Theme Resources

Resources to help your students develop a thorough understanding of how to determine themes in literature. (A few nonfiction reading passages are also included). These resources help you teach theme in a variety of different ways and addresses aspects of theme that students find most confusing.

Building Understanding

Teaching Theme Freebie ***FREE*** - a cut and paste activity that has students read 6 paragraphs and sort them based on the theme.

List of Common Themes in Literature - a list of one word themes and sentence themes often found in literature.

Themes Are Not Always Stated in the Passage -
Several activities that help students understand that themes are usually implied based from the text.  These activities use one word themes.

Different Passages Can Have the Same Theme -
3 cut and paste activities that help students understand that different passages with different characters and plots can have the same theme.  Students are given several different paragraphs and have to sort the paragraphs based on the themes.  These activities use sentence themes.

You Don't Have to Agree With the Theme  - 3 activities that help students understand that they do not have do agree with the theme.  Students read 2 short passages with contrasting themes and must think about which theme they most agree with.  These activities use sentence themes.

Details and Characters Support the Theme -
3 activities that help students understand that the details in passages - what characters say, do, and learn - help make themes clear.  Students read 2 passages that start off the same but end differently.  Students answer questions about the differences between the two passages to help them determine the themes of both passages.  Then, students are given a theme and have to write an ending to the passage with details that support the given theme.  These activities use sentence themes.

Theme Vs. Main Idea -
3 activities that help students understand the difference between theme and main idea.  Students read a passage and then fill in a graphic organizer that has them determine the theme, main idea, and supporting details.  The first two graphic organizers are scaffolded - the theme, main idea, and details are given - and students must determine which is which. These activities use sentence themes.

There Can Be More Than One Theme -
3 activities that help students understand that one reading passage can have more than one theme.  Students read a passage and then complete a cut and paste activity that requires them to think about details in the passage that support two different themes.

Themes Apply to Real Life -
3 activities that have students read a short passage and think about how the theme of the passage applies to their own life. 

Theme Games and Centers

Theme Mazes  - 5 mazes to help students think about how themes and main ideas are related to each other. Includes student recording sheet.

Theme Sort   Students are given 4 different themes and 12 short stories. Students must read the stories, determine the theme, and sort the stories appropriately.  Includes student recording sheet. 

Theme Writing Center Students choose a character, setting, and theme, and then write a story incorporating all of those elements. Ideas for characters, settings, and themes are provided if your students need some ideas.  Also includes writing paper and grading rubrics.  

Determining Theme Scavenger Hunt- A fun scavenger hunt activity where students find theme paragraph cards around the room, read the cards, and determine what theme best fits the card.