6 Easy Short Stories to Improve Your English

short story is a short piece of fiction (made-up story). It has a smaller number of words than a novel or a novella, so it can be read in a shorter amount of time. Some older short stories have been around for many, many years. They were first told verbally and passed down over the course of history until somebody decided to write them down on paper. 


The Types of English Short Stories

There are many different types of short stories. No matter what genre interests you, you can find a short story that will fit your needs.
Some types of short stories are mythslegendsfablesfolk tales, fairy tales and tall tales.
myth is a story that explains a natural occurrence, such as where the sky came from. Characters in these stories are often supernatural beings like gods. A legend is a story about a popular figure that may have never existed but is based on some truth. “King Arthur” is an example of a legend.
Folk tales or fairy tales are old stories that have been around for many years. These stories often begin with “Once upon a time in a faraway land…”. Many different cultures have their own folk tales or versions of them. “Cinderella” is one example.
A tall tale is a story that’s based on truth, but with exaggerations. Unlike legends, these stories may be based on real people, but the events in the stories may have never happened. Some examples are “Paul Bunyan” or “Johnny Appleseed.”

Short stories are effective in helping English learners to practice all four aspects of language learning: reading, writing, listening and speaking. You practice your reading skills when you see the vocabulary words you’ve learned in context. You’ll better understand the correct way to use them, and you can always find new words to learn.
You can use short stories to enhance your writing skills by using them as models to begin your own English stories. By writing your own stories, you get more practice in the use of vocabulary and creating your own sentences.
You can practice your speaking and listening skills by reading the stories out loud and listening to recordings. Practice role-playing different characters in the short stories with your classmates. You’ll get conversation and listening practice.

Suggested English Short Stories to Get You Started

“Circus Escape” by Sue Clarke (Very Easy)

This is a good, simple children’s story to get you started. Many stories that are written for children are also good for English learners because of the simple vocabulary and sentences. If you’re learning about animal vocabulary, this is an especially good story to practice with.

“Little Red Riding Hood,” Adapted by George Grow (Easy)

This is a story that every English-speaking child knows. It’s a classic story about a little girl who meets a wolf in the forest while going to see her sick grandmother. The wolf pretends to be her grandmother in order to trick the little girl. This story is often used to teach children that it’s bad to talk to strangers.

“Much Ado About Nothing” by William Shakespeare (Easy)

The above story, “Much Ado About Nothing,” has been adapted for English students. It’s based on a play by the famous English playwright, William Shakespeare. This story is very simple and based on the harder play. Many old English stories have been simplified for younger readers and English learners. It’s a great way to read classic literature without becoming too frustrated.

“Paul Bunyan – An American Tall Tale,” Adapted by George Grow (Medium)

The story of Paul Bunyan has been around in the United States for many years. He’s the symbol of American frontier life, showing the ideal strength, work ethic and good morality that Americans work hard to imitate. Some sources break down his story into even shorter versions.

“The Happy Prince” by Oscar Wilde (Advanced)

“The Happy Prince” is a story that serves as a fairy tale and a fable at once. It’s a story that explores compassion in society. Since the story is old, much of the English is outdated (is not used in modern English). Still, if you have a good grasp of the English language, you can use this story to give yourself a great reading challenge.

“The Boarded Window” by Ambrose Bierce (Advanced)

Like “The Happy Prince,” “The Boarded Window” is an old story with outdated English. It’s best for advanced students. It’s an interesting story set on the old American frontier. The story uses some symbolism that requires the reader to think about the meaning of some terms. If you enjoy older stories with a little suspense, this would be a good challenge for you.

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