The Best Funny Short Stories to Teach in Middle and High School


Humor has a way of breaking down barriers, engaging students, and fostering a positive learning environment. In middle and high school, literature courses can introduce students to funny short stories that entertain while teaching valuable life lessons. This article highlights some of the best funny short stories that can be used effectively in various educational settings.

1. “The Celebrated Jumping Frog of Calaveras County” by Mark Twain

Mark Twain’s witty tale of a gambling man and his trained frog is an excellent example of classic American humor. As students follow the outlandish exploits of Jim Smiley and his very talented frog, they’ll be exposed to the engaging power of storytelling while learning about elements such as exaggeration, irony, and regional dialects.

2. “Lamb to the Slaughter” by Roald Dahl

In this darkly humorous story, Roald Dahl takes readers on a twisted journey involving a devoted wife, her unsuspecting husband, and an unorthodox murder weapon. Besides its ability to elicit laughs, this tale also serves as an excellent vehicle for exploring themes like betrayal, manipulation, and fast thinking in dire circumstances.

3. “The Secret Life of Walter Mitty” by James Thurber

James Thurber’s amusing story chronicles the daydreams of Walter Mitty, an ordinary man with an extraordinary imagination. As Mitty escapes into his vivid fantasies during mundane daily tasks, students can delve into discussions about escapism and the importance of finding balance between fantasy and reality.

4. “Tobermory” by Saki

Featuring a talking cat named Tobermory who candidly shares the guests’ secrets at a high-society party, Saki’s satirical take on human behavior can provide endless opportunities for classroom discussion about honesty vs. white lies, hypocrisy, and how people mask their true feelings.

5. “The Necklace” by Guy de Maupassant

In this ironic tale, Guy de Maupassant tells the story of Madame Loisel, a woman who longs for a life of wealth and luxury but is beset by tragedy as she endeavors to obtain it. By exploring themes like false appearances, materialism, and unexpected consequences, students can gain insights into the human condition while enjoying Maupassant’s distinctive sense of humor.

6. “The Open Window” by Saki

In this tale of twisted wit, a young girl named Vera takes advantage of an unsuspecting visitor’s nerves with a fictionalized horror story. Besides its entertainment value, “The Open Window” invites discussions about deception, storytelling techniques, and the art of playing on others’ fears to manipulate their perceptions.


These six stories are just a few examples of funny literature tailor-made for middle and high school students. Incorporating these captivating tales into classroom curriculums can not only entertain students but also stimulate their critical thinking skills and provide ample opportunities for thought-provoking discussions that contribute to their personal growth and development.

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