She loses the necklace and replaces it. She spends years paying off the debt, only to learn that the original necklace was a fake. #SpoiledWomanNeedsAGrip

A young girl during the Great Depression lives in poverty. Her parents spend the day working or looking for work. Bored, she and her friends bother an elder’s garden. One night after hearing her parents’ desperation, she returns to the elder’s marigold patch and destroys the flowers. The woman catches her and says nothing. Reflecting, she realizes that she is facing adulthood. #PerfectComingOfAgeStory

“Marigolds” contains beautiful mentor sentences for middle school, and students will cheer for the main character .

There Will Come Soft Rains

Ray Bradbury imagines what would happen if humans destroy themselves. Does life continue? Will technology ruin us? Will robots cook us breakfast? The poem by Sara Teasdale is included and provides for excellent discussion. Plus, a futuristic setting intrigues students. #ActuallyWeDoHaveRobots

The Lady or the Tiger

A barbaric king learns of his daughter’s lover and condemns the man to opening a door. What is behind the door? A lady? A tiger? The king’s daughter knows, and she directs her lover to open one of the doors. #OfCourseItWasTheTiger

The Scarlet Ibis  

(Students do become upset with this story.) A young boy has a little brother with an unnamed disability. Out of pride, the brother teaches his younger sibling to walk. His internal conflict concerning his brother grows, and he leaves the youngster alone in the rain. Upon returning, he finds his brother has died. #ICryWhenIReadThis

Typically, “The Scarlet Ibis” provides perfect short story activities for high school, and the plot structure is easy to map.

Do you need short story lesson plans? Add short stories for high school students to your ELA class. Activities for short stories can include mentor sentences and writing. Short story activities will meet language, writing, and literature standards. Add this short story lesson plan to your high school literature class.

Wine on the Desert

Set on a desert, the story opens with a man escaping the police. He visits an old friend who runs a vineyard. The friend provides him with water, food, and shelter. To avoid the police, the criminal destroys his friend’s irrigation system, forces the friend to pack him water, steals his gun, and leaves to cross the desert. He avoids breaking into his water for hours, but when he ultimately does, his friend actually got his revenge. #YepItIsWine

The Gift of the Magi

A poor but loving couple sells their most prized possessions to buy the other a Christmas gift. But! The gifts are now useless because they were for the prized possessions. #ALittleBitCute

The Monkey’s Paw

This story is a fun twist on the “three wishes” tale. A family receives a mummified monkey’s paw and makes a wish for money. They receive the money in exchange for the death of their son. The next two wishes are sometimes upsetting to students. You might warn them before assigning this story. #ZombieHerbert

Again, I would classify “The Monkey’s Paw” with short story activities for high school because students become upset about the son returning from the grave.

A poisonous snake has sneaked into a man’s bedroom. It hides under his blanket. A doctor is summoned, and suspense builds as everyone carefully removes the bedding, antidote ready. What happens when the sheet is finally removed? #ThereNeverWasASnake

The Colomber

A young boy stands with his father. A colomber passes the boy, and the father sternly tells his son that he must avoid the colomber for the rest of his life or the fish will devour him and his family. The son avoids water for fifty years, but he still sees the colomber chasing him. At the end of the boy’s life, he discovers what the colomber actually wanted. #ItWasn’tToKillHim

Years ago, “The Colomber” made perfect short story lessons for middle school.

Blue’s Ain’t No Mockin Bird

Two reporters invade a family’s personal property and are incredibly rude. The point of view is that of a young girl. The conversations with this story are endless. #OutstandingFigurativeLanguage

I often use “Blue’s” to answer the question, what are mentor sentences ? We dive deeply into the rich language and with that short story lesson plan, I can meet language standards.

Do you need short story lesson plans? Add short stories for high school students to your ELA class. Activities for short stories can include mentor sentences and writing. Short story activities will meet language, writing, and literature standards. Add this short story lesson plan to your high school literature class.

Activities for teaching short stories should be plentiful. Be sure to download my free list of activities ! As I mentioned deciding on short story activities for high school or planning short story lessons for middle school depends on what standards you can meet and your students.

Activities for short stories can be as simple or elaborate as you need. If students dislike a story, I often cut the activities short and move to the next story. Be ready to experiment with your short story activities!

I hope these short story summaries provide you with the fun you can have reading them with students. If you are looking for my complete short story lesson plans, I’ve linked to the individual ones above. They are bundled into a complete unit for a discounted price. You can find my short story lesson plans too. They include activities for teaching short stories that took years to develop.

Also! I teach other stories than this… Raymond’s Run, Rules of the Game, Poe… I hope to add a short story lesson plan for those to my unit soon! As always, I provide free lifetime updates for all of my activities.

My friend Melissa teaches short stories, too. Her approach is slightly different. Read about her   short story unit ideas  if you want more inspiration.

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short story english lesson

Teaching Short Stories

Short story unit plan with student choice, modern short stories for high school english.

literature activities short stories

  • Listen and watch

Short stories

Do you like listening to and reading stories? Reading stories is a great way to improve your vocabulary and we have lots of great stories for you to watch. Watch stories, print activities and post comments!

A dogs life screenshot

A dog's life

A Midsummer Night's Dream screenshot

A Midsummer Night's Dream

ABC Zoo screenshot

Ali and the magic carpet

Angel! Look out! screenshot

Angel! Look out!

Beatrix Potter screenshot

Beatrix Potter

Boudica screenshot

Buzz and Bob's big adventure

Circus escape screenshot

Circus escape

Dark, dark wood screenshot

Dark, dark wood

Dick Whittington screenshot

Dick Whittington

Dinosaur Dig screenshot

Dinosaur Dig

Elizabeth I screenshot

Elizabeth I

Emmeline Pankhurst screenshot

Emmeline Pankhurst

Eric the engine screenshot

Eric the engine

Florence Nightingale screenshot

Florence Nightingale

George and the dragon screenshot

George and the dragon

Goldilocks and the three bears screenshot

Goldilocks and the three bears

Hamlet screenshot

I couldn't believe my eyes

I'm too ill screenshot

I'm too ill

Isaac Newton screenshot

Isaac Newton

Jack and the beanstalk screenshot

Jack and the beanstalk

Little Red Riding Hood screenshot

Little Red Riding Hood

Macbeth screenshot

Monster shopping trip

Much Ado About Nothing screenshot

Much Ado About Nothing

My dad screenshot

My favourite clothes

My favourite day - Chinese New Year screenshot

My favourite day - Chinese New Year

My favourite day - Christmas screenshot

My favourite day - Christmas

My favourite day - Diwali screenshot

My favourite day - Diwali

My favourite day - Eid al-Fitr screenshot

My favourite day - Eid al-Fitr

My secret team screenshot

My secret team

Nessie - the Loch Ness Monster screenshot

Nessie - the Loch Ness Monster

No dogs! screenshot

One moment around the world

Our colourful world screenshot

Our colourful world

Planet Earth screenshot

Planet Earth

Pyramids in Paris screenshot

Pyramids in Paris

Ratty robs a bank screenshot

Ratty robs a bank

Record breakers screenshot

Record breakers

Robin Hood screenshot

Romeo and Juliet

Santa's little helper screenshot

Santa's little helper

Spycat screenshot

Superhero High

Teddy's adventure screenshot

Teddy's adventure

The animal shelter screenshot

The animal shelter

The bird king screenshot

The bird king

The clever monkey screenshot

The clever monkey

The cold planet screenshot

The cold planet

The first marathon screenshot

The first marathon

The great race screenshot

The great race

The greedy hippo screenshot

The greedy hippo

The haunted house screenshot

The haunted house

The hungry dragon screenshot

The hungry dragon

The lazy bear screenshot

The lazy bear

The lion and the mouse screenshot

The lion and the mouse

The lucky envelope screenshot

The lucky envelope

The lucky seed screenshot

The lucky seed

The lump of gold screenshot

The lump of gold

The magic fish screenshot

The magic fish

The magic paintbrush screenshot

The magic paintbrush

The magic spell screenshot

The magic spell

The mummy screenshot

The princess and the dragon

The Ramadan lantern story screenshot

The Ramadan lantern story

The sneaky rabbit screenshot

The sneaky rabbit

The snowman screenshot

The snowman

The story of quinine screenshot

The story of quinine

The treasure map screenshot

The treasure map

The ugly duckling screenshot

The ugly duckling

The voyage of the animal orchestra screenshot

The voyage of the animal orchestra

Twelfth Night screenshot

Twelfth Night

Twins' week screenshot

Twins' week

What will I be when I grow up? screenshot

What will I be when I grow up?

What's that noise? screenshot

What's that noise?

Why Anansi has thin legs! screenshot

Why Anansi has thin legs!

William Shakespeare screenshot

William Shakespeare

English courses for children aged 6-17

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short story english lesson

Short stories online for EFL / ESL

  • English grammar
  • Advanced reading
  • Intermediate reading
  • Language games and puzzles

Very short stories in graded English, levels B1 to C1 - for class and for home

Short stories - advanced english - b2 and c1.

short story english lesson

  • NEW   Short story: A suitable job  - a short story from Britain in advanced level English, with lesson plan and interactive exercises  - (C1 level - 950 words)
  • Short story: The Car  - a short story from Britain in advanced level English, with  audio , lesson plan and interactive exercises  - (C1 level - 950 words)
  • Short story: Blue Gum Tree - a short story from New Zealand with  audio and interactive worksheet (B2 level - 850 - 900 words)
  • Short Story: Lucky Jim -  an original short story from the USA, with  audio  and interactive worksheet -.  (C1 level  - 800-850 words)
  • For Elise - An original short story from the USA - with  audio and interactive worksheet  (B2 level ~ 1150 words )
  • A few good reasons - An original short story from the USA  with  audio and interactive worksheet   (B2 level ~ 950 words )
  • The Celebrated Jumping Frog of Calaveras County by Mark Twain (Appendix to Mark Twain and the frogs of Calaveras County ) 2600 words.

Short stories - intermediate English,  teenage fiction - B1 and B2

  • NEW   Short story: Dr Trelew's encounter  - (B1) a Victorian mystery with worksheet and  audio
  • Short story: Driftwood  - (B2) a short story from England with worksheet and  audio
  • Short story: Dance Macabre  - (B1) a short story from the USA with worksheets and  audio
  • Short story: The Box  - (B2) with interactive worksheet  - a short story in two parts with worksheets and  audio
  • Short Story - The Girl in the Denim Jacket , (B2) a story in two parts  with interactive worksheets and  audio
  • Short Story - The Trap , ( B1) a story in two parts
  • Short story: The Wimp .  (B1) Teenage fiction, in two parts  with worksheet and audio
  • Mystery : The Titanic and the Temple of Doom  (B2) Did this really happen ?
  • Short Story - One Foggy Night - (B1) with interactive worksheet and audio  - teenage fiction
  • Short Story - The path to High Crag , (B1) a story in two parts
  • English ghost stories - (B1) with interactive worksheet  - low intermediate level

Teachers, writers ? Got a good short story you'd like us to publish? If so, let us know

Short stories must be your own ©  original work, be set in an English-speaking environment, and be appropriate for teenagers or young adult readers. Linguapress is also interested in publishing good short stories by established writers whose works are in the public domain, and welcomes suggestions. To be in the public domain, works must be by a writer who died over 70 years ago.


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5 Well-Known Short Stories for Intermediate ESL Learners (with Discussion Activities)

The literary greats are in town.

And thanks to short stories , these famous authors are more accessible than ever.

Conveniently, such short stories can also illuminate an atmosphere of discussion, enthusiasm and confidence among your ESL students.

And whether your aim is to paint a picture of fantasy or to bring history to life , the selection of stories below will serve up a healthy challenge for your intermediate-level English learners .

These particular stories are a bit more in-depth, packed with literary lightning that will fuel hearty discussions.

Intermediate Short Stories to Harness ESL Discussions 

1. “confido” by kurt vonnegut, 2. “the long rain” by ray bradbury, 3. “araby” by james joyce, 4. “crazy sunday” by f. scott fitzgerald, 5. “the masque of the red death” by edgar allan poe, why use short stories with intermediate esl students.

Download: This blog post is available as a convenient and portable PDF that you can take anywhere. Click here to get a copy. (Download)

What it’s about: “Confido” features a lab assistant named Henry who invented Confido, a magical device that exposes people’s inner thoughts. Henry knew his invention would make him and his family wealthy, but the device also brought about the prospect of despair. Vonnegut’s “Confido” is about greed and the true needs of people, a subject perfect for discussion and debate.

How to use in class: A debate-minded lesson plan for this short story will focus on the greed and moral aspects. This is excellent for pair discussion, allowing your students to really draw out the content in the story from one another. Have one student support Henry’s decision to bury Confido, while the other is against it. Employ a few “for” and “against” questions to spark debate once your class has read and/or listened to the short story.

Possible questions:

  • If you had a device like Confido, would you bury it like Henry did?
  • What would be the reasons behind your decision to bury or keep the device?
  • How could Confido be important to the world?
  • How could Confido destroy the world?
  • Is a life of being poor worth never introducing Confido to the public?
  • Is having all the money in the world worth exposing Confido to the world?

Activity suggestions: Give each pair time to process the questions surrounding the short story. They can also write down a few notes important to their debate points. You can let each pair debate their points at their desks, or bring the debate to the center, allowing each pair to debate in front of the class to build more confidence.

What it’s about: “The Long Rain” by Ray Bradbury is often a favorite of science-fiction buffs. The story portrays four men deserted on the planet Venus. Bradbury depicts Venus as a planet with endless rain, though, which in turn drives the four men mad as they search desperately for shelter. One of the four men, the lieutenant, survives the endless rain of Venus by finding shelter.

How to use in class: The story ending has a speculative aspect that you could transform into a lively classroom discussion. Is the lieutenant’s shelter a delusion, or is it real? You can also open up classroom discussion regarding the deaths of the other three men in the story.

