How to Teach Short Stories

Teaching a short story can be easy if you give your students the basic elements. All short stories need to grab the reader from the start and make them care what happens next. They must also have a strong plot, believable characters and a resolution that fulfills the promise of giving the character a solution to whatever conflict they faced in the story.

Steps for Teaching Story Writing

Have your student choose a POV, or point of view, for the short story. Explain that the viewpoint from which the story is told must be consistent throughout the story. First person is when the narrator is the main character and is telling his own story. Third person is when the narrator is overseeing events that happen to others.

Instruct your students to choose a setting for their story. The student needs to decide the physical location and time frame of the story before beginning. Explain to your students the need to remember these details while constructing the story.

Explain the development of main characters. One tool used for this is the "Character Sketch". This is a list of likes and dislikes of the characters. It will help the student understand that creating believable characters will help the story move along and keep the reader's attention.

Explain how to plot out the story. Have your students make an outline of the events to take place in their short story. This will ensure they write the story in the proper sequence.

Ask your student what the conflict of their story will be. Explain that something has to happen within the short story that will keep the readers' interest and make them care about the main character. The conflict can be romantic, dangerous or humorous but should cause the reader to want to find out what happens next.

Once your students have written their short story, make sure they understand they need to end with a good resolution. Explain that the resolution should solve whatever issue the main character has struggled with in the story in a creative and satisfying way.


Encourage your students to read. If they want to write a good short story, they should read as many short stories as possible.


Have the students read the story out loud. By reading out loud, the writer can hear the flow if the story and thereby catch any mistakes they might have missed by just reading it to themselves.