63 Short Stories for Middle School: Free PDF Downloads

Below you’ll find the best short stories for middle school: our 16 favorites, One Page Stories, Funny Stories, Mysteries, Horror, Science Fiction, Literary, Classics, and Adventure.

Want stories for high school? Go here.

Best Short Stories for Middle School: Free PDF

Below we’ve selected our favorite 16 short stories for middle school. These 16 stories can be found in our free PDF download (click thumbnail to preview). Accompanying lesson plans can also be found at TpT with over 182 pages of thought-provoking and engaging material.

What’s in our lesson plans? See here.

Expanded Best Short Stories for MS

Lamb to the Slaughter

By Roald Dahl
In a fit of rage, a wife murders her husband. Now what is she to do? How will she get rid of the evidence?

The Landlady

By Roald Dahl
A young man in search of lodging for the night finds more than he bargained for at a mysterious bed & breakfast run by a strange old woman.

The Most Dangerous Game

By Richard Connell
A madman hunts human beings for sport on his private island. But with his latest “guest” he may have finally met his match.

The Pedestrian

By Ray Bradbury
A man goes out for a walk in a dark, lonely city of the future only to discover that sometimes even walking is an act of rebellion.

The Veldt

By Ray Bradbury
The classic tale of the dangers of technology replacing reality and a critique of lackadaisical parenting.

The Monkey’s Paw

By WW Jacobs
The greatest tale ever told about being careful what you wish for, with one of the finest endings ever penned.

The Hitchhiker

By Lucille Fletcher
A radio play written by a master of the form about a man driving the lonely American highways, and the hitchhiker who appears time & again.

Sorry, Wrong Number

By Lucille Fletcher
A woman asks an operator to connect her call but ends up dialed into a party line where two men are discussing a murder.

Third From the Sun

By Richard Matheson
A family looks to escape their home planet to avoid impending nuclear war. Can they make it out without getting caught?

Time Enough at Last

By Lynn Venable
All he wanted was a little time to read. Then the bombs fell, and he finally had all the time he could ever want.

The Black Cat

By Edgar Allan Poe
A man descends slowly into alcoholism, madness and murder in Poe’s twisted tale of a man haunted by the ghost of the cat he has killed.

The Cask of Amontillado

By Edgar Allan Poe
The all-time classic tale of the perfect revenge. Fortunato thinks he’s getting a rare taste of wine, but Montresor has other plans.

The Lottery

By Shirley Jackson
Perhaps the greatest twist ending in 20th Century fiction. A wicked tale of a small town lottery and the danger of tradition.

The 9 Billion Names of God

By Arthur C Clarke
A group of monks atop a mountain need a computer to help them write down all nine billion names of God.

Harrison Bergeron

By Kurt Vonnegut
In the future, excellence in any way. is forbidden and strictly controlled. Until one young man decides to rebel.

One Page Short Stories
for Middle School

Some days all you have time for is a one page short story. Or maybe a two pager. The stories below are some of the shortest tales you can find for free online, written by a variety of masters: O. Henry, Gabriel Garcia Marquez, Martha Salinas, Philip K. Dick and more.

The Bet

By Anton Chekhov
“Who is the more humane executioner, one who kills you in a few seconds or one who draws the life out of you incessantly, for years?”

The Disciple

By Oscar Wilde
Everyone knows the story of Narcissus who wasted away staring at his reflection. But what about the pool’s point of view?

The Scholarship Jacket

By Marth Salinas
Martha spent years earning that jacket. But some teachers want to give it to a school board member’s daughter.

Hearts & Hands

By O Henry
“Among the newcomers were two young men, one of handsome presence…the other a ruffled, glum-faced person…The two were handcuffed together.”

Story of an Hour

By Kate Chopin
“Knowing that Mrs. Mallard was afflicted with a heart trouble, great care was taken to break to her as gently as possible the news of her husband’s death.”

