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English Grammar

English Short Stories Beginner to Advanced Level

Reading English short stories at various levels of difficulty can be a great way to improve your language skills while also gaining cultural insights and improving your reading comprehension. We have listed many short story suggestions to enhance your English learning process and fluency step by step in the different levels of proficiency such as beginner, intermediate and advanced. In this blog, we will learn about the meaning of the short story, and also why it is important to learn English through stories. Besides, we have listed some short story suggestions with different levels which will be interesting that you should read during English learning.

What is a short story?

A short story is a piece of brief fiction that can be generally read in a single sitting and focuses on a single plot, theme or character, typically ranging from a few paragraphs to a few pages in length. Short stories are known for their conciseness and the ability to convey a complete story or idea rather than novel. Short stories aim to tell a single story or theme in a focused manner. Due to having brevity they limited character development unlike novels. Also, characters are introduced in a limited plot and theme. Short story authors should choose precise words carefully to convey intended messages to their readers. They often have a twist ending that finishes a lasting impression on the reader as they want to evoke emotion or idea in a limited amount of time.

Learning English through stories

Reading short stories can help your development of consciousness in a morally and reasonable way. Learning English through stories can be an enjoyable activity to improve your learning skills for English. By reading short stories, you can easily understand your grammar mistakes. This helps grasping the logic of English during the learning process. Before learning English through stories, you should decide on which English level you have because it helps you choose an appropriate story for your abilities to enrich them. Starting with selecting stories that match your current English academic level, you can eagerly read short stories by internalizing your learning process. While learning English through stories, there are some points you pay attention to support your learning process in an influential way:

First of all, before starting to read the short story, you should decide on your appropriate story for your level.

As you progress empowering your English level and skills, you can choose increasingly more complex or longer stories.

Secondly, if the short story has audio adaptation, you can try this option that improves your listening skills and comprehension.

While reading the short story, you can also highlight unfamiliar words which you should not know in the short story.

After you finish reading the short story, you can discuss it with your friends by sharing your own thoughts and expectations about the short story.

If you are struggling to understand the short story, you can try to summarize the short story step by step. It is a useful way to practice also expressing your opinions and expectations about the plot, the theme, the characters of the short story.

Moreover, learning English through stories takes time and you should be encouraged to engage with the process of learning English without any hesitations.

Short Stories in English for Beginners

If you are a beginner in English, you should read short stories that include a simple narrative, straightforward language and basic sentences to be comprehensible for you. By reading these short stories, you can learn some moral messages about life and your relationships about being kind and loyal to yourself. They offer valuable life lessons for readers of all ages rather than being enjoyable for you. Here are the short stories with their brief explanations most commonly read for beginners.

The Rainbow Fish: This short story tells that the rainbow fish wants to know who he is by pointing to the individual identity and the morality of life.

The Tortoise and The Hare: An Aesop classic fable tells a moral story that slow and steady wins the race like the tortoise wins the race against the hare’s speed. The story teaches us the importance of consistency, determination, and not underestimating others.

The Very Hungry Caterpillar:This story about a caterpillar journey as the hungry caterpillar transforms into a beautiful butterfly.

Goldilocks and The Three Bears: This story is a popular and classic fairy tale. It includes a young girl named Goldilocks and a family of three bears. The story conveys a simple moral message about respecting others and other’s property.

The Little Red Hen:This story tells the importance of being hardworking, cooperative and helping others in this classical children tale.

The Ugly Duckling: This story is a popular children tale about acceptance of someone’s appearance and finding one’s true identity.

The Gingerbread Man: It is a classic folk tale about an arrogant gingerbread cookie that comes to life and runs away from various characters trying to catch him. One day, he is eaten by the fox. The moral message of the story is the consequences of being too arrogant for the readers.

Cinderella: The classic fairytale of Cinderella about kindness, love magic, and a happily ever after.

The Three Little Pigs: This story tells a fable about three little pigs who build their houses. The moral message is to learn about the value of planning and building things well in the story.

Jack and the Beanstalk: The story tells Jack’s magical and bravery adventure following the beanstalk and he encounters a giant.

Short Stories in English for Intermediate

If you are at an intermediate level in English, these short stories will enhance to provide a better English level for you. They can include some idiomatic expressions, a wide range of vocabulary and sentence structures for the intermediate readers. Here are the short stories with their brief explanations, which is most commonly read for intermediates:

The Gift of the Magi by O. Henry
It tells a young couple’s sacrifices to buy each other Christmas gifts, highlighting the power of love and selflessness.

Mr. Know-All by William Somerset Maugham
The story takes action passengers on a cruise ship, exploring themes of tolerance, and prejudice among the characters.

