Short Story Series: O. Henry

Short Story Series: O. Henry


About this course

This class is part of our Short Story Literature Series. Other classes in this series include:

Jack London

Edgar Allan Poe

Flannery O’Connor

Shirley Jackson

Sandra Cisneros

Recommended Ages: This class is ideal for students ages 10-17. Younger academically gifted students will be accepted.

Start Date: Not currently open for enrollment. Course consists of 1 lesson plan. No live classes- view lessons on YOUR schedule. Students have 2 weeks after the lesson plan is posted to complete the course.

Price: $15

Space Available: This class is not currently open for enrollment. Please join our mailing list to be informed when it is open again.

What is the difference between a short story and a novel (other than the length)? How can the shorter form help a writer focus closely on plot and action? How can a writer make their readers care about the characters they have created without the extra room of a longer novel?

In this course, we will read a widely celebrated short story from a famous American writer, and we will make comparisons to other works in their career to find common themes in the writer’s work. Students will learn how the short story form has shaped the history of modern literature, and we will look at examples of short stories that have enabled the writer to comment on their own culture and on the events of the world around them.

This 1-week course will introduce students to two major short stories from a single celebrated writer whose work has become known as one of the “classics” in American literature. This course will focus heavily on reading, and will provide full copies of stories we will cover for students to read on their own.


In this course, we will look at famous works from the American writer O. HENRY.

The first part of the class will focus on biographical information on the writer’s life and career, and will discuss why this person has remained such a significant voice in American Literature.

The second part of the class will look closely at the writer’s most famous short story, “The Gift of the Magi,” and will discuss why this story has had such a lasting impact on American culture.

Although this course will only require reading of the one short story, students are encouraged to continue reading other works of this famous writer on their own time, and links will be provided to find free downloadable e-books available in the public domain.

This class is geared toward younger readers!

LESSON PLAN: This is a 1 week class. Students have 2 weeks to complete all work. There is no “live” component to this class, which allows students to work at their own pace. This is a great option for busy students who need to work on their own schedule, and students who live all over the world and can’t easily coordinate time zones.

Lesson plans are a combination of power point, graphics, video, and audio. Each slide is fully narrated for students who prefer to hear material read to them.

MATERIALS: This course will focus heavily on reading, and full copies of stories we will cover will be provided for students to read on their own.

DISCUSSION: There will be discussions about the lesson plan with the instructor. Discussions take the place of quiz grades in this class, as discussing literature is what is most important. We also offer an “open talk” forum where students can have fun getting to know their classmates!

ASSIGNMENTS: Assignments contain multiple options for creative and/or analytical responses to the readings, including creative visual projects to depict scenes from each story and analytical critiques to understand the literary merits of the writer’s work. All submitted assignments will receive instructor feedback.

QUIZZES: There will be no quiz in this class. Quiz grades are replaced by discussion grades.

GRADES:  All quizzes and online assessments automatically receive a grade in the system. You have the option of having your student’s individual projects graded or not (all assignments receive instructor feedback). Report cards are issued at the end of the course- one for ungraded students and one for graded students. These mean nothing other than for your own records or reporting purposes. We do not maintain copies.

TIME: In general, expect 1-2 hours to work through the lesson plan, and an additional 2-5 hours working on assignments (it really depends what assignment your child chooses to do and how they manage their time).


Our course begins with the first step for generating great user experiences: understanding what people do, think, say, and feel. In this module, you’ll learn how to keep an open mind while learning.

Total numbers of students in course