YA Literature – Scary Stories to Tell in the Dark

Part IImage

Schwartz, A., & Gammell, S. (1981). Scary stories to tell in the dark. New York: Lippincott.

Genre: YA Literature/Pre 1990

Age Level: 8-12 years

Grade Level: 4 and up

Part II


1. What is American Folklore?

2. What are some elements that make a story scary?


Just by evaluating the cover of the book and by skimming through it, I can tell that this book is an illustrated scary story book. The title tells me that the stories come from American Folklore, which means that they have a history. I can assume that the chapters are broken up by their content. The drawings are pretty terrifying! I can tell that these stories are for an older audience (the lesson I researched is for 6th-12th grade). The picture on the front of the book tells me that the book is centered around traditional stories because of the old fashioned house, pipe, and tomb stones.

Part III


I love the layout of this book. It makes it easy for young adults to read because of the short stories/chapters. It’s also a great reference for readers to use after they’re done with the book in case the book is needed for a sleepover or another fun activity. The theme for the book makes it super interesting for young readers because it’s something mysterious and creepy! Kids love to read stuff that’s interesting in that way. The stories are a great introduction to more in depth novel reading, too. The research behind the stories must be extensive because they’re based on history. The chapter division is great (by category) and I love that there’s an explanation of each chapter before it begins. The illustrations throughout the book are haunting and engaging.

Part IV

Grade Level: 6th – 12th 

Questions: What is a scary story? What are the elements of a scary story?

Lesson Sketch: Read the stories as a class (great for Halloween) using a flashlight. Pass the book of approved stories around and ask for people’s own stories. Generate class discussions. This lesson can go on for one day or one week depending on the time spent on the stories. 

1. Student participation (reading and sharing their own story)
2. Student behavior

Optional Activities:
1. Have students write their own scary story
2. Working in groups, have students write their own scary script and record on tape/CD


Cite textual evidence to support analysis of what the text says explicitly as well as inferences drawn from the text.
Determine a theme or central idea of a text and how it is conveyed through particular details; provide a summary of the text distinct from personal opinions or judgments.
Describe how a particular story’s or drama’s plot unfolds in a series of episodes as well as how the characters respond or change as the plot moves toward a resolution.


http://socorro.schooldesk.net/LinkClick.aspx?fileticket=vlJVr2j0A3g%3D&tabid=8007&mid=14178 – Document Download

http://www.scaryforkids.com/stories-to-tell/ – Website with the scary stories from the book on it!

http://lessonplanspage.com/lahalloweenscarystories612-htm/ – Lesson plan incorporating scary stories/elements.


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