It can be a challenge to get middle schoolers interested in reading. The thought of  tackling a thick novel can be overwhelming, especially toward the end of the school year when attention spans and patience for reading are often running short. 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. Here are some of our favorite short stories for middle schoolers to share with your students.

  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

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.

What are your favorite short stories for middle schoolers? Come and share in our WeAreTeachers HELPLINE group on Facebook