Stories Without End: 24 open-ended stories to teach reading and creative writing

Grade Levels
6th - 12th, Higher Education, Adult Education
Formats Included
  • PDF
144 pages
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What's a story starter?

It's just what it sounds like, a story that starts but has no end. More developed than a short writing prompt, this story prompt gives students the first part of a story that ends on a cliff-hanger. Because the story has no end, students will have to create their own drawing on their creativity. Even the most reluctant writer will find themselves sucked in with this deceptively simple method of getting students to write! Each story is also supported with questions and vocabulary activities to introduce the story and followed by discussion questions. This highly flexible, unfinished story model is perfect for teaching reading, creative writing, or discussion. It's easy to use as a one-time treat or integrate into a larger creative writing unit.

Creative, intriguing short stories to make students think and wonder what if. . .

Stories Without End engages students with literature through intriguing short stories that make them think and wonder. What if we could teleport anywhere in the world whenever we wanted to? Will robots ever replace human teachers? Why are some people optimists while others are pessimists? Where does our personality come from?

This is a pdf edition of the paperback book designed to be downloaded and printed for one classroom use.

Each of the 24 stories in this pdf printable book include:

  • An introduction with suggestions on how to use the story.
  • A hero image and preview questions to introduce the theme of the story
  • A vocabulary preview activity
  • The story itself
  • Comprehension and discussion questions
  • Guided questions to help students write their ending
  • Other extension ideas and projects such as: writing character sketches, drawing a scene from the story, interviewing people about the theme of the story, or keeping a dream journal.


These also work for distance learning as students can read the story on their own, discuss the questions via online lessons or forums, and then send their endings to you. They can even share them on a class blog or forum for everyone to read and critique!


What do teachers think?

“the storylines are imaginative and varied, and the concept of encouraging written fluency by getting students to create their own ‘flash fiction’ is something my classes enjoyed immensely” —IATEFL Voices

“One of the best [lessons] this year for engagement, and tonnes of language production.” —Peter Clements, British Councils

"The different format and the inclusion of pre-reading motivation questions and post-reading discussion questions and activities really make this stand out among the “writing prompts” that I’ve encountered. I also appreciate the diversity in terms of reading levels and genres." — Brittany G., Teacher

"...a wonderful jumping point for creative writing in the classroom. You could use this book for any age/grade and adapt the expectation of a creative response to suit." "— Carmen M., Educator

"Every classroom should own a copy of this" — Catherine H., Librarian

Students love these too:

"These stories] improved my reading speed and are useful to extend reading skills."


"We can learn new words and develop creativity."


"Very interesting and easy to understand."


"The book was really fun!"

—Yurie S.


You can also browse the individual stories from this collection and others:

Digital Story Starters on Google Forms. Perfect for Distance Learning

Printable PDF Story Starters

  • A Nice Bike: A biker gets a proposal to deliver a package that may or may not be legal.
  • Assassin: A assassin gets the biggest challenge of his life. Can he do this one or not?
  • Bad Dog: A man is trying to get rid of his dog after the dog ruined too many of his priceless antiques
  • Choose a Path: A mysterious road leads to a place where your dreams are realized. What exactly is waiting there?
  • Dyslexia: Can two tech addicts find love with each other?
  • Family Matters: Three families meet. In one the man works and the woman stays home with the kids. In another it’s the reverse. In a third, both parents work. What’s your ideal family like?
  • Gifted: A mom has to decide whether to put her daughter in the gifted class. But what exactly does gifted mean in this case.
  • House Husband: In this gender stereotype reversal story, a househusband rushes home to make dinner for his demanding wife, whose just going to pick a fight and go out with her buddies at the bar any way.
  • I Love Horse(s): A cultural misunderstanding leads to a weird dinner for an American exchange student leaving Japan.
  • Joe and the Beans: A retelling of “Jack and the Beanstalk” in modern times.
  • Last Human Teacher: Robots can know every fact and even monitor classroom behavior perfectly. So why should people teach?
  • Long Line: Everyone is waiting on an endless line. Why and what happens at the end?
  • Long Sleep: A man faces a choice. Be frozen with his terminally ill wife or live life never seeing her again.
  • Lunch Break: Teleportation devices make lunch times interesting for an international family.
  • Pick a Pet: Which pet should a boy choose for his birthday?
  • Scary House: What’s in the scary house in the neighborhood? The new kid is about to find out.
  • Silvio: What do you do about a middle-schooler who still has an imaginary friend? Accommodate them or challenge them?
  • The Chase: A golfer gets hit by a ball on the course. Should he enact revenge or let it go?
  • The Eyes Have It: They say the eyes are the windows to the soul. But is it really so easy to read someone’s mood?
  • The Glass is Half: Mr. Happy and Mr. Sad have very different days.
  • The Train Pusher: A train pusher in Tokyo falls in love with a commuter. Love or creepy obsession?
  • T-Rex Window: A boy wakes up from a terrifying nightmare where a dinosaur is attacking him. Or does he?
  • Zodiac Personality: Does your horoscope really determine your personality?
  • Mexican Standoff: Five mysterious strangers are all pointing guns at each other. How did it get to this?
  • Magic Tattoo: A tattoo artist gives people tattoos with magical powers. What tattoo will you get?
  • Ghost Hunter: A night in a cemetery could lead to a very scary encounter, a boring night, or maybe something else.
  • Doppelganger: What if you met your exact copy?
  • Don’t Open the Door: Your reflection warns you this will be a bad day. Do you listen?
  • Body Swap: What if you could swap bodies with anyone in the world?
  • Mind Control: What if you had a device that let you control someone else’s mind?
  • Modern Dating: We have online relationships, people marrying video game characters, or even themselves. Will people ever marry their pets? Fall in love with AI? What's the next step in the evolution of relationships?
  • Money Tree: What could be better than a tree that gives you money?
  • Monster in the Closet: What's making a noise in Joanne's closet?
  • Perfect Match: What if a computer decided who you could marry?
  • Robot Companion: Your new fully programmable AI robot has arrived. What will you do with it?
  • Secret Society: You are asked to join a powerful secret society. But are they good or evil?
  • Smart Phone: What's the amazing new smartphone feature or app that has everyone talking.
  • The End of the World: You've been wandering through an apocalyptic landscape your whole life totally alone. Until now.
  • The Protector and the Assassin: Go with the Protector if you don't want to be killed by the Assassin.
  • Three Wishes: You find a magic lamp. What will you wish for?
  • Treasure Chest: What's in the real Pandora's Box?
  • Unimaginable Feast: What dish do you bring to the most magical feast in the world?
Total Pages
144 pages
Answer Key
Teaching Duration
Lifelong tool
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to see state-specific standards (only available in the US).
Demonstrate understanding of figurative language, word relationships, and nuances in word meanings.
Determine or clarify the meaning of unknown and multiple-meaning words and phrases by using context clues, analyzing meaningful word parts, and consulting general and specialized reference materials, as appropriate.
Apply knowledge of language to understand how language functions in different contexts, to make effective choices for meaning or style, and to comprehend more fully when reading or listening.
Demonstrate command of the conventions of standard English grammar and usage when writing or speaking.
Develop and strengthen writing as needed by planning, revising, editing, rewriting, or trying a new approach.


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