Could short stories help interest children in reading?

This is an interesting question worth looking into.  Adults are forever lamenting the shortening attention spans of each generation.  With angle changes in movies every three seconds and video games that are motion extravaganzas, it is hardly surprising that children are bored with the shockingly inactive letters on a page.

I've always felt that reading is a learned skill.  Interest has to be nurtured in a child.  Parents have to not only introduce reading but also show their children that they enjoy reading themselves.  Bedtime stories can have a powerful impact on how the future adult views the solitary pastime of reading a book.

But what about slightly older children that already have formed views on reading?  Short stories may be a gentle way to introduce them into the literary world.  A short story is manageable.  It's not a threatening 400 page novel with twists and turns everywhere.  Due to the length of the short story, the language is usually concise and clear.  It's also no difficult to keep track of all of the characters.

For me, my passion for reading did not really spark until I found a series of Star Wars books that peaked my interest back in the day.  After that, I would read anything I could get my hands on.  But it's important to have that first "spark."  A short story could be something that provides that opportunity.


  1. Short stories are great. I totally agree, but so are shorter action-oriented chapter books. What made the difference for my daughter way back when (she's 14 now) were the books in the Magic Tree House series. One read and she was hooked! And from there it was just a short step to Harry Potter! Lol.
    But yeah, I get your point. Short stories are a ton less threatening for reluctant readers.
    But then, sometimes when I talk about my shorts to some of my grown colleagues who are pretty much non-readers, they ask how long they are and I say "Oh not long at all. Less than 40 printed pages."
    I usually get this kind of response: "What? That's so long! That's as long as the Bible!"


    Shana Hammaker
    Twelve Terrifying Tales for 2011

  2. I remember that series! Indian in the Cupboard was a great one too.


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