Wednesday, June 29, 2016

Short Stories with Questions | Now Available at Ereading Worksheets

Usually around this time of the year, I start running out of stories in our reading textbook. This year I decided to do something about that.

First I collected 20 outstanding short stories.
Then I created 10 multiple-choice and long response questions for each.
Then I made these activities available as print-outs and Ereading Worksheets (interactive online activities).

The result is an awesome page full of short stories with questions.

I tried to pick stories that have ironic endings, interesting twists, and clever plots. Some of these stories contain mature themes and events. (I marked those texts, but be sure to read and approve each story before you assign.) But mostly these are just powerful stories that have stood the test of time.

Wait. Here's my favorite part:

I remade and revamped the format that I use for the Ereading Worksheets. I won't bore you with technical pedantry, as much as I would like to do that. Rather, I will bullet point some of the improvements that I made. Now, Internet connected students can do the following with these free online activities:

  • Read the text and take the test in the same tab
    (no more switching tabs).

  • Justify and support answers with text after each question . (You can also turn off the long response questions if you want.)

  • Complete these activities on desktops, tablets, and phones with improved visibility. (The old ones were hard to do on a phone.)

  • Popup vocabulary definitions just by hovering or clicking on the vocabulary words. I hand coded each term, including only the relevant definitions. That way students can better focus on reading stories rather than decoding dictionary entries.

  • Print, Save, and/or Email results as a PDF file... and now post quiz results to Facebook. Students get instant feedback. Teachers get automatic grading. Everybody wins. (Students may only share their letter grade on Facebook. Facebook integration is optional, not required for use.)

  • Enjoy improved accessibility. The old format rendered the text as images. This made them scale to different displays in a uniform way. But this approach has many horrible effects. The worst of which concerns accessibility. Students using screen readers and assistive technology couldn't complete the activities. Now the text is actually rendered as text. "Yay" for accessibility!
I could prattle on about this but I've already wasted enough words.
You should just check one out for yourself

I highly recommend using the online versions of these activities in your class. But tech isn't for everyone and some people have limited access to tech. So, these activities are available in the classic formats as well. (.rtf files for editing and making changes and .pdf files for true print layout.) I made special efforts to format each text so that it would use as little paper as possible. I was able to get most of these stories on 2-sides. Some required 3. A few required 4. And one story, which moved me to tears, took 6 sides, but I had to include it. (It was "A Piece of Steak" by Jack London if you were wondering.) By optimizing for paper use, I couldn't define all the words that I wanted in every text. But I felt that keeping the sheet count low was the most important consideration for teachers.

Please remember that these are newly created resources. Kindly report any errors that you find in these or other activities to Or just reply to this email. I spend a lot of time producing content and less time proofreading than I should. Your help in perfecting the posted material is much appreciated.

Also, if you hadn't noticed. I made a pretty cool online parts of speech app and released it in February. Students can use this app in any modern web browser or download it on the iTunes App Store. It's free. It's awesome. Not a whole lot of people are using it currently. It's one of the better kept secrets on the site.

Lastly, I want to thank everyone for sharing my content with others. It means a lot to me. Thank you for "liking" my Facebook page. Thank you for linking to my site. And thank you for telling teachers, parents, and students about You're referrals inspire me and allow me to do more with the site.