  • Is there a metaphor behind Bradbury’s story?
  • What could the endless rain of Venus really represent?
  • What does the lightning strike represent? Should the man have run? Should he have jumped?
  • What is a mercy kill? Is it murder?
  • In your opinion, is there such a thing as a moral mercy kill? What would you have done in a similar situation?
  • How does Simmons’s life end? Is suicide a metaphor for anything within the story?
  • What do you think about suicide?
  • How do you know if the lieutenant has truly reached safe haven? Could it be a delusion?
  • What is a delusion?

Activity suggestions: You can expand on insights as they come to light during the discussion. Your students will sharpen their ability to think and process English quickly as the discussion unfolds.

What it’s about: This short story by famed literary great James Joyce is indeed short, yet descriptive and full of exceptional metaphors for your students to analyze and discuss. It is about a young boy who is infatuated with a young girl, leading him to the promise of a gift, which is never purchased. The boy’s unrelenting vanity is later revealed as the boy’s obsession with the girl is represented by the promise of a gift.

How to use in class: In true Joyce fashion, the descriptive nature of the short story is an exceptional tool you can use in your lesson plan. For this activity, you will need to develop a short worksheet intended to kick off discussion among your student pairs. If developing and printing a worksheet is challenging, you can also read the questions aloud, letting your students dictate and hone their listening comprehension.

  • The short story ends with, “Gazing up into the darkness I saw myself as a creature driven and derided by vanity; and my eyes burned with anguish and anger.” What does vanity represent in this final sentence?
  • How do you perceive vanity in your culture?
  • Do you find that material objects represent more in your life or in the lives of your family, friends or colleagues?
  • Joyce uses many descriptive passages to convey the feel of a room, a character in the story or a specific place unique to the story. Is this helpful to you when reading or listening?
  • Using very descriptive passages, how would you describe the classroom?
  • How would you describe your home or office?

Activity suggestions: Your student pairs can build discussion as they address each question. They will discover fresh ways to describe things in their everyday life, which may increase their use of adjectives, and also develop a new use for vocabulary words presented in past English lessons.

What it’s about: F. Scott Fitzgerald’s “Crazy Sunday” is about love, dishonor and the twists and turns associated with the many relationships people have in daily life. The main character Joel Cole falls in love with his friend Stella, who has been cheated on by her husband. However, upon the death of Stella’s husband, she realizes she truly loved him and Joel may not be a love at all, but a passing fling to hold on to.

How to use in class: In Section V of the story, the death of Stella’s husband comes to light and Joel is left to assist Stella in such a traumatic moment in her life. The vocabulary within the paragraphs and dialogue of Section V can develop a creative discussion and writing activity beneficial to your intermediate students.

You will need to identify several new vocabulary words for your students to develop definitions for, which will be used later in the group activity. Below you’ll find some suggestions.

Possible vocabulary:

  • hanging about
  • unrolled before him
  • innumerable
  • temperament
  • get a hold of

Activity suggestions: Once you have compiled a list of 20 or more vocabulary words, have each group search the story for each word to know its context, and then develop a definition. Let students refer to a dictionary if needed. After they have collaborated on their vocabulary definitions, have each group begin to develop a new dialogue—with Joel and Stella as the main characters.

The dialogues should be short, and will act as a replacement to the story’s original ending. However, each group will eventually need to enact their dialogues in front of the class and explain why they chose the ending they did. This activity encompasses core discussion and collaboration skills with writing and reading as sub-skills.

What it’s about: Our final short story follows the main character Prince Prospero as he attempts to stay healthy during a plague. Prospero escapes to his abbey, along with many other wealthy figures. They have a party, in which “red death,” an unknown guest, appears and kills Prospero, along with all the members of the party. Poe’s “The Masque of the Red Death” is thought to have a metaphorical meaning, which surrounds the inevitability of death, regardless of power or wealth.

How to use in class: The notion of death, the wealthy and the powerful are perfect discussion points for your intermediate students to explore. You can use this story to dive deeper into the aspects of the content as it pertains to the metaphorical passages within it.

  • “The ‘Red Death’ had long devastated the country.” What does the “Red Death” represent in Poe’s story? Is it human, or could it be evil?
  • “A strong and lofty wall girdled it in.” What is this passage referring to? What does this passage represent to the characters and you the reader?
  • What color is represented in the seven rooms of the Prince’s home?
  • Why do you think there were no red rooms?
  • “It was in this apartment, also, that there stood against the western wall, a gigantic clock of ebony.” Where was this clock of ebony? What does the clock represent in the story? How is the clock significant to the story?

Activity suggestions: Your students will enjoy piecing together the hidden meanings within Poe’s words as they discuss the what and whys you present as challenges within your questions. Students may even find it useful to examine each line of the short story for hidden meanings and new vocabulary words as well.

The days of “Little Red Riding Hood” have long passed, and your students are ready for short stories crafted by some of history’s most prolific writers.

  • When you increase your students’ literature levels, the vital vocabulary will follow. Your students will journey down a beautifully worded path of fresh adjectives, nouns and verbs, as well as idioms, phrasal verbs and slang too.
  • These short stories will also introduce your students to authors that remain discussed in universities and at coffee tables around the world. They will build confidence from these intermediate-level short stories. Once your students are familiar with a particular author, attempting one of their full-length novels becomes much more doable.
  • The themes and topics from these stories lend themselves nicely to a variety of classroom activities . With challenge comes discussion , the cornerstone to intermediate lesson plans.

To tackle short stories in class, set up group or pair activities, highlight debate topics within the story, or open up the classroom for group discussion as well. For example, in “Confido” by Kurt Vonnegut, greed and morals are pinned against one another, which can stimulate a debate or opinionated discussion for your students.

If you’re after even more content to help connect your student to the native English world, you can supplement with English videos from FluentU . These cover diverse themes, from literature to travel, and they all come with study tools like quizzes and interactive subtitles.  With these materials, you’ll be able to showcase even more of the creative English history and encourage your students to discuss a full range of exciting topics.

Let the literary masters of history come to life within your ESL classroom by developing discussion-based lesson plans around short stories. Beyond the five listed here, there is a wealth of short stories available online to draw from. You can easily transform delightful short stories into activities your eager intermediate English students will enjoy and learn from. 

Let them unlock new ways to express themselves, explore literature, debate and share their opinions with others through short stories. Your students will undoubtedly obtain the ESL discussion skills vital for communicating in real-life situations.

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📝 Author: Hilary

📅 Published: July 08, 2019 09:30am

🎈 Updated On: September 02, 2020 12:22pm

💬 2533 words ▪️ ⏳ Reading Time 13 min

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Short Stories For Esl Students

Learning to speak English through listening to native English speakers is a quick and easy way to learn. Today we have responded to several requests from ESL (English as a second language) students who liked the last ESL short story which you can find here

Although it was ESL students who asked for this podcast for their English listening test, it will be of value to anyone who wants to learn to speak English fluently. We designed the Adept English learning system to make learning English as efficient as possible, so listen to today's podcast lesson and find out why this way of learning is just better than traditional English lessons.

Why use a story? Humans are always ready to learn by listening to stories, it’s how mankind has survived for so long, we pass key survival information as stories to our children and they pass that onto their children. Our brains are always ready to treat a story as more important information. Humans store story based information in our longer term memory so you get much more learning value out of listening to your English information in the format of a story.

So listening to a story spoken by a native English speaker is a great way to store English vocabulary and pronunciation information you will need to speak English fluently.

Transcript: Fun Short Stories for ESL Students

Hi there and welcome to this podcast from Adept English. This is our Monday podcast, so it’s the slightly longer one and today we’re going to do another of those Short Stories for ESL Students so that you can practise your English listening skills. Listen to this podcast a number of times, and notice how much more of it you can understand on the second or the third listen. This is really good for your learning – and you get more than one chance at understanding it. So it’s a little better, even at this stage perhaps than listening to English conversation. You just get once chance there! So it’s good practice for understanding English. And if you listen right to the end, there’s a little extra idea for you to practice with.

A little bit about Adept English Method and our Courses

So let’s do another of those Short Stories for ESL Students which will help prepare you for English language tests, if you’re doing them. And even if you’re not about to take a test, it will give you something different to listen to. I’ll tell the story, but I’ll also stop along the way, Adept English style and do the explanations of the more difficult words as I go along. The purpose of this is so that you can continue to think in English while you listen. What we don’t want is you translating because it stops your progress! Using a dictionary or translating, or even Google Translate – that’s a bad thing! You need to stay in the ‘English part of your brain’! So I’ll explain the more difficult words, as we go along. And you only need to look things up as a last resort. That means the last thing you do to try and fix something.

This is the way that we work in Adept English, and it’s very helpful to your language learning. So if you like this way of learning, where I explain as we go, then buy Course One: Activate Your Listening , because this course works in exactly the same way. There are vocabulary recordings, which is like a tutorial, like a one-to-one lesson with me and they help you understand the difficult words, but all in English, to stop you from translating! And instead of it coming in bits and pieces, like the podcasts, if you buy the course, you get over 5 hours of listening material to help you improve your English. And you can download it straight away. Great stuff!

Learn to speak English course one activate your listening product cover art.

The Story of Little Red Riding Hood

OK, so what about the story of Little Red Riding Hood? That can be our Short Story for ESL Students today. There are different versions of this story, but the story is a very old European fairy tale, so if you’re from Europe, you probably know it. If you’re not from Europe, it’s a classic!

So, what about the title if the story? ‘Little Red Riding Hood’. Well, ‘little’ is OK, it’s about a little girl. Red is a colour, R-E-D, the colour of the hood, that she wears. So a hood, which is spelt ‘H-O-O-D’ is a covering for your head. If you have a jacket and it has a hood, that’s the part of the jacket that goes over your head. You might use your hood, if it was raining to stop your hair getting wet. And here it’s a ‘riding’ hood, that’s from the verb ‘to ride’, R-I-D-E. So ‘to ride’ usually means to ride a horse. It’s what my son and I do on a Sunday morning – or we try at least. We’re just learning, we’re not experts so I’m waiting for the time that I’ve fallen off the horse and to see whether I want to carry on, once that’s happened! Or whether I’m too scared! Anyway that’s the meaning of the title, Little Red Riding Hood. So this is a little girl who’s called after something that she wears. Presumably she has an ordinary name like Jane or Sarah, but we never find that out!

So OK, the story starts where Little Red Riding Hood lives in a forest with her mother. And the grandmother of Little Red Riding Hood lives on the other side of the forest – presumably that’s the mother of Red Riding Hood’s mother? Anyway, the mother asks Little Red Riding Hood to take a basket of food to the grandmother, because the grandmother is ill, she’s sick, she’s in bed. But the mother says ‘Don’t stop along the way!’. Well, that’s ominous – ‘ominous’ means a warning, and a sign in a fairytale, something bad is going to happen here!

So LRRH goes though the forest, happily, picking flowers for grandmother as she goes. But...of course, in the story there is a wolf. Now a wolf, W-O-L-F is an animal. Wolves, notice the plural is different, W-O-L-V-E-S. Wolves used to be wild, all over Europe, but they’re pretty rare nowadays. You’ll find them in Canada though. So basically, it’s the animal that all dogs are descended from. Wolves are fierce and they will eat you, if they get chance. But they’re also very beautiful. Of course, the wolf in a fairy tale is always the bad guy. The wolf in a fairy tale is the symbol of all that is bad. Sometimes in a fairy tale it’s a fox that’s the bad guy, but more often a wolf. So the wolf starts a conversation with LRRH, and he’s usually quite charming and polite on the surface, just to make him more frightening, more scary. ‘Good morning, my dear! And where are you going on this fine morning?!’ says the wolf. And so on. What happens next, is that the wolf finds out where LRRH is going – and he makes sure that he gets there first. He leaves LRRH in the wood and goes very quickly to the grandmother’s house. The story varies somewhat at this point – that means that there are different versions. In some, we find out later that he’s put grandmother into a cupboard. In other versions of the story, grandmother manages to hide under the bed. In the older versions of the story, certainly the ones I was told, when I was a little girl - the wolf has eaten grandmother. And by the time LRRH arrives at grandmother’s cottage, she’s already INSIDE the wolf! But because it’s a children’s story, grandmother isn’t dead – somehow she survives this! The Grimm Brothers, that’s G-R-I-M-M, the Grimm Brother’s versions of the fairy stories are usually a bit more horrifying, a bit more shocking like this!

So course, the wolf puts on grandmother’s bonnet. So a bonnet, B-O-N-N-E-T is another type of hat, that old ladies would have worn a long time ago. So another covering for your head. Great vocabulary for you in this Short Stories for ESL Students – remember ‘a hood’ is attached to your jacket and goes over your head and ‘a bonnet’ is what an old lady might wear! Anyway, the wolf also puts on grandmother’s glasses – her spectacles – the things she uses to be able to see. So LRRH arrives at grandmother’s house and comes to see her grandmother in the bedroom. Strangely, and because it’s a fairy story, LRRH doesn’t recognise that it’s the wolf lying in grandmother’s bed. But the conversation between them in the story is always the same. LRRH suspects something is wrong, something is not as it should be. ‘What big eyes you have grandmother!’ says LRRH. And the wolf replies ‘All the better to see you with!’. And then LRRH says ‘What big ears you have, grandmother!’ And the wolf says ‘All the better to hear you with!’. Then LRRH says ‘Grandmother, what big teeth you have!’ And it is at this point that the wolf reveals himself. ‘All the better to eat you with!’, says the wolf and he jumps out of bed and chases LRRH, clearly wanting to eat her.

Fun Short Stories For Esl Students Ep 240 Article Image

A photograph of a man holding a baby you cannot tell the gender of the baby. Used to help explain English grammar she, he and they.

A photograph of a man holding a baby you cannot tell the gender of the baby. Used to help explain English grammar she, he and they.