The Dinner Party

By Mona Gardner
A lovely and lively dinner party. A daring wager put to all in attendance. A cunning guest who knows more than she’s letting on.

A Tent in Agony

By Stephen Crane
An encounter with the local wildlife goes horribly wrong when an old black bear walks into a tent looking for some food.

One of These Days

By Gabriel Garcia Marquez
A dentist must remove the tooth of the local Mayor, who happens to be a sworn enemy. He takes the job.


By Julia Alvarez
“At the hotel my mother was Missus Alburest, and I was little girl, as in, ‘Hey, little girl, stop riding the elevator up and down. It’s not a toy.’”

Funny Short Stories
For Middle School

Few writers have the knack for crafting funny short stories for middle school. Laughter on the page is a tough trick, but some authors pull it off time and again.

The Story of the Bad Little Boy

By Mark Twain
Once there was a bad little boy named Jim — though, if you notice, you’ll find that bad little boys are nearly always called James…

Seventh Grade

By Gary Soto
A seventh grade boy finds himself trying to impress his crush and relying on the suspect advice of his friends.

Affair at 7 Rue de M

By John Steinbeck
A young boy who loves to chew gum discovers one day that his wad of bubble gum enjoys chewing him! An amusing tale of the supernatural.

Ransom of Red Chief

By O Henry
“We chose for our victim the only child of an influential citizen named Ebenezer Dorset. He was a boy of ten, with red hair.”

Mystery Short Stories
for Middle School

Who doesn’t love a good mystery short story for middle school? Whether a story of classic detection like Sherlock Holmes or a wonderful twist on murder most foul, mystery stories are a delight.

Adventure of the Speckled Band

By Arthur Conan Doyle
A classic mystery of a locked room murder, Doyle considered this to be the finest short story he ever wrote.

Three Tools of Death

By GK Chesterton
A troubled girl’s father is found dead, and Father Brown must unravel his mysterious murder by one of three deadly weapons.

Night Drive

By Will F Jenkins
Madge just wanted to pick up her husband, but an unexpected passenger leads to dark and terrible truth about the human soul.


By Shirley Jackson
Why did Charles hit the teacher? Was it just because the teacher made him write with red crayons?

On the Sidewalk Bleeding

By Evan Hunter
“He lay on the sidewalk, bleeding, and he thought only: That was a fierce rumble. They got me good that time, but he did not know he was dying.”

Scary Short Stories
For Middle School

We love scary short stories for middle school. Better yet though: middle school kids love scary stories themselves. Of all the tales we’ve used in the classroom, few have as much impact as the dark and spooky journeys found here.

Click Clack the Rattlebag

By Neil Gaiman
“We walked along the upper corridor in the shadows, walking from patch of moonlight to patch of moonlight. It really was a big house.”

The Lake

By Ray Bradbury
A young man returns to his hometown after getting married only to discover the ghost of a girl he once loved as a boy.

The Elevator

By William Sleator
Twelve year old Martin is afraid of the elevator in his new apartment building. He tries to avoid it. He should have tried harder.

Dracula’s Guest

By Bram Stoker
Removed by Stoker from the novel, this tale serves as an excellent introduction to the greatest of all vampires: Count Dracula.

The Wife’s Story

By Ursula K LeGuin
“He was a good husband, a good father. I don’t understand it. I don’t believe in it. I don’t believe that it happened. I saw it happen but it isn’t true.”

The Terrible Old Man

By HP Lovecraft
Not all old men are as weak and helpless as they seem. This is a truth three misguided thieves discover all too late.

Classic Short Stories
For Middle School

Classic short stories for middle school stand the test of time. They continue to resonate with readers of every new generation. The classic short stories here are among some of the best ever written.

The Necklace

By Guy de Maupassant
One of the finest short stories by one of the great practitioners of the form, with a gut kick of a twist ending.

The Lady or the Tiger?

