To jump straight to the KidsEnglishCollegeTM collection of short stories, click HERE.
Short stories have always been an excellent language learning aid for children and adult learners alike. For many years, tales like “An Ugly Duckling”, “Hansel & Gretel” and “Little Red Riding Hood” have been told to children in many parts of the world. In fact, there is a growing body of writers that churn out publications of short tales, anecdotes and narratives meant just for adults too!
Many parents know that storytelling by reading to their children is a very good way to improve English and short publications are easy to get a hold off online for free. So looking for story collections online is a common practice, but they after a while, they may find themselves looking at the same web pages repetitively. This brings us to the first question…
How To Find Original/New Short Stories Online?
We can answer this question, but first let me ask you – did you know that there are many different types of short stories?
For example there are…
- Fairy tales
- Moral short stories
- Educational stories
- Flash fiction
- Non fiction
…. and many more! There are even short stories written just for teenagers, and some would argue that is a genre on its own!
You probably know where this is headed. If you want to discover unique collections of short stories online, you need to vary the search terms you use in your search engine (i.e Google), for example by searching for “anecdotal stories for children” or “non fiction short tales”. Change these terms up and you should be able to discover more and more unique and usually free content online (while you are at it, please take a look at our very own collection too!).
This list is far from complete and some stories can actually be a combination of several types – like a fable with a moral message or an inspirational moral story.
Most of us would be familiar with fables and simple narratives, and these tend to lend themselves well to being used as English teaching aids, in a variety of ways.
Why Do Short Stories Make Great Teaching Aids?
- Short stories can be very bite sized and the shortest ones can even be just 100 words in length. Longer ones may reach about 30,000 words. This makes it easier to maintain the interest of the child long enough to finish the story.
- It is easier to find content that interests the child. Since there are so many writers churning out content every day, it makes it easier for teachers and educators to find a collection of stories that appeal to the culture, age and passions of the child they are reaching out to.
- Many writers includes moral messages in their stories. You may roll your eyes at moral messages, but these are very useful for children who may need some guidance when dealing with things like bullying and peer pressure.
Some schools even include short story collections on their reading lists because they are such effective learning aids. A short story can even be used to test listening and reading comprehension by adding questions related to the story.
Stories allow the young language learner to engage in abstract and complex thinking. This in turn provides the learner with the ability to engage in more complex thought processes while learning the language – a necessity for natural language learning. In other words, reading short stories puts the language into a context that encourages the student to “think in the language”.
Where Can You Find Short Stories?
Lots of writers all over the world publish books with short stories. A trip to the local book store or library would be an ideal place to start, because there you would have the opportunity to flip through the pages of the book before deciding if the language complexity, tone and writing style are suitable for you or the child you are trying to teach.
However, you can also easily find free collections online. Some useful search terms you can try are:
- Short stories for kids
- Original English short stories
- Moral short stories
Once you find a collection you like, you can print them out for easy reference in future (although this is environmentally unfriendly so please only print them out if you really feel a need to do so). Several sites also provide the option to download stories as PDF files so that you can view them when you are offline. Even if the sites do not provide the stories as downloadable PDF files, this is fairy easy to do on your own (feel free to reach out with a comment down below if you need help with this.)
Some schools also select the best creative stories written by their students and publish them periodically. These may not be available for sale but if you happen to know someone studying in a school that does this, you might be able to borrow a copy of such a publication.
Children can also be encouraged to write short stories on their own. As their mastery of the language grows, they must be encouraged to also work on the complexity of the stories they write. Children can be asked to write stories consisting of just a few lines describing tasks in sequence and then eventually move on to writing stories with an introduction, body and conclusion. Finally, they would need to learn to include a climax or two in their stories. When they are able to write solid prose that is foundationally strong, they can move on creative short story writing. One good way to get children started with independent story writing, is to tell them a story then ask them to write it out in formal prose. When children are just starting out story writing – moral stories are a good concept to use. Moral stories are generally easy to find and popular in all parts of the world. Such stories are also easy to relate to since they are based on common virtues and principles like love, respect, dignity, mercy, righteousness, friendship, fairness, inclusion, unity, freedom, etc. Everyone from the very young to the very old will be able to understand the context of moral stories. The concepts and ideas that children learn by hearing moral stories will also be useful for their development as they grow up.
What About Illustrated Short Stories?
Do you need to look for publications of short stories with pictures? This is a tricky question. Many children’s books are beautifully illustrated to capture their attention and interest. However, we think that this is a double edged sword. When a story comes with an amazing picture, some focus is stolen from the writing and the story itself. Short stories ought to be engaging enough on their own to hold a child’s attention without fancy artwork, especially if you are using the written work to teach.Of course,illustrated children’s books have their use and their place (such as being used during bedtime reading sessions), but if the only thing interesting on the page or website is the picture, then you would probably be better off looking for better content.
Good short stories have simple story lines that are ideal of retelling with out without a written reference on hand.
Famous Short Stories You Can Easily Find Online
In case you really don’t know where to begin, we have put together a list of popular and well known short stories that you can look out for. These are all good short stories to read and generally can be considered to be classics. Please be aware that the very original versions of these stories might not be known and/or may be written in very advanced language. Some of these stories are so old that the grammar rules have changed since when they were first written. So you don’t really have to look for the original story source, you just need to find a version that you are comfortable reading.
- 3 Little Pigs
- The Elves and the Shoemaker
- Jack and the Beanstalk
- Snow White
- Little Red Riding Hoood
- The Princess and the Pea
- The Little Mermaid
- Puss in Boots
- The Emperor’s New Clothes
Original Short Stories In English
On KidsEnglishCollegeTM we have our own collection of original English short stories consisting of a mix of modern and imaginative stories that have all been designed for young learners.