Now again, it is at this point in the story that there are different versions, some are more gory than others. ‘Gory’, G-O-R-Y is an adjective meaning ‘horrific, lots of blood, suggestive of violence’, like a nasty film. Basically LRRH is rescued by a woodcutter. So a woodcutter, years ago was a profession, a man, probably, whose job it was to look after forests and woodland. He’s a woodcutter, because part of his job would be to cut down trees, chop them up. I’m sure woodcutters still exist today, but they would be probably be called ‘foresters’ and their job would be to protect the woodland, to protect the environment, of course.

Anyway, in the story the woodcutter usually has an axe – that’s a tool for chopping down trees. An axe has a wooden handle and a metal blade to cut things. If you have a real fire to warm your house, then you may have an axe, which you use to chop up wood for your fire. An axe is spelt A-X-E. So the woodcutter kills the wolf with the axe and saves LRRH and usually her grandmother too. In older versions of the story, even if the grandmother has been eaten by the wolf, she is miraculously freed from inside him, completely unharmed, completely OK! Then as if all of that is completely normal, LRRH and the woodcutter and grandmother sit down and eat the food from the basket that LRRH has brought with her. So it’s nice that there’s a friendly woodcutter to save the situation – but surely LRRH and the grandmother might be a bit traumatised after all of that?

Learn to speak English audio lessons back catalogue bundle cover art.

In some ways, it’s a story which is very symbolic – the innocence of LRRH, the vulnerability of the grandmother and the badness and the cunning of the wolf – and the fact that there is a woodcutter to rescue the situation – he’s the ‘good guy’.

There’s a link in the transcript to a video and a slightly different version of ‘Little Red Riding Hood’ on YouTube. This one is read by someone with a British accent. So now you know the story, you could go and listen to this video and watch this video for extra practice.

Youtube Video Was Removed

Hope you enjoyed that, one of our Short Stories for ESL Students. Enough for now. Have a lovely day. Speak to you again soon. Goodbye.

PS: Classic British Humour

English humour is odd at the best of times. A particular group of comedians, called “Monty Python”, probably made our dry English wit and straight up bizarre enjoyment of slapstick humour world famous. I’ve included a video of Monty Python who did a sketch on the little red riding hood, which is so far removed from the actual story you would might get confused.

Now I definitely would not recommend using the video to learn from, it’s not appropriate learning material.

Although humour is fun and interesting to listen to, if you're an ESL student then be careful, as humour requires a lot of English knowledge which you can pull up quickly, so you can “Get the joke”. It’s often frustrating to ESL learners and probably not worth the effort.

If you have a few minutes to spare, it’s worth looking at though, who knows you might just get it and that would say a lot about how you are doing learning to speak English. Have fun.

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The 10 Best Short Moral Stories With Valuable Lessons

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Stories that have morals and messages behind them are always powerful. In fact, it’s crazy just how powerful a 200 word story can be.

Our last article of short stories became so popular, that we decided to create another list, in which every story has a simple moral behind it.

Table of Contents

The 10 Best Short Moral Stories

Some of these stories are very short and basic. In fact some are so basic they’re most likely featured in children’s books somewhere. However, the strength of the message remains the same.

Here’s some more of the best short moral stories:

1. An Old Man Lived in the Village

Short Moral Stories - An Old Man

An old man lived in the village. He was one of the most unfortunate people in the world. The whole village was tired of him; he was always gloomy, he constantly complained and was always in a bad mood.

The longer he lived, the more bile he was becoming and the more poisonous were his words. People avoided him, because his misfortune became contagious. It was even unnatural and insulting to be happy next to him.

He created the feeling of unhappiness in others.

But one day, when he turned eighty years old , an incredible thing happened. Instantly everyone started hearing the rumour:

“An Old Man is happy today, he doesn’t complain about anything, smiles, and even his face is freshened up.”

The whole village gathered together. The old man was asked:

Villager: What happened to you?

“Nothing special. Eighty years I’ve been chasing happiness, and it was useless. And then I decided to live without happiness and just enjoy life. That’s why I’m happy now.” – An Old Man

Moral of the story:

Don’t chase happiness. Enjoy your life.

2. The Wise Man

Short Moral Stories - The Wise Man

People have been coming to the wise man, complaining about the same problems every time. One day he told them a joke and everyone roared in laughter.

After a couple of minutes, he told them the same joke and only a few of them smiled.

When he told the same joke for the third time no one laughed anymore.

The wise man smiled and said:

“You can’t laugh at the same joke over and over. So why are you always crying about the same problem?”  

Worrying won’t solve your problems, it’ll just waste your time and energy.

3. The Foolish Donkey

Short Moral Stories - The Foolish Donkey

A salt seller used to carry the salt bag on his donkey to the market every day.

On the way they had to cross a stream. One day the donkey suddenly tumbled down the stream and the salt bag also fell into the water. The salt dissolved in the water and hence the bag became very light to carry. The donkey was happy.

Then the donkey started to play the same trick every day.

The salt seller came to understand the trick and decided to teach a lesson to it. The next day he loaded a cotton bag on the donkey.

Again it played the same trick hoping that the cotton bag would be still become lighter.

But the dampened cotton became very heavy to carry and the donkey suffered. It learnt a lesson. It didn’t play the trick anymore after that day, and the seller was happy.

Luck won’t favor always.

4. Having A Best Friend

Short Moral Stories - Having A Best Friend

A story tells that two friends were walking through the desert. During some point of the journey they had an argument, and one friend slapped the other one in the face.

The one who got slapped was hurt, but without saying anything, wrote in the sand;

“Today my best friend slapped me in the face.”

They kept on walking until they found an oasis, where they decided to take a bath. The one who had been slapped got stuck in the mire and started drowning, but the friend saved him. After he recovered from the near drowning, he wrote on a stone;

“Today my best friend saved my life.”

The friend who had slapped and saved his best friend asked him;

“After I hurt you, you wrote in the sand and now, you write on a stone, why?”

The other friend replied;

“When someone hurts us we should write it down in sand where winds of forgiveness can erase it away. But, when someone does something good for us, we must engrave it in stone where no wind can ever erase it.”  

Moral of the story: 

Don’t value the things you have in your life. But value who you have in your life.

5. The Four Smart Students

Short Moral Stories - The Four Smart Students

One night four college students were out partying late night and didn’t study for the test which was scheduled for the next day. In the morning, they thought of a plan.

They made themselves look dirty with grease and dirt.

Then they went to the Dean and said they had gone out to a wedding last night and on their way back the tire of their car burst and they had to push the car all the way back. So they were in no condition to take the test.

The Dean thought for a minute and said they can have the re-test after 3 days. They thanked him and said they will be ready by that time.

On the third day, they appeared before the Dean. The Dean said that as this was a Special Condition Test, all four were required to sit in separate classrooms for the test. They all agreed as they had prepared well in the last 3 days.

The Test consisted of only 2 questions with the total of 100 Points:

1) Your Name? __________ (1 Points)

2) Which tire burst? __________ (99 Points) Options – (a) Front Left (b) Front Right (c) Back Left (d) Back Right

Take responsibility or you will learn your lesson.

6. The Greedy Lion

Short Moral Stories - The Greedy Lion

It was an incredibly hot day, and a lion was feeling very hungry.

He came out of his den and searched here and there. He could find only a small hare. He caught the hare with some hesitation. “This hare can’t fill my stomach” thought the lion.

As the lion was about to kill the hare, a deer ran that way. The lion became greedy. He thought;

“Instead of eating this small hare, let me eat the big deer.”

He let the hare go and went behind the deer. But the deer had vanished into the forest. The lion now felt sorry for letting the hare off.

A bird in hand is worth two in the bush.

7. Two Friends & The Bear

Short Moral Stories - Two Friends & The Bear

Vijay and Raju were friends. On a holiday they went walking into a forest, enjoying the beauty of nature. Suddenly they saw a bear coming at them. They became frightened.

Raju, who knew all about climbing trees, ran up to a tree and climbed up quickly. He didn’t think of Vijay. Vijay had no idea how to climb the tree.

Vijay thought for a second. He’d heard animals don’t prefer dead bodies, so he fell to the ground and held his breath. The bear sniffed him and thought he was dead. So, it went on its way.

Raju asked Vijay;

“What did the bear whisper into your ears?”

Vijay replied, “The bear asked me to keep away from friends like you”  …and went on his way.

A friend in need is a friend indeed.

8. The Struggles of Our Life

Short Moral Stories - The Struggles of our Life

Once upon a time a daughter complained to her father that her life was miserable and that she didn’t know how she was going to make it.

She was tired of fighting and struggling all the time. It seemed just as one problem was solved, another one soon followed.

Her father, a chef, took her to the kitchen. He filled three pots with water and placed each on a high fire.

Once the three pots began to boil, he placed potatoes in one pot, eggs in the second pot and ground coffee beans in the third pot. He then let them sit and boil, without saying a word to his daughter.

The daughter, moaned and impatiently waited, wondering what he was doing. After twenty minutes he turned off the burners.

He took the potatoes out of the pot and placed them in a bowl. He pulled the eggs out and placed them in a bowl. He then ladled the coffee out and placed it in a cup.

Turning to her, he asked. “Daughter, what do you see?”

“Potatoes, eggs and coffee,” she hastily replied.

“Look closer”  he said, “and touch the potatoes.” She did and noted that they were soft.

He then asked her to take an egg and break it. After pulling off the shell, she observed the hard-boiled egg.

Finally, he asked her to sip the coffee. Its rich aroma brought a smile to her face.

“Father, what does this mean?” she asked.

He then explained that the potatoes, the eggs and coffee beans had each faced the same adversity-the boiling water. However, each one reacted differently. The potato went in strong, hard and unrelenting, but in boiling water, it became soft and weak.

The egg was fragile, with the thin outer shell protecting its liquid interior until it was put in the boiling water. Then the inside of the egg became hard.

However, the ground coffee beans were unique. After they were exposed to the boiling water, they changed the water and created something new.

“Which one are you?” he asked his daughter.

“When adversity knocks on your door, how do you respond? Are you a potato, an egg, or a coffee bean?”

In life, things happen around us, things happen to us, but the only thing that truly matters is how you choose to react to it and what you make out of it. Life is all about leaning, adopting and converting all the struggles that we experience into something positive.

9. The Fox & The Grapes

Short Moral Stories - The Fox & The Grapes

One afternoon a fox was walking through the forest and spotted a bunch of grapes hanging from over a lofty branch.

“Just the thing to quench my thirst,” he thought.

Taking a few steps back, the fox jumped and just missed the hanging grapes. Again the fox took a few paces back and tried to reach them but still failed.

Finally, giving up, the fox turned up his nose and said, “They’re probably sour anyway,” and proceeded to walk away.

Moral of the story:  

It’s easy to despise what you can’t have.

10. The Lion & The Poor Slave

Short Moral Stories - The Lion & The Poor Slave

A slave, ill-treated by his master, runs away to the forest. There he comes across a lion in pain because of a thorn in his paw. The slave bravely goes forward and removes the thorn gently.

The lion without hurting him goes away.

Some days later, the slave’s master comes hunting to the forest and catches many animals and cages them. The slave is spotted by the masters’ men who catch him and bring him to the cruel master.

The master asks for the slave to be thrown into the lion’s cage.

The slave is awaiting his death in the cage when he realizes that it is the same lion that he had helped. The slave rescued the lion and all other caged animals.

One should help others in need, we get the rewards of our helpful acts in return.

Here’s a quick recap on the 10 best short moral stories:

  • An old man lived in the village
  • The wise man
  • The foolish donkey
  • Having a best friend
  • The four smart students
  • The greedy lion
  • The two friends & the bear
  • The struggles of our life
  • The fox & the grapes
  • The lion & the poor slave

If you haven’t seen our original article, with slightly more detailed inspirational short stories , check it out!

Do you have any other favorite short moral stories? Leave a comment below.

The 10 best motivational speakers in the world.

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Dan Western is the founder of Wealthy Gorilla . Dan has been running Wealthy Gorilla and studying self-development, personal finance, and investment for the last 7 years. To this day, Wealthy Gorilla has become one of the fastest growing wealth infotainment sites in the world; with over 300 million views worldwide. Dan doesn't use personal social media anymore, so you won't be able to find him on Instagram, or Twitter.


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Apr 7, 2019 at 12:40 pm

An old man lived in the village is a wonderful story. I like it very much. thanks

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Jun 14, 2019 at 11:20 am

The foolish donkey is wonderful and all stories good but i like it

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Jul 17, 2019 at 3:03 pm

I really enjoyed your entire list but my favorite of this list is the one about the egg, potatoe, and coffee. Awesome story that is very impactful.

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Nov 22, 2019 at 2:36 am

Foolish donkey this story I like that and I have learn something from these stories thanks uploaded on net its was so inspection stories to people’s

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Dec 13, 2019 at 2:08 pm

I like the story an old man lived in the village thank you for giving this type of story

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Aqsa farhat

Feb 29, 2020 at 10:54 am

All the stories were nice and these stories reminds me about my childhood thank you for making such meaningful stories

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Pattada praveen kumar

Apr 14, 2020 at 9:57 am

The fox & the grapes its really everyone thinking like

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Bhim Maya subba

Nov 13, 2020 at 1:55 pm

Mine is about ( The blind girl ). Since I have read that book before but I am very glad that I got another chance to read that same book. Actually this story is one of my favorite of all time.

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Ramel Sasuke Sampang

Nov 14, 2020 at 5:31 am

My favorite is the potato, egg, and coffee beans! It will help me with future problems. 😀

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Marry Walker

Nov 20, 2020 at 12:40 pm

Being a writer, I love to read stories and books. And this blog includes the best short moral stories. I like these all stories and i will share it definitely. Keep writing!

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The Best Motivational Speakers in the World

Who are the best motivational speakers of all time?

Motivational speakers have had an enormous impact on my life, and millions of others, no matter what their personal situation in life may be.

Their words are so powerful and inspirational, you just have to listen to their stuff on a daily basis. So it brings me to this post.

I’ve been enjoying a lot of motivational videos recently, have been creating my own, and have ended up listening to a lot of wonderful speeches.

