Short stories – Telling life
A Teachers’ Guide
This article aims at showing a possible way of using short stories to effectively bring young non-English students of English Literature closer to the art of telling stories, enhancing their interest in literature and helping them develop an independent approach to it. Six short stories, for a total class time of 24 hours, have been selected from the works of Mark Twain, Saki, O. Henry, Edith Wharton, to be read by a Liceo Linguistico, Fourth Year. The main focus was not on literary analysis, nor on literary history and criticism, but on an authentic reading/listening experience. Although this work includes warm-ups and guided reading and understanding activities, the learners’ experience was made as independent as possible from ‘cultural interferences’ like, for example, the emphasis on ‘literary awareness’ (conscious knowledge of genres, of techniques etc.). In addition, the 25 students will be asked to write their own short stories (with the help of guidelines), seven of which to be told to the class after the end of the second phrase.