Secondary School Books: Five Classic Short Stories Available Online

Secondary School Books: a person reading a tablet

Choosing secondary school books to appeal to your students is particularly trying in these unusual times! If you’re stuck for reading recommendations for your KS3 and GCSE students, here are five classic short stories that can be accessed online.

The Selfish Giant by Oscar Wilde: Link

Wilde’s classic fable of the giant who refuses to let children play in his garden has a strong Christian message at the end, but it is really just a story about how we should share what we have. Written to be read by children, it has a fairy-tale quality which should appeal to younger secondary school readers.

The Tell-Tale Heart by Edgar Allan Poe: Link

This story really is the stuff of nightmares: a man becomes obsessed with an old man and decides he must kill him. Once he has committed the grisly deed, he butchers the body and hides it under the floorboards – but he is convinced that the dead man’s heart keeps beating. This is a blood-curdling secondary school story from the master of the macabre.

Three Question by Leo Tolstoy: Link

Tolstoy is better known for his sweeping epics Anna Karenina and War and Peace, but he also wrote short stories. In this one, a king wants to know the answer to three important questions, but none of his advisers can give adequate answers. Finally, he learns the answers through an adventure of his own. An engaging parable, this will appeal to KS3 secondary school readers.

The Signalman by Charles Dickens: Link

As well as his wonderful, sweeping novels, Dickens also wrote some incredible short stories, of which The Signalman is probably the most well known. A classic ghost story which plays with ideas of the past, present and future, this is a wonderfully eerie story for secondary school readers.

The Lottery by Shirley Jackson: Link

Jackson’s short story caused a considerable stir when it was first published in 1948 and was actually banned in some places. It’s certainly not a light read, and for this reason it’s really only suitable for more mature GCSE readers. It tells the story of a village conducting a lottery – but what awaits the “winner” isn’t clear until the end. It’s a wonderful example of how to build suspense, and lingers with the reader long after the last word’s been read.

We hope this selection of short stories helps to keep your secondary-aged children occupied! What other secondary school books would you recommend? Check out our other suggestions:

Secondary School Books: Fiction for Reluctant Readers
Secondary School Books: Five Fiction Books About Overcoming Adversity

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