By Frank Stockton
Behind one door a beautiful lady. Behind the other a voracious and hungry tiger. Make your choice very carefully.

After 20 Years

By O. Henry
Two men agreed to meet again in one spot 20 years later. But when two strangers collide in that spot in the night, they discover the irony of fate.

The Rocking Horse Winner

By DH Lawrence
A little boy believes that he can correctly guess the derby winners each time by riding his rocking horse.

An Occurrence at Owl Creek Bridge

By Ambrose Bierce
A man is to be hung at Owl Creek Bridge. But the rope snaps and he escapes. Or does he? One of the great twist endings of all time.

The Gift of the Magi

By O. Henry
The classic tale of a man and wife who sacrifice their greatest treasures for each other on Christmas Eve.

Adventure Short Stories
for Middle School

Adventure short stories for middle school take readers far and away. Deep into the jungle. Onto deserted (or not so deserted) islands. Into lonely lighthouses. All these adventure stories are exciting, engaging and full of surprises.

The Boar Hunt

By Jose Vasconcelos
A hunting party deep in the jungle believes they’ve come across the ultimate score. But the tables quickly turn.

The Treasure in the Forest

By HG Wells
Two ruthless treasure hunters have murdered a man for his treasure map. But what they find in the forest i smore than they imagined.

Three Skeleton Key

By George Toudouze
My most terrifying experience? Well, one does have a few in thirty-five years of service in the Lights, although it’s mostly monotonous…

The Sniper

By Liam O’Flaherty
“On a rooftop near O’Connell Bridge, a Republican sniper lay watching. Beside him lay his rifle and…a pair of field glasses.”

A Sound of Thunder

By Ray Bradbury
In the future, hunters use time travel to venture back into the past to hunt the most dangerous game of all time.

Science Fiction Short Stories
for Middle School

Science fiction short stories for middle school push the boundaries of the imagination. They ask what if in ways that few other types of stories can. These science fiction short stories stand out as some of the most powerful of the form.

Hey You Down There!

By Harold Rolseth
A wickedly humorous story about a couple digging a well who discover an unknown race deep underground.

The Eyes Have It

By Philip K Dick
It was quite by accident I discovered this incredible invasion of Earth by lifeforms from another planet…

Mars is Heaven

By Ray Bradbury
They land on Mars only to discover themselves in a town that looks exactly like one they left on Earth, and it’s filled with people they know.

There Will Come Soft Rains

By Ray Bradbury
What happens in the future when nuclear war has wiped out all of humanity and all that’s left is our technology winding down?

Literary Short Stories
for Middle School

Literary short stories for middle school explore life and all of its mysteries. The stories below capture life at a variety of extremes and reveal powerful insights into life, death, greed, fear and more.

The Friday That Changed Everything

By Anne Hart
A school teacher considers changing the rules, pitting the boys against the girls in a tale of power and jealousy.

The Storm

By McKnight Malmar
A woman arrives home alone on the eve of a great storm. Waiting for her husband, she believes she’s found a body in the cellar.

A Christmas Memory

By Truman Capote
The classic short story recounting Capote’s childhood memories of him and his best friend as they try to gather money to purchase what they need to bake fruitcakes for Christmas.

The Circuit

By Francisco Jimenez
The peak of the strawberry season was over and the last few days the workers, most of them braceros, were not picking as many boxes.

Treasure of Lemon Brown

By Walter Dean Myers
“There weren’t any more scraping noises, but he was sure he had heard something in the darkness—something breathing!”

Everyday Use

By Alice Walker
“In real life I am a large, big-boned woman with rough, man-working hands…I can kill and clean a hog as mercilessly as a man.”

One Friday Morning

By Langston Hughes
“Casually, one day, Miss Dietrich asked Nancy Lee what color frame she thought would be best on her picture. That had been the first inkling.”

Rules of the Game

By Amy Tan
“I was six when my mother taught me the art of invisible strength. It was a strategy for winning arguments, respect from others…”

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