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Homeschooling the Middle & High School Years

Chaotic Bliss Homeschooling

Reading; Language Arts
Short Stories for Studying Plot and Conflict Tags: short stories for kids free short stories literary elements literary devices plot elements conflict

Sentient candies who revolt against their Maker. "Whole Human" packages sent straight to your doorstep. The real reason the Titanic sank -- (did somebody say zombies)? What do all of these have in common? Why, the makings of a great story, of course.†

If you're studying literary elements and techniques with your kids, reading short stories can provide a clear view of the whole "narrative arc" in a more accessible, less lengthy format.

Supplement your study with the following classic short stories. Click on the Google doc below to read the stories,†fill out plot diagrams, and answer comprehension and analysis questions for each. The document also contains links to tutorials on plot, conflict, flashbacks, and foreshadowing.†

Writing stories can also get kids thinking about what makes a good plot, an interesting conflict, and a satisfying resolution.

Writing prompts can be a good way to get the creative juices flowing. We've used some of the ones listed here. For more ideas, head over to StoryToolz. The site has ideas for conflicts, (such as rivalry, temptation, revenge, ambition, etc.), and a random title generator that suggests all kinds of tantalizing possibilities. For example:†

  • On the Far Side of the Intersection
  • Shadows of Symmetries
  • Distant Gateway
  • All Things Invisible

Nevermind if you or your kids don't know what any of the titles mean; they can work that out as they're coming up with intriguing storylines, tension-building conflicts, and awesome endings.

Folklore, Fables, Myths and Tales Tags: folklore fables myths fairytales reading comprehension

The following Google Docs lesson and worksheet about fables, folktales and myths includes links to each type of tale, with an area to fill in the theme of each one. Make a copy of it so you can edit it. Share it as is, or tweak it your own way, and then share it with others.

Here are some additional free resources:

Long Long Time Ago Stories for Children:†

Fables, folktales, fairytales, myths;† a section that tells the stories behind some well-known nursery rhymes, and a couple of tales from history: King Robert of Scotland, and Ashoka, great emperor of India.

Myths and Legends

Most of the stories on this site are from around England, but also include tales from other parts of the world. You can read the story or listen to it, access a storyís origins, and get teaching ideas for the stories. Thereís also a story creator so you can tell your own tales.†

Generosity of Spirit Folktales

This unit includes 20 lessons using tales†from around the world that illustrate the themes of giving and philanthropy. Suggested for high school level.

Aesopís Fables Reading Comprehension

Download four fables and answer sheets here. Read more Aesop's Fables online atLit2Go.

High School Literature and Composition Tags: high school literature free ebooks online high school literature composition

The following online resources are free, quality materials that can be used as ready-made courses, or as components to build your own.†

Full Courses:†These high school literature courses have both literature analysis, and grammar and composition components. Some sites, such as Georgia Virtual Learning, offer a variety of literature courses, such as Contemporary Lit, or Mythology. These courses are organized as units that can be clicked into separately so you can choose the material you want to use.†

Lit/Lang Arts: Free High School Courses, by traykay

Free Book Sites:

Full Text Archive: A collection of copyright-free books, plays and poems you can read online or download as PDF.

Planet eBook: Download, for free, classic literature as ebooks.

LoyalBooks: Download free public domain audiobooks and ebooks.

CommonLit: A free collection of fiction and non-fiction resources for grades 5 - 12.

Short Stories:†presented by author and short story collection

Other Resources:

More literature powerpoints can be found at World of Teaching.

LitCharts: Presents background information on famous novels, including analysis of plot, characters, themes, symbols and quotes, and chapter summaries. Free to download in PDF or mobile apps.†

Study stylistic devices and literary themes in American Literature: Romantic Spirit, an interactive lesson that's part of the American Literature Series†at SAS Curriculum Pathways. The site also has English and World literature resources.

Graphic Organizers: For help with writing assignments, this site has links to graphic organizers for organizing paragraphs, character and plot analysis, literary elements, etc.

State-by-State Reading List: Also includes stories that take place in Canada.

Visit 60 Second Recap†for more overviews of the classics.

Visit the Reading/Language Arts downloads for study guides and additional resources.

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