Top 10 Best Motivational Speakers

But who are the best motivational speakers in the world?

Here’s my list of the top 10 motivational speakers in the world.

These are the people you need to be following, listening to and watching on YouTube. They have transformed many people’s lives including mine.

10. Nick Vujicic

Nick Vujicic - Best Motivational Speakers in the World

Nick Vujicic was born on December 4th 1982 in Melbourne, Australia. Vujicic was born with Tetra-Amelia syndrome, a very rare disorder whereby someone is born with an absence of all four limbs.

This no doubt ably, made things incredibly tough for Nick growing up, as he struggled both mentally and physically.

It led to him founding his very own non-profit organization called ‘Life Without Limbs’ . Nick Vujicic is a true inspiration to us all, and if you’ve watched some of his motivational speeches on YouTube, you’ll realize just how much he’s been able to adapt to a life without limbs.

Many people with this disorder might not be willing to work hard in order to truly push their abilities.

He can type 43 words a minute on a computer. That’s right, you heard me correctly. This is a guy who has an absence of all four limbs, but can type 43 words per minute on a computer.

I encourage you to watch some of his videos on YouTube, and see exactly what I’m talking about.

“It’s a lie to think you’re not good enough. It’s a lie to think you’re not worth anything.” – nick Vujicic

9. Brian Tracy

Brian Tracy - Best Motivational Speakers in the World

Brian Tracy was born on January 5th 1944 in Vancouver, Canada, and is the CEO of Brian Tracy International , a company that specifically sets out to help individuals and organizations develop, train and grow.

Brian’s ultimate goal is to help other people achieve their goals more efficiently and be able to achieve their full potential.

That definitely sets the foundation for being one of the best motivational speakers in the world.

His lifetime achievements are phenomenal, consulting huge numbers of businesses, hosting huge numbers of seminars and conducting  years and years of research in Business, Economics, Psychology and Philosophy.

There’s no more to say other than the title given on his website: Professional Speaker, Best Selling Author, Entrepreneur and Success Expert. Check out some of the best Brian Tracy quotes .

“No one lives long enough to learn everything they need to learn starting from scratch. To be successful, we absolutely, positively have to find people who have already paid the price to learn the things that we need to learn to achieve our goals.” – Brian Tracy

8. Robin Sharma

Robin Sharma - Best Motivational Speakers in the World

Robin Sharma was born in 1964 in Nepal, and straight out of the Dalhousie University School of Law, became a professional lawyer. But he went much further in his career than being a fully qualified and successful lawyer.

Sharma has written a total of 15 published books, from 1995 – 2011, on the subjects of self-help and leadership. One of his most popular books written; ‘The Monk Who Sold his Ferrari’ , has sold over 5 million copies worldwide.

The book is all about a character called Julian, who decides to sell his home and Ferrari to go on a spiritual journey, after being the victim to a sudden heart attack.

Some may say that Robin Sharma’s more of a motivational author rather than speaker, but he deserves to be on this list. He’s written 12 global best sellers, and is an expert author in the world of leadership and self development.

“Dreamers are mocked as impractical. The truth is they are the most practical, as their innovations lead to progress and a better way of life for all of us.” –  Robin S. Sharma

7. Wayne Dyer

Dr. Wayne Dyer - Best Motivational Speakers in the World

Dr. Wayne Dyer was born on May 10th 1940 in Detroit, and spent the majority of his childhood in an orphanage.

Dyer was in the U.S Navy after graduating high school, from 1958 to 1962. He then received his degree in counselling, a profession that he chose to work in for a while before taking it one step further.

Dyer left his teaching job and started pursuing a career in motivational speaking, holding various lectures across the states and becoming an incredibly popular author.

The first book that Dyer ever wrote has now had over 35 million copies sold and he’s proceeded to continue with his lecture tours, release various audio tapes and publish a regular stream of books .

“Passion is a feeling that tells you: this is the right thing to do. Nothing can stand in my way. It doesn’t matter what anyone else says. This feeling is so good that it cannot be ignored. I’m going to follow my bliss and act upon this glorious sensation of joy.” –  Wayne Dyer

6. Zig Ziglar

Zig Ziglar - Best Motivational Speakers in the World

Zig Ziglar was born on November 6th, 1926 in Alabama, and passed away on November 28th in 2012.

Ziglar has 11 siblings, and at the age of five years old, his father died of a stroke, and his sister passed away two days later. Zig actually served in the army from 1935 – 1946 during World War II.

Ziglar met his wife Jean when he was just 17 years old, and after the war began to work as a salesman for many different companies, eventually becoming the vice president for the Automotive Performance company .

He started taking part in motivational seminars, and also wrote his first book in 1975 titled: ‘See You at the Top’ . This was the first of at least 15 books he’d written during the period of 1975 and 2012.

A lot of wisdom has come from Zig Ziglar over the years and he is definitely one of the best motivational speakers in the world.

“You were designed for accomplishment, engineered for success, and endowed with the seeds of greatness.” – Zig Ziglar

5. Arnold Schwarzenegger

Arnold Schwarzenegger - Best Motivational Speakers in the World

Arnold Schwarzenegger was born on July 30th 1947, in Austria. We all know him as the world famous professional bodybuilding champion, and there’s a very inspirational story behind Arnie’s bodybuilding success.

Schwarzenegger served in the Austrian army at the age of 18 years old for 1 year, which at the time was compulsory for all 18-year-old males.

During this time, he would still manage to fit in his workouts between all the training and drills, whilst most people were resting. He snuck out of the camp to compete in the Junior Mr. Europe contest , which he ended up winning.

Arnold’s discipline towards his training was incredible, and the fact that he was willing to disobey the rules of the army and sneak out of the camp to compete in the contest, just goes to show how badly he wanted it.

Nowadays, he’s an inspiration to many bodybuilders and a great source of motivation for anyone wanting to be successful.

“For me life is continuously being hungry. The meaning of life is not simply to exist, to survive, but to move ahead, to go up, to achieve, to conquer.” – Arnold Schwarzenegger

4. Jim Rohn

Jim Rohn - Best Motivational Speakers in the World

Jim Rohn was born September 17th, 1930 in Yakima, Washington, and passed away on December 5th, 2009. He was a very successful entrepreneur, at one time being a Vice President of a very successful sales company, Nutri-Bio.

However, after the company eventually went out of business, he was invited to speak at a meeting of one of his clubs.

After this meeting, he was invited to speak at many other events and began making a name for himself. Rohn was a wise businessman and managed to impart much of this wisdom to others.

He’s definitely earned the right to be on this list of the best motivational speakers in the world.

“If you don’t design your own life plan, chances are you’ll fall into someone else’s plan. And guess what they have planned for you? Not much.” – Jim Rohn

3. Les Brown

Les Brown - Best Motivational Speakers in the World

Les Brown was born on February 17th, 1945 in Miami, Florida. He was adopted by Mamie Brown, and whilst in grade school, was declared “educably mentally retarded” .

Despite this and the emotional issues, it brought upon him; he was encouraged by others to continue to learn and be the best he could be. Leading him to unlock his full potential.

Les is another motivational speaker who is incredibly popular among the motivational video compilations that others create. Because his speeches are so deep and meaningful that they really get through to people.

His top-selling books: ‘It’s Not over until You Win!’  and ‘Live Your Dreams’ are truly inspirational and well worth the read.

“When life knocks you down, try to land on your back. Because if you can look up, you can get up. Let your reason get you back up.” – Les Brown

2. Tony Robbins

Tony Robbins - Best Motivational Speakers in the World

Tony Robbins was born on February 29th, 1960 in Los Angeles. His life at home when he was young was described by him as abusive and chaotic. It was because of this that he left home at the age of 17.

Originally when starting out in the world of motivational speaking, Robbins was promoting seminars for Jim Rohn. He later decided to begin his own journey by hosting his own seminars.

Tony has affected and changed so many people’s lives in a positive way through his seminars, motivational speeches, inspirational quotes and best-selling books.

Search for him on YouTube and several videos will pop up showing him change someone’s life.

The favorites of mine that I’ve watched, are where he cures a young man’s stutter in 7 minutes and saves another guy’s marriage in 8.

“One reason so few of us achieve what we truly want is that we never direct our focus; we never concentrate our power. Most people dabble their way through life, never deciding to master anything in particular.” – Tony Robbins

1. Eric Thomas

Eric Thomas - Best Motivational Speakers in the World

Eric Thomas, born and raised in Detroit, was homeless at the age of 16 years old. But Eric decided that he wanted to make a better life for himself, to become someone with a life he could be proud of.

E.T did just that, and you can now check out powerful advice from Eric Thomas on YouTube. Including his “Thank God It’s Monday” series.

He also managed to get the education he missed out on whilst he was homeless and pushed himself further to achieve all the qualifications he dreamed of being able to achieve.

Eric Thomas has become one of the best motivational speakers in the world. His YouTube videos are legendary and his best-selling books have taken in millions of dollars in revenue.

E.T’s speeches are so popular, that you’ll find he’s featured in roughly 90% of the motivational videos that others create and upload to YouTube, using compilations of clips, speeches, and music.

“When you want to succeed as bad as you want to breathe, then you’ll be successful.” – Eric Thomas

I hope you enjoyed this list of the top 10 best motivational speakers in the world. Many of these speakers are featured within some of the videos we included in our new list of ultimate gym motivation . Take a look and see what you think.

Here’s a quick recap on the list of the best motivational speakers in the world::

  • Eric Thomas
  • Tony Robbins
  • Arnold Schwarzenegger
  • Dr. Wayne Dyer
  • Robin Sharma
  • Brian Tracy
  • Nick Vujicic

Who’s your favorite of the 10 best motivational speakers? Do you still agree with the current order of this list? Leave a comment below.

The 10 Most Inspirational Short Stories I’ve Heard

Top 10 Most Inspirational Short Stories I’ve Heard

Short Inspirational stories are powerful reads;

The great thing about them is that they’re so easy to digest, and there’s always a moral at the end of the story.

Whether they’re true stories or not is another thing, as many of them are legends supposedly hundreds of years old.

However, the stories that I’m talking about are so powerful and inspirational that many of them really do get you thinking and even leave you speechless at times.

The 10 Best Inspirational Short Stories

I’ve been reading plenty of these short stories in the past couple of weeks and found the lessons behind them truly wonderful. So I’ve decided to write out this article highlighting the 10 most inspirational short stories I’ve heard.

Next to the subheadings, in brackets, I’ve put what the story’s lesson is all about, with a short description of the moral of the story at the end of each section.

10. The Elephant Rope (Belief)

The Elephant Rope (Inspirational Short Stories)

A gentleman was walking through an elephant camp, and he spotted that the elephants weren’t being kept in cages or held by the use of chains.

All that was holding them back from escaping the camp, was a small piece of rope tied to one of their legs.

As the man gazed upon the elephants, he was completely confused as to why the elephants didn’t just use their strength to break the rope and escape the camp. They could easily have done so, but instead, they didn’t try to at all.

Curious and wanting to know the answer, he asked a trainer nearby why the elephants were just standing there and never tried to escape.

The trainer replied;

“when they are very young and much smaller we use the same size rope to tie them and, at that age, it’s enough to hold them. As they grow up, they are conditioned to believe they cannot break away. They believe the rope can still hold them, so they never try to break free.”

The only reason that the elephants weren’t breaking free and escaping from the camp was that over time they adopted the belief that it just wasn’t possible.

No matter how much the world tries to hold you back, always continue with the belief that what you want to achieve is possible. Believing you can become successful is the most important step in actually achieving it.

9. Thinking Out of the Box (Creative Thinking)

Thinking Out of the Box (Inspirational Short Stories)

In a small Italian town, hundreds of years ago, a small business owner owed a large sum of money to a loan-shark. The loan-shark was a very old, unattractive looking guy that just so happened to fancy the business owner’s daughter.

He decided to offer the businessman a deal that would completely wipe out the debt he owed him. However, the catch was that we would only wipe out the debt if he could marry the businessman’s daughter.

Needless to say, this proposal was met with a look of disgust.

The loan-shark said that he would place two pebbles into a bag, one white and one black.

The daughter would then have to reach into the bag and pick out a pebble. If it was black, the debt would be wiped, but the loan-shark would then marry her. If it was white, the debt would also be wiped, but the daughter wouldn’t have to marry the loan-shark.

Standing on a pebble-strewn path in the businessman’s garden, the loan-shark bent over and picked up two pebbles.

Whilst he was picking them up, the daughter noticed that he’d picked up two black pebbles and placed them both into the bag.

He then asked the daughter to reach into the bag and pick one.

The daughter naturally had three choices as to what she could have done:

  • Refuse to pick a pebble from the bag.
  • Take both pebbles out of the bag and expose the loan-shark for cheating.
  • Pick a pebble from the bag fully well knowing it was black and sacrifice herself for her father’s freedom.

She drew out a pebble from the bag, and before looking at it ‘accidentally’ dropped it into the midst of the other pebbles. She said to the loan-shark;

“Oh, how clumsy of me. Never mind, if you look into the bag for the one that is left, you will be able to tell which pebble I picked.”

The pebble left in the bag is obviously black, and seeing as the loan-shark didn’t want to be exposed, he had to play along as if the pebble the daughter dropped was white, and clear her father’s debt.

It’s always possible to overcome a tough situation throughout of the box thinking, and not give in to the only options you think you have to pick from.

8. The Group of Frogs (Encouragement)

The Group of Frogs (Inspirational Short Stories)

As a group of frogs was traveling through the woods, two of them fell into a deep pit. When the other frogs crowded around the pit and saw how deep it was, they told the two frogs that there was no hope left for them.

However, the two frogs decided to ignore what the others were saying and they proceeded to try and jump out of the pit . 

Despite their efforts, the group of frogs at the top of the pit were still saying that they should just give up. That they would never make it out.

