It can be a challenge to get middle schoolers interested in reading. The thought of tackling a thick novel can be overwhelming, especially during distance learning. Short stories are always a great choice.

In addition to requiring less of a time commitment, they are an easy way to expose your students to new authors and genres. Also, the best short stories are every bit as engaging and meaningful as the best novels. We asked our audience on Facebook and Instagram to share some of their favorite short stories for middle schoolers. Here’s the big list!

  1. Seventh Grade“ by Gary Soto
  2. Flowers for Algernon” by Daniel Keyes
  3. Everyday Use” by Alice Walker
  4. Lamb to the Slaughter” by Roald Dahl
  5. One Friday Morning” by Langston Hughes
  6. A Very Old Man with Enormous Wings” by Gabriel García Márquez
  7. Charles” by Shirley Jackson
  8. Click Clack the Rattlebag” by Neil Gaiman
  9. Names/Nombres” by Julia Alvarez
  10. To Build a Fire” by Jack London
  11. The Fly” by Katherine Mansfield
  12. Rules of the Game” by Amy Tan
  13. Liars Don’t Qualify” by Junius Edwards
  14. The Sniper” by Liam O’Flaherty
  15. Civil Peace” by Chinua Achebe
  16. The Friday Everything Changed” by Anne Hart
  17. The Scholarship Jacket” by Marta Salinas
  18. Amigo Brothers” by Piri Thomas
  19. Wildflower” by Amrita Pritam
  20. The Years of My Birth” by  Louise Erdrich
  21. The Veldt” by Ray Bradbury
  22. The Fun They Had” by Issac Asimov
  23. Harrison Bergeron” by Kurt Vonnegut
  24. A Good Man Is Hard to Find” by Flannery O’Connor
  25. Eleven” by Sandra Cisneros
  26. Thank You, Ma’am” by Langston Hughes
  27. Believing in Brooklyn” by Matt de la Pena (link is to collection where story can be found)
  28. Valediction” by Sherman Alexie
  29. Girl” by Jamaica Kincaid
  30. When I Lay My Burden Down” by Maya Angelou
  31. All Summer in a Day” by Ray Bradbury
  32. The Medicine Bag” by Virginia Driving Hawk Sneve
  33. Stop the Sun” by Gary Paulsen
  34. Mother and Daughter” by Gary Soto
  35. The Tell-Tale Heart” by Edgar Allen Poe
  36. The Hitchhiker” by Lucille Fletcher
  37. The Landlady” by Roald Dahl
  38. The Smallest Dragonboy” by Anne McCaffrey
  39. The Scarlet Ibis” by James Hurst
  40. My First Free Summer” by Julia Alvarez
  41. The Lottery” by Shirley Jackson
  42. The Four Million” by O. Henry
  43. Fish Cheeks” by Amy Tan
  44. The Most Dangerous Game” by Richard Connell
  45. Sol Painting, Inc.” by Meg Medina
  46. Main Street” by Jacqueline Woodson (link is to collection where story can be found)
  47. Raymond’s Run” by Toni Cade Bambara
  48. The Ones Who Walk Away From Omelas” by Ursula Le Guin
  49. What’s the Worst That Could Happen” by Bruce Colville
  50. The Monkey’s Paw” by William Wymark Jacobs
  51. The Boo Hag” by Veronica Byrd

If you’re searching for more short stories, check out these recommendations compiled by the Seattle Public Library, the ShortStoryGuide, and Barnes and Noble.

Plus, we love these anthologies: A Thousand Beginnings and Endings compiled by We Need Diverse Books’s Ellen Oh and Elsie Chapman, and  Meet Cute: Some People Are Destined to Meet by Sona Charaipotra, Dhonielle Clayton, Nicola Yoon, Ibi Zoboi and others.

Don’t miss our list of favorite middle school poems, too.

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51 Great Short Stories to Teach in Middle School