Do you wonder how to study short stories with your children–and how to use a short story to help them understand how a good writer develops a story? Or perhaps you as a parent feel that your understanding of story writing is lacking, and you’d like to develop your own skills. Well, you can learn writing skills together by studying short stories!
Following is an example from a study I did with one of my tutoring students. The story is “The Wild Duck’s Nest” by Michael McLaverty, and we used the copy from p 230-233 of the anthology, Impact: 50 Short Short Stories, Second Edition, Holt, Rinehart & Winston, c1996. The story in this book is followed by Multiple Choice comprehension questions, Talking It Over questions, Setting and Character discussion, Vocabulary Multiple Choice and Matching, and Writing It Down description and sensory images exercises. The entire anthology includes exercises like these for each story, and if you can find a copy of the anthology for your short story studies, I do recommend it–though I think you will find the hints in my discussion below will help your child go beyond “paperwork” type exercises. However, if you can’t find this anthology, you can do an internet search for “The Wild Duck’s Nest by Michael McLaverty” and will find multiple locations with copies of the story, a number of which include useful worksheets and discussion questions. Or you can use the explanations below to develop your own study with a short story of your choice.