Eventually, one of the frogs took heed to what the others were saying and he gave up, falling down to his death. The other frog continued to jump as hard as he could. Again, the crowd of frogs yelled at him to stop the pain and just die.

He jumped even harder and finally made it out. When he got out, the other frogs said, “Did you not hear us?”

The frog explained to them that he was deaf. He thought they were encouraging him the entire time.

People’s words can have a big effect on other’s lives. Think about what you say before it comes out of your mouth. It might just be the difference between life and death.

7. A Pound of Butter (Honesty)

A Pound of Butter (Inspirational Short Stories)

There was a farmer who sold a pound of butter to a baker. One day the baker decided to weigh the butter to see if he was getting the right amount, which he wasn’t. Angry about this, he took the farmer to court.

The judge asked the farmer if he was using any measure to weight the butter. The farmer replied, “Honor, I am primitive. I don’t have a proper measure, but I do have a scale.”

The judge asked, “Then how do you weigh the butter?”

The farmer replied;

“Your Honor, long before the baker started buying butter from me, I have been buying a pound loaf of bread from him. Every day when the baker brings the bread, I put it on the scale and give him the same weight in butter. If anyone is to be blamed, it is the baker.”

In life, you get what you give. Don’t try and cheat others.

6. The Obstacle In Our Path (Opportunity)

The Obstacle in Our Path (Inspirational Short Stories)

In ancient times, a King had a boulder placed on a roadway. He then hid himself and watched to see if anyone would move the boulder out of the way. Some of the king’s wealthiest merchants and courtiers came by and simply walked around it.

Many people loudly blamed the King for not keeping the roads clear, but none of them did anything about getting the stone out of the way.

A peasant then came along carrying a load of vegetables. Upon approaching the boulder, the peasant laid down his burden and tried to push the stone out of the road. After much pushing and straining, he finally succeeded.

After the peasant went back to pick up his vegetables, he noticed a purse lying in the road where the boulder had been.

The purse contained many gold coins and a note from the King explaining that the gold was for the person who removed the boulder from the roadway.

Every obstacle we come across in life gives us an opportunity to improve our circumstances , and whilst the lazy complain, the others are creating opportunities through their kind hearts, generosity, and willingness to get things done.

5. The Butterfly (Struggles)

The Butterfly (Inspirational Short Stories)

A man found a cocoon of a butterfly.

One day a small opening appeared. He sat and watched the butterfly for several hours as it struggled to force its body through that little hole.

Until it suddenly stopped making any progress and looked like it was stuck.

So the man decided to help the butterfly. He took a pair of scissors and snipped off the remaining bit of the cocoon. The butterfly then emerged easily, although it had a swollen body and small, shriveled wings.

The man didn’t think anything of it and sat there waiting for the wings to enlarge to support the butterfly. But that didn’t happen. The butterfly spent the rest of its life unable to fly, crawling around with tiny wings and a swollen body.

Despite the kind heart of the man , he didn’t understand that the restricting cocoon and the struggle needed by the butterfly to get itself through the small opening; were God’s way of forcing fluid from the body of the butterfly into its wings. To prepare itself for flying once it was out of the cocoon.

Our struggles in life develop our strengths . Without struggles, we never grow and never get stronger, so it’s important for us to tackle challenges on our own, and not be relying on help from others.

4. Control Your Temper (Anger)

Control Your Temper (Inspirational Short Stories)

There once was a little boy who had a very bad temper. His father decided to hand him a bag of nails and said that every time the boy lost his temper, he had to hammer a nail into the fence.

On the first day, the boy hammered 37 nails into that fence.

The boy gradually began to control his temper over the next few weeks, and the number of nails he was hammering into the fence slowly decreased.

He discovered it was easier to control his temper than to hammer those nails into the fence.

Finally, the day came when the boy didn’t lose his temper at all. He told his father the news and the father suggested that the boy should now pull out a nail every day he kept his temper under control.

The days passed and the young boy was finally able to tell his father that all the nails were gone. The father took his son by the hand and led him to the fence.

“you have done well, my son, but look at the holes in the fence. The fence will never be the same. When you say things in anger, they leave a scar just like this one. You can put a knife in a man and draw it out. It won’t matter how many times you say I’m sorry, the wound is still there.”

Control your anger, and don’t say things to people in the heat of the moment, that you may later regret . Some things in life, you are unable to take back.

3. The Blind Girl (Change)

The Blind Girl (Inspirational Short Stories)

There was a blind girl who hated herself purely for the fact she was blind. The only person she didn’t hate was her loving boyfriend, as he was always there for her. She said that if she could only see the world, she would marry him.

One day, someone donated a pair of eyes to her – now she could see everything , including her boyfriend. Her boyfriend asked her, “now that you can see the world, will you marry me?”

The girl was shocked when she saw that her boyfriend was blind too, and refused to marry him. Her boyfriend walked away in tears, and later wrote a letter to her saying:

“Just take care of my eyes dear.”

When our circumstances change, so does our mind. Some people may not be able to see the way things were before, and might not be able to appreciate them . There are many things to take away from this story, not just one.

This is one of the inspirational short stories that left me speechless.

2. Puppies for Sale (Understanding)

Puppies for Sale (Inspirational Short Stories)

A shop owner placed a sign above his door that said: “Puppies For Sale.”

Signs like this always have a way of attracting young children, and to no surprise, a boy saw the sign and approached the owner; 

“How much are you going to sell the puppies for?” he asked.  

The store owner replied, “Anywhere from $30 to $50.”

The little boy pulled out some change from his pocket. “I have $2.37,” he said. “Can I please look at them?”

The shop owner smiled and whistled. Out of the kennel came Lady, who ran down the aisle of his shop followed by five teeny, tiny balls of fur.

One puppy was lagging considerably behind. Immediately the little boy singled out the lagging, limping puppy and said, “What’s wrong with that little dog?”

The shop owner explained that the veterinarian had examined the little puppy and had discovered it didn’t have a hip socket. It would always limp. It would always be lame.

The little boy became excited. “That is the puppy that I want to buy.”

The shop owner said, “No, you don’t want to buy that little dog. If you really want him, I’ll just give him to you.”

The little boy got quite upset. He looked straight into the store owner’s eyes, pointing his finger, and said;

“I don’t want you to give him to me. That little dog is worth every bit as much as all the other dogs and I’ll pay full price. In fact, I’ll give you $2.37 now, and 50 cents a month until I have him paid for.”

The shop owner countered, “You really don’t want to buy this little dog. He is never going to be able to run and jump and play with you like the other puppies.”

To his surprise, the little boy reached down and rolled up his pant leg to reveal a badly twisted, crippled left leg supported by a big metal brace. He looked up at the shop owner and softly replied, “Well, I don’t run so well myself, and the little puppy will need someone who understands!”

1. Box Full of Kisses (Love)

Box Full of Kisses (Inspirational Short Stories)

Some time ago, a man punished his 3-year-old daughter for wasting a roll of gold wrapping paper. Money was tight and he became infuriated when the child tried to decorate a box to put under the Christmas tree.

Nevertheless, the little girl brought the gift to her father the next morning and said, “This is for you, Daddy.”

The man became embarrassed by his overreaction earlier, but his rage continue when he saw that the box was empty. He yelled at her; “Don’t you know, when you give someone a present, there is supposed to be something inside?”

The little girl looked up at him with tears in her eyes and cried;

“Oh, Daddy, it’s not empty at all. I blew kisses into the box. They’re all for you, Daddy.”

The father was crushed. He put his arms around his little girl, and he begged for her forgiveness.

Only a short time later, an accident took the life of the child.

Her father kept the gold box by his bed for many years and, whenever he was discouraged, he would take out an imaginary kiss and remember the love of the child who had put it there.

Love is the most precious gift in the world.

Summary of the 10 Best Inspirational Stories

Here’s a quick summary of the 10 best short inspirational stories:

  • Box Full of Kisses (Love)
  • Puppies for Sale (Understanding)
  • The Blind Girl (Change)
  • Control Your Temper (Anger)
  • The Butterfly (Struggles)
  • The Obstacle in Our Path (Opportunity)
  • A Pound of Butter (Honesty)
  • The Group of Frogs (Encouragement)
  • Thinking Out of the Box (Creative Thinking)
  • The Elephant Rope (Belief)

Thanks for reading these inspirational short stories. Some of them left me speechless for a minute or two, and it really does make us think.

If you know of any other inspirational short stories that you think should be featured on the list, then let me know in the comments below or drop me an email and I’ll feature them in part two later on in the year.

Which are your favorite inspirational short stories? Leave a comment below.

Top 20 best personal development authors of all time.

Top 20 Best Personal Development Authors of All Time

Ever wanted to start reading self-development books, but you’re not sure who the best personal development authors to follow are?

You’re in luck…

I’m about to give you the names of what I believe to be the top 20 best self-development authors to be reading up on. These are names to remember when you’re looking for your next book to buy.

Top 20 Best Personal Development Authors

Here are, in no particular order, the names of the 20 best authors to start reading up on. I would have loved to include a few other names on this list, but the top 20 is what it is!

1. Jack Canfield

38 Jack Canfield Quotes (Chicken Soup for the Soul)

Jack Canfield is the legend behind the ‘Chicken Soup for the Soul’ series; one of the most popular self-development book series of all time.

Over 250+ books have been published by the company, and Canfield has gone on to become a leading motivational speaker and trainer.

2. Napoleon Hill

The 35 Most Notorious Napoleon Hill Quotes

Napoleon Hill is the author behind the notorious ‘Think & Grow Rich’, one of the most popular self-development books of all time.

Hill teaches the principles of attaining any riches you desire in life, and there is so much valuable information within this book, that it’ll always be remembered.

3. Dale Carnegie

55 Powerful Dale Carnegie Quotes to Live By

Another self-development author you have to check out, and one you’ve probably already heard of, is Dale Carnegie. Carnegie lived from 1888 to 1955, and within his life, published a considerable number of self-help books.

Two of those books, specifically the best selling ones, were ‘How to Win Friends & Influence People’ and ‘How to Stop Worrying & Start Living’.

4. Robert B. Cialdini

58 Wisdom Filled Robert B. Cialdini Quotes

You probably know Cialdini as the author of ‘Influence: The Psychology of Persuasion’. This book is highly regarded as one of the best self-development books of all time, as well as one of the best psychology books to read.

5. Tim Ferriss

36 Tim Ferriss Quotes That Truly Inspire

If you’re not following Tim Ferriss , I don’t know what you’re doing. There are four best selling books that every Tim Ferriss fan will have read, and they’ve helped change the lives of millions.

Those four books are:

  • The Four Hour Work Week
  • The Four Hour Body
  • Tools For Titans
  • Tribe of Mentors

6. Dr. Wayne Dyer

Dr. Wayne Dyer Quotes in Remembrance of His Life

Sadly, Wayne Dyer passed away several years ago. He was an American philosopher, self-help author and motivational speaker. Dyer wrote over 40 books in the field of personal development, and they have sold in tens of millions.

7. John C. Maxwell

50 John C. Maxwell Quotes on Leadership & Growth

John Maxwell is an American author, speaker and pastor. He focuses solely on leadership, and training other to become wise and wonderful leaders.

Maxwell has written a ton of incredible books, however these are some the most popular books he’s written:

  • The 21 Irrefutable Laws of Leadership
  • Developing The Leader Within You
  • The 15 Invaluable Laws of Growth
  • How Successful People Think
  • Failing Forward

8. Tony Robbins

Tony Robbins , what a guy! Tony has helped people all over the world to transform their lives, and there’s so much wisdom we can all gain from listening to his speeches, and reading his content.

If you want to learn more about Tony Robbins and his work, you can check out these books:

  • Awaken the Giant Within
  • Unlimited Power
  • Unshakeable

9. Paulo Coelho

You probably know Paulo Coelho for his best selling book, ‘The Alchemist’. Coelho is a best selling author, lyricist and novelist, and has received many awards for his work over the years.

The Alchemist is definitely a book you should read if you’re an ambitious individual trying to pursue your dreams and overcome any obstacles in your way.

10. Deepak Chopra

Deepak Chopra - Best Personal Development Authors

Deepak Chopra is an American author, public speaker, alternative medicine advocate, and a prominent figure in the New Age movement.

Chopra has become one of the most influential figures in the area of spiritual healing and alternative medicine. Some of his best selling books you should be adding to your reading list are:

  • Re-inventing the Body, Resurrecting the Soul
  • Creating Affluence
  • The Seven Spiritual Laws of Success

11. Peter F. Drucker

Peter Drucker - Best Personal Development Authors

Peter Drucker was an Austrian-born American management consultant, educator, and author, whose writings contributed to the philosophical and practical foundations of the modern business corporation.

You probably know him as the author behind ‘Managing Oneself’, and if you don’t, then you should.

12. Martha Beck

Martha Beck - Best Personal Development Authors

Martha Nibley Beck is an American sociologist, life coach, best-selling author, and speaker who travels the world helping people achieve personal and professional goals.

Some of Martha’s most popular books are:

  • Finding Your Own North Star
  • Find Your Way In A Wild New World
  • The 4-Day Win

13. Stephen R. Covey

Stephen Covey - Best Personal Development Authors

I first encountered Stephen Covey’s work when I purchased ‘The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People’, which at the time had sold over 15 million copies!

Covey was an American educator, speaker and author. He sadly passed away 5 years ago, but his work has lived on to be some of the best reading material anybody could ever purchase.

14. Brian Tracy

Brian Tracy is a Canadian-born American motivational public speaker and self-development author. He is the author of over 70 books that have been translated into dozens of languages.

Some of his most notorious books are:

  • No Excuses: The Power of Discipline
  • Eat That Frog!

15. Les Brown

Les Brown is one of my favorite motivational speakers of all time. Les was labelled educable mentally retarded when he was younger, and was born on the floor of an abandoned building.

Some of his most popular and best selling books are ‘Live Your Dreams’ and ‘It’s Not Over Until You Win’.

