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Winter Literature for Middle and High School Students

When the days grow shorter, the air cools, and snow falls, it’s time to share winter literature with your secondary students. The winter season can feel magical with breathtaking snowy landscapes and hot cocoa next to a crackling fire. Bring that winter magic to your classroom with winter themed literature.

Here are five winter poems and short stories to share with your middle and high school students.

"Blizzard" by Linda Pastan

Although Linda Pastan’s poem “Blizzard” is brief, the language she uses is impactful. Her vivid description of a blizzard makes this a great poem to read while teaching imagery and figurative language.

The image shows a few pages from a poetry analysis unit for "Stopping by Woods on a Snowy Evening." It shows a sketch of the scene based on imagery from the poem, and it also shows a page about the poem's form.

"Stopping by Woods on a Snowy Evening" by Robert Frost

Robert Frost’s poem “Stopping by Woods on a Snowy Evening” may seem short and simple at first glance, but there’s a lot for students to analyze as the narrator stops to take in a wintery landscape. The beautiful winter scene in this poem is perfect for teaching students about mood.

"Fish Cheeks" by Amy Tan

“Fish Cheeks” by Amy Tan provides readers with insights into the relationships of a Chinese American family. The narrator recounts when her crush is invited to Christmas dinner and the embarrassment she feels as Chinese dishes are served.

The image shows pages from a short story unit for "The Gift of the Magi." It shows the full text with guided reading questions,  SIFT chart, writing prompts, character analysis chart, and quiz.

"The Gift of the Magi" by O. Henry

O. Henry’s short story “The Gift of the Magi” is a classic Christmas tale. A young couple with little money struggle to buy each other meaningful Christmas gifts. With an ironic twist, the couple realizes they are willing to sacrifice for one another. This story can be used to teach theme, situational irony, and allusions.

"To Build a Fire" by Jack London

Jack London’s short story “To Build a Fire” depicts a man’s struggle to survive in the Yukon’s winter climate. The man is hiking with only his dog and ignores warning signs of the cold. He does not become aware of the danger he has put himself in until it is too late. “To Build a Fire” can be used to teach symbols and theme.

Winter is the perfect time of year to curl up with a good read. I hope you and your students enjoy some winter literature.

Happy teaching!




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