The Outsider by H.P.Lovecraft
A horror short story about a mysterious man describes a life of isolation in an ancient castle for a long time highlighting themes of cosmic horror, the unknown and alienation.

The Lottery by Shirley Jackson
The story criticizes the society’s ritual which turns into horrific results by making a strong statement about conformity and cruelty.

The Oval Portrait by Edgar Allan Poe
A gothic tale about a haunted painting and the tragic story behind it, exploring themes of art, love, obsession, and life versus art.

The Secret Life of Walter Mitty by James Thurber
A humorous story about a daydream man who escapes into vivid dreams, highlighting the contrast between his real life and his exciting inner world.

The Monkey’s Paw by W.W. Jacobs
A magical tale about a poor family encounters with an extraordinary monkey’s paw that grants wishes but with unintended results.

The Last Question by Isaac Asimov
A science fiction story that explores humanity’s efforts to find and preserve the inevitable energy of the universe through technology.

Harrison Bergeron by Kurt Vonnegut
A dystopian story that tells the extreme measures taken to achieve humanity’s equality, revealing the absurdity of enforced uniformity.

The Lady or The Tiger by Frank R. Stockton
A story of love, jealousy and an unusual choice between a young man who must decide between two doors, one concealing a lady and the other is a fierce tiger.

Short Stories in English for Advanced

As you progress your English understanding level and skills, you can start to read more complex and detailed short stories. If you are at an advanced level in English who seek emotionally evocative short stories, you can start to read these short stories that are known for their emotional depth, complexity, self awareness, human nature to societal issues, philosophical inquiry and thought-provoking themes with profound narratives for the advanced readers. Here are the short stories most commonly read for with their brief explanations that will provoke you to start reading.

The Dead by James Joyce
It is the final story in Joyce’s Dubliners. It takes place during a winter dinner party, the central character experiences a moment of profound awareness about his love and connection to his Irish roots.

The Garden Party by Katherine Mansfield
A story about a wealthy Sheridan family that hosts a garden in their house resulted in an unintended result offering insights into class and empathy by criticizing the hypocrisy of the aristocracy.

The Yellow Wallpaper by Charlotte Gilman Perkins
A psychological story about a woman who has postpartum depression leading to a disturbing obsession with the room’s wallpaper.

Bartleby, the Scrivener by Herman Melville
It tells the tale of an eccentric scrivener who always answers with “I would prefer not to” when asked to do tasks he can do.

The Snows of Kilimanjaro by Ernest Hemingway
A story of a man who is suffering from gangrene while he is on a safari in Africa, questioning his regrets and fantasies that he never achieved.

The Swimmer by John Cheever
The story begins with a man who decides to swim through the pools of his suburban neighborhood as he swims, he faces his life along with his realities and his own delusions through his existentialism.

The Ones Who Walk Away from Omelas by Ursula K. Le Guin
The story of the city which is called Omelas, this utopian city whose prosperity and happiness depends on the perpetual misery life of a single child also by forcing citizens to confront their moral values.

Barn Burning by William Faulkner
This story points out a family’s loyalty, moral dilemmas, and social class in the American South. By merging into it, a child wants to get revenge from his father as narrated by the third person.

The Story of An Hour by Kate Chopin
A feminist short story about a woman that loses her husband and rises into a strong woman by including criticism and a depth of psychological development for one hour.

A Good Man Is Hard To Find by Flannery O’Connor
A darkly humorous story about a family’s road trip that they encounter with a criminal, including themes of morality, love and grace.

Frequently Asked Questions About English Short Stories Beginner to Advanced Level

What is a short story?

A short story is a piece of brief fiction that can be generally read in a single sitting and focuses on a single plot, theme or character.

Why should you choose to learn English through stories?

Because learning English through stories can be an enjoyable activity to improve your learning skills for English.

What are the examples of the short stories for intermediate readers?

These short story examples are the Gift of the magi, Mr.Know-all, The Last Question, The Outsider, and The Secret Life of Walter Mitty,etc.

What are the examples of the short stories for advanced readers?

These short story examples are The Garden Party, The Swimmer, The Yellow Wallpaper, A Good Man Is Hard To Find, and The Ones Who Walk Away from Omelas,etc.

English Short Stories Beginner to Advanced Level: Would you like to put into practice what you have learned about English Short Stories Beginner to Advanced Level in English? If you wish, you can explore over 20,000 interactive video lessons on EnglishCentral, improve your vocabulary, and practice pronunciation. Alternatively, during live 1-on-1 English lessons, you can review what you have learned with your personal English tutor. How about signing up for EnglishCentral and starting to learn English right away?

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