16. Jim Rohn

Emanuel James “Jim” Rohn was an American entrepreneur, author and motivational speaker. He was responsible for changing many people’s lives, and even mentored Tony Robbins once upon a time.

These are some of the most popular self-development books by Jim Rohn:

  • 7 Strategies for Wealth & Happiness
  • My Philosophy for Successful Living
  • The Keys to Success

17. Gary Keller

Gary Keller - Best Personal Development Authors

Gary Keller is an American entrepreneur and best-selling author. He is the founder of Keller Williams Realty International, which is the largest real estate company in the world by agent count.

You’ve probably heard Keller’s name come up when people talk about ‘The ONE Thing’, his best selling self-help book.

18. Gabrielle Bernstein

Gabrielle Bernstein - Best Personal Development Authors

Gabrielle Bernstein is an American motivational speaker, life coach, and author. Bernstein teaches primarily from the metaphysical text A Course In Miracles.

Some of here most popular books are:

  • Miracles Now
  • Spirit Junkie
  • May Cause Miracles
  • The Universe Has Your Back

19. Brendan Burchard

Brendan Burchard - Best Personal Development Authors

Brendon Burchard is an American author on motivation and the use of digital and affiliate marketing to sell “info products” based on whatever expertise a person has.

He is most commonly known for his book: The Motivation Manifesto, however he has written several other useful and recommended books on the subject of motivation, such as:

  • The Millionaire Messenger
  • Life’s Golden Ticket

20. Joel Osteen

50 Encouraging & Motivating Joel Osteen Quotes

Joel Scott Osteen is an American preacher and televangelist. He is the Senior Pastor of Lakewood Church, in Houston, Texas. Osteen’s televised sermons are seen by over 7 million viewers weekly and over 20 million monthly in over 100 countries.

Some of his most popular books are:

  • Think Better, Live Better Study Guide
  • The Power of I Am
  • Fresh Start

That concludes the list of the best personal development authors of all time:

  • Jack Canfield
  • Napoleon Hill
  • Dale Carnegie
  • Robert B. Cialdini
  • John C. Maxwell
  • Anthony Robbins
  • Paulo Coelho
  • Deepak Chopra
  • Peter F. Drucker
  • Martha Beck
  • Stephen R. Covey
  • Gary Keller
  • Gabrielle Bernstein
  • Brendan Burchard
  • Joel Osteen

Who are your favorite personal development authors? Leave a comment below.

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Top 10 Most Inspirational Short Stories I’ve Heard

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The Integrated Teacher

8 Standout Short Stories With Moral Lessons

Nov 22, 2023

Sometimes, I want a short story to simply be a moment of escape. I don’t want to experience an important life lesson; I just want to be entertained like in Shirley Jackson’s “The Lottery” or Edgar Allan Poe’s “The Tell-Tale Heart.” Other times, however, I want to soak in short stories with moral ideals!

A moral, or theme, teaches us something about ourselves and others. We get to learn and grow in some tangible way, and stories that provide this offering are necessary in the literary canon.

Keep reading below for 8 Standout Short Stories With Moral Lessons that you can use in ANY secondary classroom!

Need help with Reading Test Prep? Check out this  FREE Pack of 3 Test Prep Activities  to help students achieve success on standardized tests!


Table of Contents

A moral, for all intended purposes, is another word for THEME. A theme is the message of a text. Because it is a message, it MUST be written in a complete sentence and contain a connection to a topic or idea from the text. A simple phrase is not quite enough for a thematic statement .

Developing themes for short stories with moral lessons would be a fantastic focus while reading any of the texts below!

1. “To Build a Fire” by Jack London

I love “To Build a Fire” so much! It mirrors my own life in so many ways, which is why it is one of my favorite short stories with moral lessons!

The protagonist, a man with an overabundance of pride and confidence, ultimately fails in an extreme fight for survival. Like me, he believes he can defy the odds and escape an impossible situation.

Teaching this story with passages from  The Call of the Wild or  White Fang might help in rounding out similar ideas regarding the conflict of Man vs. Nature !

Click below for easy-to-teach activities for To Build a Fire by Jack London!

short stories with moral to build a fire

2.  “The Cactus” by O. Henry

One of my favorite things about this short story by O. Henry is its clever twist ending! Many short stories with moral lessons have similar twist endings, which could be why they make such great additions to thematic units !

O. Henry’s “The Cactus” tells the story of a budding romance. A young man tries to charm a young woman, but his boastful nature leads to an unfortunate misunderstanding.

Personally, I think we have all been there, at least when it comes to boastfulness. We all have something we get a little prideful about, to our own detriment most of the time.

You could teach a simple plot activity or examine how the characters change and/or develop over the course of the story!

Click to get teaching ideas here>>> The Cactus Lesson BUNDLE

short stories with moral

3.  “After Twenty Years” by O. Henry

Loyalty is a concept students are extremely focused on in middle and high school, so including short stories with moral ideas connected to loyalty is a great way to encourage students to engage with certain texts!  How can a student even navigate the school hallways without friends to help along the way? Loyalty is vital!

But all friendships change over time as any adult knows. The main characters, an officer and a criminal, experience this situation in the story “After Twenty Years” by O. Henry !

Breaking down this easy-to-read plot through a focus on comparing and contrasting the two main characters will help your students get to the moral (theme) of the story quite easily, as you really feel for both characters (even the criminal one).

Click to buy this BUNDLE to make teaching this short story SIMPLE & EASY!

4.  “The Pedestrian” by Ray Bradbury

The story “The Pedestrian,” like its title, is incredibly unassuming. A man in a not-far-off future walks his neighborhood alone. Unlike others who sit in front of screens day and night, the protagonist chooses to go for a stroll, a seemingly innocuous activity.

While on his walk, he encounters an unmanned, robotic police vehicle. Because of its programming, it cannot understand Leonard’s (protagonist’s) intentions and labels him mentally incapable, carting him off to an asylum.

This dark tale teaches about the dangers of reliance on and addiction to technology, a moral we can all learn from! If you need help teaching characterization and theme for “The Pedestrian,” go here !

Need some ideas for teaching scary short stories? Click below!

scary short stories

5.  “The Gift of the Magi” by O. Henry

If you are anywhere near the holiday season, “The Gift of the Magi” by O. Henry is one of the best short stories with moral attributes woven throughout!

This short story depicts a couple lamenting their slightly impoverished state. They want to give each other gifts to celebrate the Christmas season; however, they have limited means, like most people in the world today.

Instead of sitting around moping, they both choose to sacrifice the little they have in an interesting way in order to surprise the other for Christmas. The moral, or theme, involving sacrifice will encourage anyone who reads this short story to think beyond oneself during the holiday season.

Want an easy way to teach characterization, reading comprehension, and visualization for The Gift of the Magi ? Click the image below!

short story english lesson

6.  “The Scarlet Ibis” by James Hurst

I don’t know about you, but if you have read “The Scarlet Ibis” by James Hurst , I know you MUST have shed a tear or two. Good short stories with moral elements tend to do so unexpectedly.

Two brothers, one of whom experiences a disability, interact with each other as many siblings do. There is a constant tug of war between brotherly love and annoyance that most people with brothers or sisters can readily understand.

By the end of the story, we cry with the protagonist as he weeps for his brother who dies a tragic death. This story may be difficult to read for some, but it is completely worth it.

We need to be reminded once in a while that life is not just about us and what makes us happy. It also involves investing in the lives of others, especially in the lives of those less fortunate than we are. Ultimately, patience regarding family must take center place in our lives, which the protagonist learns too late. If you need step-by-step activities to teach this classic story, see this link !

7.  “The Necklace” by Guy de Maupassant

I have yet to teach a student who did not like “The Necklace” by Guy de Maupassant . And engagement is super important when choosing short stories with moral concepts!

Unlike the female protagonist in “The Gift of the Magi,” Mathilde Loisel in the story “The Necklace” is self-focused. She cannot see the beauty of the comfort and security of her middle-class life.

Instead, she always thinks about the finer things in life she cannot attain. I think we have all been there a time or two. We may not envision the same “finer” things, but we all pretty much want more than we currently have.

When Mathilde Loisel is invited to a party, she borrows her friend’s necklace, a symbol to her of wealth. At some point, she loses the “expensive”  diamond necklace and replaces it without telling her friend about its loss. Now, deep in debt, she and her husband become embittered and worn down through extremely difficult physical work. The resolution of the story involves the revelation that the necklace was, in fact, a cheap fake.

Can you imagine the impact of this knowledge on your psyche? Sometimes, it is simply better to tell the truth, even if it hurts your pride to do so. Clearly, this story shines as a prime example of classic short stories with moral concepts everyone should read!

short story english lesson

8.  “Thank You, Ma’am” (also known as “Thank You, M’am”) by Langston Hughes

During or around the week of Thanksgiving, “Thank You, Ma’am” (also known as “Thank You, M’am”) by Langston Hughes is one of THE BEST short stories with moral lessons to teach!

Let me give you a quick recap: A young boy attempts to steal a person from an older woman. Interestingly, she does not call the police and demand immediate punishment but invites the young man into her home, feeds him, and demonstrates love and care towards him.

Everyone could learn a thing or two from the older woman, Mrs. Jones.

Here are some thematic statements/morals one could learn from this story:

  • Sometimes it is difficult to fathom someone’s kindness.
  • Certain moments in life can change how you see someone.

thank you maam activities

Why teach short stories with moral lessons?

So often, our English curricula are rife with death, destruction, and despair. Think  Romeo and Juliet, “The Raven,”   or “An Occurrence at Owl Creek Bridge.” Don’t get me wrong; I love a good scare or death scene.

Sometimes, however, I want to feel hope in the human experience. We need to read about life, love, freedom, and other ideals that are important to us. Foremost, we must offer more short stories with moral lessons to our students, so they too can experience what can be!

If you want to make teaching short stories with moral lessons or other entertaining tales an EASY feat, get the BUNDLE below!

short story english lesson

Need more help with teaching short stories with moral lessons? Check out my store  Kristin Menke-Integrated ELA Test Prep !

short story english lesson


I primarily focus on  integrating multiple disciplines and subjects. The goal is to make teaching simplified and effective!

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B2–C1 stories

B2–C1 stories

Do you enjoy reading stories?

In this section, read our entertaining short stories specially written for upper intermediate (CEFR level B2) or advanced (CEFR level C1) learners.

You will improve your reading fluency and comprehension and develop your vocabulary. Each story has interactive exercises to help you understand and use the language.

Bad blood – B2/C1

Bad blood – B2/C1

When a vampire visits a young couple in love, can they – and their love – survive?

  • Read more about Bad blood – B2/C1
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First star I see tonight – B2/C1

First star I see tonight – B2/C1

When his physics experiment goes wrong and all the stars disappear, the entire world blames Dr Tomas Streyer. Are the stars gone forever?

  • Read more about First star I see tonight – B2/C1

Frank's last case – B2/C1

Frank's last case – B2/C1

Sergeant Frank Spike is not a successful police officer. But he has 'a nose for crime'. Will his last case change his luck?

  • Read more about Frank's last case – B2/C1

Love me, love me not – B2/C1

Love me, love me not – B2/C1

Two people fall in love. But is their experience real? Or is it just a side effect of the medicine they're taking?

  • Read more about Love me, love me not – B2/C1

Man at door

The devil's in the details – B2/C1

A mysterious salesman knocks at Victoria's door and offers her a deal to solve all her problems. Will she give in to temptation or is the price too high?

  • Read more about The devil's in the details – B2/C1

The green wars – B2/C1

The green wars – B2/C1

Two friends take action to help the environment and create a beautiful green town. But what's the best strategy, and is it worth going to prison for?

  • Read more about The green wars – B2/C1

The hole in the wall – B2/C1

The hole in the wall – B2/C1

Joanna is the last market trader in her family. When she goes to the capital city to sell her fruits, she discovers something worth more than money.

  • Read more about The hole in the wall – B2/C1

The time travel plumber – B2/C1

The time travel plumber – B2/C1

If a plumber can use time travel to fix Priya's broken pipe, can her other problems be solved in the same way?

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Women posing for a selfie

True Beauty – B2/C1

What if a photo showed how beautiful you were on the inside? Read what happens when people download a new app called TrueBeauty.  

  • Read more about True Beauty – B2/C1

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Tim's Free English Lesson Plans

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Tag: short stories

Proficiency book club: the waterfall by h e bates.

short stories

This is a series of lesson plans for proficiency level students based around stories from “The Oxford Book of English Short Stories” edited by A. S. Byatt. Set the story as homework the week before, encourage students to bring any vocabulary questions to class.

The Waterfall tells the story of a repressed reverend’s daughter trying to cope with the emotions and sentiments of life and love. These feelings are symbolised by the waterfall in her garden which is being renovated. The breaking of the damn and the water surging down the waterfall could symbolise the release of all her bottled up affections and feelings towards her husband and the jovial Mr. Phillips who has been staying with the family.

Download this lesson plan here:!383&authkey=!AJRdYjvoRf1OhyM

First copy to the board or project the vocabulary table in the attachment above, students must try to match the new vocab to the definition.

Key: 1 – g, 2 – d, 3 – a, 4 – b, 5 – j, 6 – e, 7 – f, 8 – I, 9 – h, 10 – c.

Once they have matched the vocab give them 5 minutes to find the vocabulary in the text, make it a race, the first team to find all 10 wins.

Then discuss the following discussion questions:

Discussion Questions:

  • What happens in the story?
  • How would you describe the characters? Straight-laced. Prim and proper, repressed, damaged,
  • What does the waterfall represent?
  • How do you feel about Rose? Do you sympathise with her?
  • How do you think she feels about her new husband?
  • How do you think she feels about Phillips?
  • Do you think people are more or less emotionally repressed these days?
  • Do you think this is a good or bad thing?

Proficiency Book Club: A Widow’s Quilt by Sylvia Townsend Warner

This is a series of lesson plans for proficiency level students based around stories from “The Oxford Book of English Short Stories” edited by A. S. Byatt. Set the story as homework the week before, encourage students to bring any vocabulary questions to class.

