4 Ways to Help Students Analyse Short Stories

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When it comes to English literature, students will spend most of their time on novels and poems rather than short stories. Unfortunately, many won’t give as much weight to those more condensed pieces of prose, and it can be an uphill struggle trying to teach them

With that in mind, here are just four tips you can follow.

  1. Pick Stories that Complement Each Other

If you have the option to choose several stories from a writer’s collection, try picking ones that complement each other. Check around the see which ones present similar themes or points of view, then choose accordingly. It also helps to keep all stories to a similar length; if you don’t most students will simply gravitate to the shortest.

  1. Divide into Groups

Since you’ll usually be talking about several short stories from the same author or a few related stories from different authors, try splitting your class into groups for major discussions. You can ask them to talk about how a different theme plays out across different stories. When everyone presents, the whole class will get a slightly different interpretation of each story.

  1. Change the Focus

Short stories often play around with point of view, so you should do the same thing. If your class spent one lesson looking at each story from a certain angle, challenge them to look at it from a different angle next time.

  1. Read Through Multiple Times

One of the great things about short stories is that you can read them through multiple times – that’s something you should really take advantage of. Prompt your students to reread the story after each major discussion. If the story is short enough, read it through in class several times through the term. After each discussion, your students will find the work easier to analyse and see things they might have missed at first.