Readers of short stories are often time-poor. Humans have been busier than ever, and many of us just don’t find the time to commit to a full novel. Saying this, I do not agree with the excuse of having little time to read an entire story. Sometimes it is the mental energy that we can not bring to commit to a few hundred pages of a book. If I have time to read, I should first use that time to work, and I know I should not assume that way.
I do need breaks, and for me, reading is a mental break from work and essential for my creativity. So lately, I discovered short stories online. The big advantage for me about reading these stories: I can finish them in a single sitting, which is very satisfying. You can find so many short stories online, that you can barely decide with which one to start. There must be many readers like me who get satisfaction when reading these stories. It became prevalent a while ago, and I can now understand why.
Why Short Stories?
People devour thrillers and romance novels, and this is undoubtedly one of the main reasons why there are so many. But there is no doubt that quick reads became more popular in the last few years. There is something about them that makes me read one after the other. I sometimes question myself, now I spent one hour of reading, when little time was my excuse not to read a full novel.
Short stories have a high literary, but also thematic claim. They touch, convey, make people think, or even stir them up. Some stories are serious; some are cheerful. They often name problems, but rarely solve them. How can that be possible in just a few or even one page?
They are short. More or less. The quicker, the better. The short, but that doesn’t mean you get over the story quickly. The stories an after effect and further thinking, fantasy, and you need empathy.
Sometimes a feeling and moment of shock, after I finished a story, became more intense, sharp things became sharper, bitter, and sour things derailed the features. Something that I get from reading novels too, but they come slower and don’t follow me for so long.
What is the difference between a short story and a novel?
I know, a short story is short and a novel up to a few hundred pages long. I also know that a short story has to follow specific structures and rules to classify as a short story. But when I started to read, I questioned myself whether I understood the difference between a short story and a novel. Many stories did not follow these rules, except that they were quick.
I know many bloggers and authors, people who write and read, and when I talked to one of my colleagues about the differences between a short story and a novel, someone read a quote: “A short story is a love affair, a novel is a marriage.”
When I published my first novel for German language learners, it was only supposed to be a short story, but my “Kopfkino” (head cinema, from which I usually get my ideas) has delivered more and more scenes. What was supposed to be just an episode about an Australian woman who moved to Germany was, in the end, a story about reaching your limits to make changes in your life. I created a character in which had so much to tell that the story became a short novel.
How to use short stories in the classroom?
When I was a teacher, I often used quick reads as a starter for discussions. Short stories are a special kind of accounts, and their lengths make them particularly suitable for using it in a classroom.
- Find stories online or download them below. Make sure they are suitable for the age.
- It is essential to read the full short story yourself before you hand out copies to your students. Many short stories come with a sudden and unexpected end and can be quite traumatic for your students if they did not prepare for this.
- Introduction to the story – Before
- the students read the text, students note down associations to the title
- Preparation of the book: The students read the text in individual work or a class. Afterward, the students discuss the storyline of the short story in small groups
- Worksheet: Prepare a worksheet with a question. Download below.
- End the task with an open discussion or presentations about the topic of the story.
Three Short Stories – Download for Free
Below we have three samples of English short stories for your free to download.
Don’t forget to share these quick reads with other teachers, students, and anyone who may benefit from these free quick readings! Want more short stories? Click here to download the full book of 55 Quick English reads.
Easy German Short Stories
Short stories can be very effective when learning a language. Readers increase their vocabulary and learn grammar while reading without even noticing. As a German language teacher I know, that learning German with stories is fun and one of the most effective ways. The reader must understand that not every word has to be understood. The context of the story often explains the unknown words so that the reader does not have to look up every word in a dictionary.
Many websites offer easy German short stories to practice a language. But be careful. There are also many stories online, which have errors in grammar and spelling mistakes. For German language learners, it is super important to read error-free stories.
When I was still teaching, I tried to find a short story for my students to read and came across so many stories which are too tricky for their language level. So I started to write my own stories. I know which grammar and words students are supposed to know at which level and included that into the stories.
Many of my students read children books as they think those stories may be easier to understand. But, children books often come with difficult grammar, so I changed that and wrote easy German children books with grammar that a German language learner understands.
Reading an easy German short story is a fun reading and learning experience, and that is what I want to achieve with my stories.
If you are interested in more, please have a look here.