Here is some vocab that your students might have trouble with:

  • the box – the television
  • parlour – a room in a kitchen where food is stored and prepared
  • applique quilts – patchwork quilts
  • rook – black bird and chess piece
  • blacking out curtains – heavy curtains used during world war two to block light from the windows of the houses
  • taffeta – material made from silk
  • to snatch – to take something from another person aggressively
  • jolt – a sudden violent movement
  • drudgery – a boring, difficult job
  • fidgeting / to fidget – to move comfortably and nervously
  • to thwart – to prevent the completion of something
  • a harlot – a whore / prostitute
  • to grimace – to make an angry / annoyed face

Have your students discuss these questions in small groups or as a class:

  • Can you describe the characters?
  • What do you think of Charlotte?
  • How do you think she feels in her marriage? Trapped?
  • What do her actions say about the position of women in the time the story was written?
  • What do you think of Everard?
  • How do you feel for him at the end?
  • How do you feel for Charlotte?
  • How can you explain the ending?
  • Charlotte takes on the challenge of making the quilt, how important is it to have challenges and things to focus your attention on in life? Different stages of life. Things to look forward to etc.

Proficiency Book Club: The Troll by T. H. White

Here is a matching exercise for some of the more difficult vocabulary in the story. Have the students complete the exercise in pairs.

Here you can download the table to print:!358&authkey=!AOgTwYv1J95mH4E

Here are the answers:

  • a – 3
  • b – 11
  • c – 7
  • d – 12
  • e – 10
  • f – 8
  • g – 4
  • h – 1
  • i – 5
  • j – 6
  • k – 9
  • l – 2

Here are the locations of the words in the text and some sentence examples:

  • ungainly – bottom of pg 346
  • blurry – actual reference is blurring at the bottom of pg 347
  • beside the point – middle of pg 348, other sentences example: “He is a nice man, but that’s beside the point; he’s rubbish at his job.”
  • bog – bottom of 348
  • to ford – bottom of 348
  • bow – bottom of 348 in relation to a “bow wave”
  • stern – isn’t in the text but is a counterpoint to “bow”
  • to wring out – top of 349, wring is irregular – wring wrung wrung.
  • come to grips with something – middle of 351, other sentence examples: “We must all get to grips with this tragedy” “If you are going to be an executive you need to get to grips with your fear of public speaking.”
  • wizened – middle of 351
  • to earmark st – bottom of 351, other sentence example: “this money is earmarked for the Christmas party”

Ask students for any other vocab issues they have.

Discussion Questions

Discuss these questions in groups or as a class:

  • What does the troll represent?
  • Why does the story have a framing device? (a story within a story) What does it add to the story?
  • Some analysts say the story is religious, the character’s latent Christianity defeating the Troll, do you agree?
  • What do you think of the gory imagery of the troll?
  • How do you explain the ending?
  • What other mythical creatures can you think of? (vampires, werewolves, zombies etc.)
  • Why do you think these monsters are so popular? Why do people keep writing stories about them?
  • Which ones frightened you most as a child? Which ones still scare you now?
  • What do you think are the origins of these creatures?

Proficiency Book Club: An Englishman’s Home by Evelyn Waugh

This is the latest in a series of lesson plans for proficiency level students based around short stories from “The Oxford Book of English Short Stories edited by A. S. Byatt. This one is based on “An Englishman’s Home” by Evelyn Waugh, you can read the story for free here:

As with the other plans in this series, students read the story for homework and then bring any vocabulary queries or new words they discover to class. Start by asking for these queries. Here are some pieces of vocabulary that might come up in class:

I opened the class by teaching the following 2 expressions: “An Englishman’s home is his castle” and “NIMBY” (Not In My Back Yard) two expressions which neatly sum up the various themes in the story.

aphorisms (page 295)  = sayings / idioms

to wreak stark havoc (296) = to cause chaos

ha-ha (296) = a type of fence built at the bottom of a ditch so that it’s not visible from the house’s windows

Crown Derby (297) = A type of expensive ceramic, plates etc.

impecunious (297) = poor, no money

to pull your weight (298) = to do your share of communal work

to eschew (298) = to avoid

The Peace Ballot (298) = a national survey carried out in 1934-35

jerry builders (302) = cheap unskilled builders

to put / pull a fast one over on somebody (309) = to trick / cheat somebody

to mope (309) = to complain and be worried about something

to fret (309) = to be worried and nervous

  • What do you think of the characters?
  • What does the story say about people?
  • Does anybody come out of it looking good?
  • The story talks a lot about manners and maintaining appearances, do you think these things are as important in your country?
  • We see Mr. Metcalf trying to follow the instructions on how to live as a country gentleman should. Do you think lots of people act like this in real life? Do they try to act as society expects them to act? Can you think of any examples?
  • The story reflects English village life very accurately, can you see parallels with villages in your country?
  • What does the expression NIMBY mean? Do you see examples of NIMBY attitudes in your country? Can you think of any examples?
  • In the book we see the residents of the village cheated out of their money, what other similar confidence scams and tricks can you think of?

Students may be interested to read about the life of the writer Evelyn Waugh, here is his wikipedia.

His most famous book “Brideshead Revisited” has been adapted for the screen twice, the 1981 small screen mini series garnered an excellent response from critics.

Proficiency Book Club: Nuns at Luncheon by Aldous Huxley

eating nuns

This a series of posts for proficiency level students based around short stories taken from “The Oxford Book of Short Stories” edited by A.S Byatt.

This lesson plan is based on “Nuns at Luncheon” by Aldous Huxley. Start by addressing any vocabulary issues the students might have.There is a lot of new vocabulary in this story so try to keep this section as brief as possible to leave time for the discussion. Here is a brief run down of some things that might need explaining.

a hare – a kind of  large rabbit

a mixed grill – a plate of assorted types of grilled meat

gaudy / gaudily – tasteless, lots of bright colours

to wriggle out of st – to escape from a responsibility – my students try to wriggle out of doing their homework

to talk shop – to talk about your job / studies during free time

gallows – the place where people are hanged (see also gallows humour)

the plot thickens – expression meaning that something becomes more complicated or interesting

to harness – to capture and use the power of something – windmills harness the power of the wind

folly – stupidity

the coast is clear – expression meaning nobody is watching

to rule with an iron rod – to be very strict

chaste – pure / innocent

to shuffle off this mortal coil – expression from Shakespeare’s Hamlet meaning to die.

to wallow – to immerse yourself in something, usually in something bad – pigs and hippos wallow in mud, people sometimes wallow in self-pity.

to savour something – to enjoy something and try and make it last longer

the Norns – Nordic goddesses of destiny

sullen – moody, sad

to gloat – to show a lot of self-satisfaction about something, usually at someone else’s expense.

to trudge / to tramp – to walk with heavy feet as if you are tired

dingy – badly lit, dirty

  • What’s the story about?
  • How did it make you feel?
  • The story uses a framing device (a story within a story), what effect does this have?
  • What happens in the story of the nun?
  • Why does the nun run away with the man? For love? Or to save his soul?
  • What does the story say about our fascination with tragedy?
  • In English we have the expression “car crash TV /cinema” what do you think it means? (shows or films that deliberately show disturbing material to get a reaction or higher viewing figures.)
  • Do you think the media exploits other people’s tragedies for higher viewing figures? Can you think of any examples? (Oscar Pistorius trial)
  • Based on the events in the story and the repeated scandals involving priests do you think that celibacy is realistic in today’s society?

Zombie Apocalypse Training 101, with Steven Seagal


Need help getting teenage students to produce compositions? Why not try this great warm up game from my friend Magistra Monson. The idea is you take clippings from real news stories and use them as a jumping off point for creative or argumentative writing. The class works as a team adding a paragraph each to the story with hilarious consequences. Definitely an idea I’m gonna use in my next teen class, or even with adults. You can download different introductory paragraphs from Magistra’s blog.

This has actually helped inspire a pipe dream I have for a new blog based around crowd sourced short stories. The working title at the moment is “Crowd Shorts” watch this space………………………. and pay attention to big Steve, that guys knows his onions.

Proficiency book club, lesson 3: The Toys of Peace by Saki


This lesson is a short discussion based around “The Toys of Peace” by Saki, a short satirical story about two parents attempts to influence their young boy’s playing habits. For this series of classes I am using short stories from “The Oxford Book of English Short Stories” edited by A. S. Byatt. If you don’t have a copy of the book most of the short stories are available for free online. This particular short story is available here:

As with the other lessons in this series the story is set of homework the previous week. The first 5-10 minutes of the class are spent going over any vocabulary issues. This is then followed by a discussion based on the themes and issues which arise in the story.

The author Hector Hugh Munro is considered to be one of the masters of the short story. Many of his works were published posthumously following his death in World War 1. His wikipedia page may prove useful for the class discussion:

After going through any vocabulary problems (there shouldn’t be many as the story only runs to 5 pages) have the students discuss the following questions, either in small groups or as a whole class:

Discussion: Toys of Peace

  • What was your initial reaction to it?
  • Describe the characters.
  • What do you think of the parents attempt to influence their children?
  • Do you think they are well-meaning? Or deluded?
  • What toys did you play with as a child?
  • Did your parents ban anything they thought would have a bad influence on you? Toys? TV shows? Etc.
  • Do you agree with the expression “boys will be boys”?
  • Do you think children should play with toy weapons?
  • Should girls be given typically girly toys? Dolls, makeup etc.
  • Are there any toys / games / other things that you think are a bad influence on children or young people
  • Should these things be banned?
  • The story is an example of satire. What do you think it is satirising?
  • What satirical programs / writers / magazines etc. do you have in your country?

Next week: Nuns at Luncheon by Aldous Huxley

Proficiency book club, lesson 2: Solid Objects by Virginia Woolf


This is the second part of a series of posts based around stories from “The Oxford Book of English Short Stories” edited by A.S Byatt. This particular class is based on “Solid Objects” by Virginia Woolf, pages 205-209.

As before set the story as reading homework for the week before.

If you don’t have a copy of the book someone has helpfully uploaded it in pdf here:

Click to access SOLID%20OBJECTS,%20Virginia%20Woolf.pdf

This analytical essay by Sam Mitchell about the works of Virginia Woolf may prove useful. It’s a little heavy as it’s an honours thesis but has some useful insights into the story.

Lesson Plan:

Start by asking the students for vocabulary problems. Woolf’s style can be confusing so some sections could require a little explanation. Some vocabulary that might cause problems is listed below:

lunging – to lunge, to move towards in a swift movement

tweed – woven material used to make clothes

to fling – to throw without care

to be to hand – to be within reach

to slash – to cut or mark something

to skim – to touch the surface of something lightly

slate – material used to make rooves

to hitch up a sleeve – to roll up or move higher to protect

moat – water around a castle

mantelpiece – surface above a fireplace where objects are kept

on the brink – on the edge

trifling – unimportant

to be cast down – to be depressed

matted – tangled into a lump

Lots of the vocabulary in the story can be used in various contexts, be sure to explore these fully. For example: fling – to have a fling (short sexual relationship)

Once you have cleared up any vocab issues hand out the following discussion questions:

1. Can you describe the characters?

2. What happens in the story?

3. What was your initial reaction to the story?

4. Did you feel sorry for John? Or bemused?

5. What strikes you about the introduction?

6. How can you explain John’s behaviour?

7. What do the objects represent?

8. Do you have any lucky charms? Did you have any when you were a child?

9. Do you collect anything?

10. Did you collect things when you were a child?

Either put the students into small groups to discuss the questionsand then feedback or have an open class discussion.

Here are some ideas and themes that could help fuel discussion:

Story written in 1918 towards the end of World War one. The idea of objects lasting longer than men, so many people died in the war and all that came back were objects: letters, belongings, clothes etc.

The idea of the permanance of objects and the transcience of people. The desire for permanance, ever lasting life.

The simplicity of the objects as pure pieces of different materials and also the mystery surrounding what they used to be.

Follow up: Homework composition about travelling


This is a homework activity written to follow my previous lesson plan about holidays and traveling here is the link to the original lesson plan:

Here is a link to download the handout for homework:!300&authkey=!AMJLj8z2NbQgFFI

A travel magazine is running a competition for travel articles about different types of holidays / ways to travel for young people.

Choose 1 type of holiday / way to travel from the class handout and write an article about why it’s good for young people. Include:

  • An interesting introduction to catch the reader’s attention. Include direct questions.
  • Pros and cons of your chosen subject.
  • Reasons why you recommend it to other young people.
  • You can include (invented) anecdotes.

Composition: Short story, Nighthawks by Edward Hopper


This is a homework exercise to practice past narrative tenses for intermediate to advanced students (B1-C1) based on the picture above. Nighthawks by Edward Hopper.

Download the handout here:!294&authkey=!AJdNI7pP–88YxQ

Composition short story

Write a short story (120-150 words) based on this picture.

  • Who are these people?
  • Where is the story set? When is it set?
  • What are they doing?
  • What has happened before this moment?
  • What happens next? (think of an exciting ending)

Generally stories are written in the past so use a selection of past tenses:

  • Past continuous to describe the scene, “The couple were sat at the bar talking and drinking.”
  • Past simple to describe actions in sequence: “The man paid his bill, put on his jacket and left the bar.”
  • Past perfect to describe actions that happened before this moment: “The man had been drinking in another bar before”
  • Mixture of past tenses to describe different actions: “As the man was putting on his jacket, the phone rang…..”


Open to teachers or students. If you are a teacher send your best student’s story, or if you are a student your story to me at: [email protected] and I’ll post it to my page for all to see!

  • Grades 6-12
  • School Leaders

Black History Month for Kids: Google Slides, Resources, and More!

50 Best Short Stories for High School Students

Quick and engaging.

“All of us must have something or someone to be proud of.”

