Welcome to Short Story Guide,
This site is designed to help middle school / high school teachers and reading lovers find the right story, and allow them to easily read online short stories free, where possible.
Stories are categorized by subject / topic and theme. (See the left side menu) Most stories could be put in several different categories and many are on more than one page. I’ve tried to put them where they fit best.
Authors who have their own pages are listed in the top menu, as well as any special categories.
When another page has a related theme I will cross-reference it at the top of the page.
When individual stories from another page also represent the given subject or theme very well I will list them at the bottom of the page.
“A story is a way to say something that can’t be said any other way, and it takes every word in the story to say what the meaning is.” – Flannery O’Connor
I try not to give away anything significant in the story or anything that happens late in the story. But be warned that simply categorizing them can sometimes be a bit of a spoiler.
If you’re looking to read free short stories online, I provide a link where possible. Some of the stories without links are available as downloads or can be read on sites that require registration.
(of the short story) “…it achieves closure – meaning that, when it ends, the attentive reader understands why.” – Joyce Carol Oates
As I come across more good stories to read online they will be added to the appropriate pages, and more categories will also be added.
I hope this list of short stories will be a useful teachers’ resource, particularly for teaching middle and high school reading, English or Language Arts.
However, the stories haven’t been specially selected for students. The site is also for the general short story reader.
Teachers, please note that you might not feel all the stories are appropriate for students of all ages.
There are some affiliate links on this site.
“Unlike the novel, a short story may be, for all purposes, essential.” – Jorge Luis Borges
(on what a short story is) “A shaft driven straight into the heart of human experience.” – Edith Wharton
“Short stories are the deep, encoded crystallizations of all human knowledge. They are rarefied, dense meaning machines, shedding light on the most pressing of life’s dilemmas.” – George Saunders
“Conciseness is the sister of talent.” – Anton Chekhov
(Looking for some very short non-fiction?)