Famous Short Stories by Women Authors

Short Stories by Women Authors


Great teachers find great pleasure teaching Great American classics. Don’t know where to begin? Try these popular short stories by famous women authors.


ELA Common Core Standards Covered

Teaching theme in short stories can accomplish the following ELA Common Core Standards.  This is for your administrator, not your kids.  Kids need student-friendly worded objectives.

  1. RL.9-10.1 Cite strong and thorough textual evidence to support analysis of what the text says explicitly as well as inferences drawn from the text.
  2. RL.9-10.2 Determine a theme or central idea of a text and analyze in detail its development over the course of the text, including how it emerges and is shaped and refined by specific details; provide an objective summary of the text.
  3. RL.9-10.3 Analyze how complex characters (e.g., those with multiple or conflicting motivations) develop over the course of a text, interact with other characters, and advance the plot or develop the theme.
  4. RL.9-10.5 Analyze how an author’s choices concerning how to structure a text, order events within it (e.g., parallel plots), and manipulate time (e.g., pacing, flashbacks) create such effects as mystery, tension, or surprise.
  5. RL.9-10.6 Analyze a particular point of view or cultural experience reflected in a work of literature from outside the United States, drawing on a wide reading of world literature.

Great American Short Stories by Women

Square Template1

“The Lottery” Unit Plan contains graphic organizer handouts with answer keys, lesson plans, rubrics, a quiz, analysis, summary, and all sorts of great stuff.

These popular short stories by famous women authors delight and captivate.

1.  “The Lottery” by Shirley Jackson – Very few things shock teens. Shirley Jackson’s “The Lottery” is one of them.

  • The short story plays on the concept of scapegoating. Some ideas include showing sports clips of famous blunders (Bill Buckner or Bartman, for example). You could also discuss modern day examples of scapegoating–blaming things on the government, teachers, parents, other races, etc.

2. “The Story of an Hour” by Kate Chopin – A young married woman learns of her husband’s tragic death and secretly revels in her freedom until she discovers he was no where near the sight of the tragedy.

  • Teach and discuss the different types of irony. Instruct students to identify examples of irony, the type of irony, explain the irony, and show mastery by analyzing the author’s purpose in using irony
    "The Story of an Hour" Lesson Plans

    “The Story of an Hour” Unit Plan contains graphic organizer handouts with answer keys, lesson plans, rubrics, a quiz, analysis, summary, and all sorts of great stuff.

3.  “Geraldine Moore the Poet” by Toni Cade Bambara – Geraldine Moore’s life stinks and her teacher wants her to write a poem for homework.

  • A great way to begin a poetry unit, “Geraldine Moore the Poet” is an inspiring story about a girl who doesn’t see the value in school. After reading the story, assign students to write a poem based on their life.

4. “Every Day Use” by Alice Walker – Dee returns home and wishes to have two quilts that reflect her African-American heritage but is disappointed to find out they are intended for her younger sister, Maggie, who intends to put them to every day use.

5.  “A White Heron” by Sarah Orne Jewett – Sylvia is torn between leading a hunter to the nest of a rare white heron and collecting 10 dollars or letting the bird live.

  • “A White Heron” is an excellent story for teaching decision-making. List the pros and cons of
    White Heron

    “A White Heron” Unit Plan contains graphic organizer handouts with answer keys, lesson plans, rubrics, a quiz, analysis, summary, and all sorts of great stuff.

    Sylvia’s choices and make the decision for her.Justify the decision with logic and supporting details. Assign a persuasive essay or letter.

6. “Through the Tunnel” by Doris Lessing – A vacationing lad with an overly protective mother strives to swim through an under water tunnel to prove his manhood.

  • Think symbolism and coming of age. Mature audiences will recognize aspects of the story that are inappropriate for some.

Teaching Literary Elements with Short Stories

Famous Short Stories by Women Lesson Plans


Understanding literary elements is necessary for literary analysis.  These short stories will help you teach literary elements.

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