If there is one thing that my students and I share, it’s our love for short stories. High school kids may not choose to read short stories on their own time, but they get very excited when the story I choose to teach a concept is short . I find that short stories pack a stronger emotional punch. They elicit real reactions, especially if the author manages to surprise them. In fact, short stories are the thing I use most often in my high school lessons to teach literary devices, act as mentor texts for our writing, and get students excited about reading. Here is a collection of 50 of my favorite short stories for high school students. 

1. “Lamb to the Slaughter” by Roald Dahl

“‘i’ll fix some supper,’ she whispered. when she walked across the room, she couldn’t feel her feet touching the floor. she couldn’t feel anything except a slight sickness. she did everything without thinking. she went downstairs to the freezer and took hold of the first object she found. she lifted it out, and looked at it. it was wrapped in paper, so she took off the paper and looked at again—a leg of lamb..

Why I love it: The dramatic irony. The discussion that follows: Who is the innocent lamb in this story? 

2. “The Most Dangerous Game” by Richard Connell 

“the world is made up of two classes—the hunters and the huntees.”.

“The world is made up of two classes—the hunters and the huntees.”

Why I love it: This is one of those short stories for high school that engages all of my students. I love to ask them what they think the most dangerous game in the world is. I like to watch them figure out what is about to happen as we read through the story. 

3. “The Landlady” by Roald Dahl

“‘i stuff all my little pets myself when they pass away. will you have another cup of tea’”.

Why I love it: This story is great for suspense, irony, and characterization. It always creeps students out. 

4. “All Summer in a Day” by Ray Bradbury 

“i think the sun is a flower / that blooms for just one hour.”.

Why I love it: This story is heartbreaking and truth-telling. Bradbury takes us to Venus and uses the setting to drive the conflict and focus on the character’s behavior. 

5. “The Veldt” by Ray Bradbury

“too much of anything isn’t good for anyone.”.

Why I love it: It’s a dystopian story about the power of technology in our lives. It’s easy to connect to students’ lives. 

6. “The Lottery” by Shirley Jackson

“there’s always been a lottery.”.

“There’s always been a lottery.”

Why I love it: The brutality of this story sneaks up on you. For a while, you’re convinced this town is ordinary until you find out the dark consequences of blindly following tradition. 

7. “The Tell-Tale Heart” by Edgar Allan Poe 

“it is impossible to say how first the idea entered my brain; but once conceived, it haunted me day and night.”.

Why I love it: My students love a murder mystery. This one is made even more alluring while the narrator tries to convince the readers of his sanity. 

8. “The Gift of the Magi” by O. Henry

“life is made up of sobs, sniffles, and smiles, with sniffles predominating.”.

Why I love it: It’s one of the best stories for high school to teach irony during the holiday season. 

9. “The Monkey’s Paw” by W.W. Jacobs

“ never mind, dear … perhaps you’ll win the next one.”.

Why I love it: One of the classic short stories for high school about what can go wrong when granted three wishes. Students also love to know that there was a Simpsons episode based on this short story. 

10. “The Secret Life of Walter Mitty” by James Thurber

“lately, i have been wondering if there is time left for daydreaming in this 21st-century world of constant communication.” .

“Lately, I have been wondering if there is time left for daydreaming in this 21st-century world of constant communication.” 

Why I love it: This story moves from the ordinary to the extraordinary. It highlights the mundane adult life while the main character escapes to fantastical situations, inspired by his surroundings. Bonus: The movie version that was released in 2013.

11. “The Ones Who Walk Away From Omelas” by Ursula K. LeGuin

“this is the treason of the artist: a refusal to admit the banality of evil and the terrible boredom of pain.”.

Why I love it: This story encourages high school students to consider the cost of happiness. 

12. “Araby” by James Joyce

“her name sprang to my lips at moments in strange prayers and praises which i myself did not understand. my eyes were often full of tears (i could not tell why) and at times a flood from my heart seemed to pour itself out into my bosom. i thought little of the future. i did not know whether i would ever speak to her or not or, if i spoke to her, how i could tell her of my confused adoration.”.

Why I love it: It’s about growing up and developing a crush that is all-consuming. 

13. “A Sound of Thunder” by Ray Bradbury

“it fell to the floor, an exquisite thing, a small thing that could upset balances and knock down a line of small dominoes and then big dominoes and then gigantic dominoes, all down the years across time. eckels’ mind whirled. it couldn’t change things. killing one butterfly couldn’t be that important could it”.

Why I love it: It’s a short story about the butterfly effect. The plot asks the question many have asked before, if we could travel back in time, how would it change the future? 

14. “Two Kinds” by Amy Tan

“my mother believed you could be anything you wanted to be in america.”.

Why I love it: It explores the complex mother-daughter relationship.  

15. “Rules of the Game” by Amy Tan

“next time win more, lose less.”.

Why I love it: Use this for an example of extended metaphor and, again, the dynamics of a mother-daughter relationship. 

16. “Eraser Tattoo” by Jason Reynolds 

“he knew the sting wouldn’t last forever. but the scar would.”.

Why I love it: I love a teenage love story. Focus on the symbolism of the eraser tattoo. 

17. “The Scarlet Ibis” by James Hurst

“all of us must have something or someone to be proud of.”.

“All of us must have something or someone to be proud of.”

Why I love it: A beautifully written heartbreaking story about brothers. 

18. “A Good Man Is Hard to Find” Flannery O’Connor

“‘it isn’t a soul in this green world of god’s that you can trust,’ she said. ‘and i don’t count nobody out of that, not nobody,’ she repeated, looking at red sammy.”.

Why I love it: It’s a great story for studying characters, their flaws, and their transformation by the end of the story. 

19. “Ruthless” by William de Mille

“when it comes to protecting my property, i make my own laws.”.

Why I love it: It’s a tale of revenge with unexpected twists and turns. 

20. “The Story of an Hour” by Kate Chopin

“when the doctors came they said she had died of heart disease—of joy that kills.”.

Why I love it: Can a person die of a broken heart? 

21. “Eleven” by Sandra Cisneros

“what they don’t understand about birthdays, and what they’ll never tell you, is that when you’re eleven, you’re also ten, and nine, and eight, and seven, and six, and five, and four, and three, and two, and one.”.

Why I love it: I use this when I teach creative writing. What changes when we turn 11? How are we different from when we were 10? Most agree that it is a significant change. 

22. “The Test” by Theodore Thomas

“nobody should want to drive a car after going through what you just went through.”.

Why I love it: Your students will not see the ending coming. 

23. “There Will Come Soft Rains” by Ray Bradbury

“and one voice … read poetry … until all the film spools burned, until all the wires withered and the circuits cracked.”.

Why I love it: Use this futuristic story to teach setting, foreshadowing, and theme. 

24. “ The Schoolmistress” by Anton Chekhov

“it is beyond all understanding … why god gives beauty, this graciousness, and sad, sweet eyes to weak, unlucky, useless people—why they are so charming.”.

Why I love it: We get to see simple moments become symbols for larger happenings in her life.

25.  “Lob’s Girl” by Joan Aiken

“some people choose their dogs, and some dogs choose their people.”.

Why I love it: Read it for a tale of friendship paired with elements of suspense. 

26. “An Occurrence at Owl Creek Bridge” by Ambrose Bierce 

“he had power only to feel, and feeling was torment.”.

Why I love it: The ending will shock your students. 

27.  “The Chaser” by John Collier

“ ‘ she will want to know all you do,’” said the old man. ‘all that has happened to you during the day. every word of it. she will want to know what you are thinking about, why you smile suddenly, why you are looking sad.’.

“‘She will want to know all you do,’

“‘That is love!’ cried Alan.”

Why I love it: For the discussion afterward, what would you be willing to do for love? Bonus: Pair with a Twilight Zone episode.

28. “The Janitor in Space” by Amber Sparks

“she feels at home beyond the skies. she lied and said she came here to be close to god, but she feels further away from him than ever.”.

Why I love it: The creative plot created in this story launches deep discussion after reading.

29. “Standard Loneliness Package” by Charles Yu

“root canal is one fifty, give or take, depending on who’s doing it to you. a migraine is two hundred.”.

Why I love it: The plot is intriguing enough for students to be invested. Imagine a world where you outsource negative feelings and experiences to other people.

30. “The Yellow Wallpaper” by Charlotte Perkins Gilman 

“i cry at nothing, and cry most of the time.”.

Why I love it: I still remember the first time I read this story in high school and the discussion about women and mental health and the symbolism throughout the story. 

31. “ A Jury of Her Peers” by Susan Glaspell 

“oh, well, women are used to worrying over trifles.”.

Why I love it: It’s a story about women being misunderstood and underestimated. 

32. “The Cask of Amontillado” by Edgar Allan Poe

“ ‘i shall not die of a cough.’ ‘true – true,’ i replied.”.

Why I love it: It’s a revenge story that allows students to see examples of irony throughout. 

33. “To Build a Fire” by Jack London

“the proper function of man is to live, not to exist.”.

Why I love it: This story is great for any adventurous soul. 

34. “The Sniper” by Liam O’Flaherty

“[the sniper’s eyes] were deep and thoughtful, the eyes of a man who is used to looking at death.”.

“[The sniper's eyes] were deep and thoughtful, the eyes of a man who is used to looking at death.”

Why I love it: It’s a story that illustrates the pain and loss of war. 

35. “The Lady, or the Tiger?” by Frank Stockton

“it mattered not that he might already possess a wife and family, or that his affections might be engaged upon an object of his own selection: the king allowed no such subordinate arrangements to interfere with his great scheme of retribution and reward.”.

Why I love it: Use this as a short story that illustrates that actions have consequences. 

36.  “The Black Cat” by  Edgar Allan Poe 

“yet mad i am not … and very surely do i not dream.” .

Why I love it: This is one of the classic Poe short stories for high school about madness. 

37. “The Celebrated Jumping Frog of Calaveras County” by Mark Twain

“smiley said all a frog wanted was education, and he could do ‘most anything—and i believe him.”.

Why I love it: A Mark Twain story about a man who bets on anything. Use this next time a student says “Bet!” to you.

38. “Metamorphosis” by Franz Kafka 

“i cannot make you understand. i cannot make anyone understand what is happening inside me. i cannot even explain it to myself.”.

Why I love it: Read this story for symbolism, as the main character turns into an insect overnight. It’s an excellent story that illustrates alienation and loneliness. 

39. “Young Goodman Brown” by Nathaniel Hawthorne

“depending upon one another’s hearts, ye had still hoped that virtue were not all a dream. now are ye undeceived. evil is the nature of mankind.”.

“Depending upon one another's hearts, ye had still hoped that virtue were not all a dream. Now are ye undeceived. Evil is the nature of mankind.”

Why I love it: A great read for American literature that explores the nature of humanity and questions of faith. 

40. “Through the Tunnel” by Doris Lessing

“they were of that coast; all of them were burned smooth dark brown and speaking a language he did not understand. to be with them, of them, was a craving that filled his whole body.”.

Why I love it: A story that focuses on overcoming limitations while an 11-year-old trains to swim through an underwater hole in a rock. 

41. “The Ice Palace” by F. Scott Fitzgerald

“up in her bedroom window sally carrol happer rested her nineteen-year-old chin on a fifty-two-year-old sill and watched clark darrow’s ancient ford turn the corner.”.

Why I love it: Fitzgerald was gifted in writing about tension in love. This story is about the tension between lovers from the North and the South. Read it for the story and the poetic language of Fitzgerald. 

42. “The Purple Jar” by Maria Edgeworth

“‘oh mother, how happy i should be,’ said she, as she passed a toy-shop, ‘if i had all these pretty things’”.

Why I love it: It’s a simple story of the conflict between what we  desire versus what we need. 

43. “The Birthday Party” by Katharine Brush

“there was nothing conspicuous about them, nothing particularly noticeable, until the end of their meal, when it suddenly became obvious that this was an occasion—in fact, the husband’s birthday, and the wife had planned a little surprise for him.”.

Why I love it: This is a very quick read and still manages to pack a punch. 

44. “Thank You, Ma’am” by Langston Hughes

“you ought to be my son. i would teach you right from wrong.”.

Why I love it: The story is relatable and sends an important message. 

45. “Girl” by Jamaica Kincaid

“this is how you smile to someone you don’t like too much; this is how you smile to someone you don’t like at all; this is how you smile to someone you like completely.”.

“This is how you smile to someone you don’t like too much; this is how you smile to someone you don’t like at all; this is how you smile to someone you like completely.”

Why I love it: It’s a message from a mother to a daughter on how to behave. 

46. “Powder” by Tobias Wolff

“but then i didn’t have to. my father was driving. my father in his forty-eighth year, rumpled, kind, bankrupt of honor, flushed with certainty. he was a great driver.”.

Why I love it: This is one of the great short stories for high school that explores the complexity of a father-son relationship. 

47. “The Pie” by Gary Soto

“once, at the german market, i stood before a rack of pies, my sweet tooth gleaming and the juice of guild wetting my underarms. i nearly wept.”.

Why I love it: This is one of the best short stories for high school about the strength and power of guilt in the presence of childhood and into an adulthood. 

48. “Sticks” by George Saunders

“the pole was dad’s only concession to glee.”.

Why I love it: This super-short story is about a father’s tradition of decorating a pole in the yard and all that the pole represents. 

49. “Marigolds” by Eugenia Collier

“for one does not have to be ignorant and poor to find that one’s life is barren as the dusty yards of one’s town.”.

Why I love it: This is a story about realizing when we’re growing up. This is one of the great short stories for high school students that they can connect to. 

50. “The Pedestrian” by Ray Bradbury

“the multicolored or grey lights touching their faces, but never really touching them …”.

“The multicolored or grey lights touching their faces, but never really touching them ...”

Why I love it: This story takes place in 2053. Ray Bradbury has a way of making the future feel like the present. Bradbury reminds us how important it is to not lose our humanity. 

Did you enjoy these 50 short stories for high school students? Check out 72 of Our All-Time Favorite Classroom Quotes .

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Want a quick and engaging way to teach a memorable lesson? Check out these 50 short stories for high school students!

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