by Catherine Graham-Smith, St John's College, Woodlawn

A webquest which requires students to read, analyse and interpret short stories in preparation for the creation of their own short story.


"We would that words
become shooting stars,
like gods,
that they would rise up from the dead page
into living forms of light and dark,
into fountains of colour."

William Shakespeare



A story can be defined as a narrative or tale of real or fictitious events. A short story is one designed to be read in one sitting.

Stories are ubiquitous in our lives; they form part of our social and cultural worlds. We create narrative fiction for ourselves and others to make sense of the past and our behaviours and to give meaning to our lives. Stories have been called "the way we explain the world to ourselves and ourselves to ourselves". Stories are part of our everyday world -  in books and magazines; on TV, movies and the internet; in our family life and with our friends. 

Stories are magical: taking us into the past, the future or occurring in the present; transporting us to many new and exciting places and situations and introducing us to characters from different horizons. Stories are  entertainment, for the one telling the story and for the audience. How we tell a story depends on our purpose, audience and the context. Stories are a learning tool and a teaching tool. Stories communicate and have a purpose: they can create empathy, joy, understanding, sadness,  ... or a desire to keep reading to the very end.

Click on the "Task" button to begin your webquest on short stories.