Remember school days when the power would go out? Your teachers would gather your class in a tight circle, faces lit dimly by the emergency lights, and pull out a scary story. Those were some of our favorite times at school. With Halloween around the corner, teachers don't even need to wait for the excuse of a thunderstorm to entertain and engage their students with spooky tales.
When choosing a story to read to your students, make sure the story is one that reads well out loud, so try reading a story ahead of time to confirm how it would sound. Many excellent books of scary tales are for curling up with on the couch, but that's not what you need in the classroom. The August House Book of Scary Stories is full of stories specifically written to be read aloud and shared in a group. Many of our favorite storytellers—Judy and Richard Dockrey Young, Margaret Read MacDonald, Olga Loya, Martha Hamilton and Mitch Weiss, and others—have contributed their favorite scary stories to the collection. These stories are well-tested, spooky crowd pleasers for kids 7 to 70 years old.
An important skill of a storyteller is the ability to adapt a story to their audience. Do your students prefer ghost stories or urban legends? Dark humor or lessons learned? The August House Book of Scary Stories is sorted into scary story "subgenres" so you can quickly flip to the right story for your class. We also made sure there's a section about fearless females, as scary stories aren't just for boys.
However, some teachers may be hesitant about putting lessons on hold for story time. This makes complete sense; teachers are under a tremendous amount of pressure to cover a large amount of material, meet Common Core Standards, and prepare for standardized tests. Story time, however, doesn't need to be a break from the current lesson. Stories in August House Book of Scary Stories come from all around the world. Mexican Folk Legends, African-American Folktales, and Japanese Ghost Stories can easily be fit into units on culture, history, and geography.
Still hesitant about the benefits of adding a spooky story time? Here's some research about the many ways you can use story for teaching in the classroom.