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Short stories are a vital part of English literature. These short story studies can be used to build a short story unit, to supplement other texts, or as a standby lesson.


Use this with our FREE Introduction to Short Stories two-page handout.


These activities support Cecil Castellucci's recent short story 'We Have Always Lived on Mars', which can be found free online by searching for the title.


Activities correspond to Bloom’s taxonomy of lower- to higher-order tasks.

  • A comprehension question checks knowledge and understanding
  • Application questions ask students to apply their knowledge of literary or rhetorical technique
  • Analytical questions interrogate the story’s effect, mood, and construction-strategies.
  • Creative writing tasks use an aspect of the story as a springboard to write creatively, discursively, or persuasively.


Castellucci's sci-fi story has been successfully used with a Stage 4 / Year 8 class (12-13 years).

Short Story Study: Cecil Castellucci, 'We Have Always Lived on Mars'

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