Teaching Theme Activities Bundle - Teaching Theme in Literature Lessons

Rated 4.83 out of 5, based on 302 reviews
302 Ratings
Grade Levels
4th - 5th, Homeschool
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115 pages
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What educators are saying

This was a great resource that allowed for differentiation. My students really understood theme after using most of the activities.
This was a great resource for teaching Theme. My students loved the scavenger hunt and I loved the passages. I will be using it next year with my students.

Products in this Bundle (4)


    This resource includes 4 low prep determining theme resources to make teaching theme easier on you and more understandable for your students. There are worksheets, reading passages, games, centers, cut and paste activities, lists of common themes, scavenger hunts, sorts, and more for finding the theme review.

    Save almost 30% when you buy the bundle!

    This teaching theme activities bundle includes:

    Determining Theme - Scaffolded to Build Understanding

    This resource is scaffolded to help your students develop a thorough understanding of how to determine themes in literature. It helps you teach theme in a variety of different ways and addresses aspects of theme that students find most confusing. Reading passages - both shorter and longer - are included.

    After completing all of the theme activities in this resource, students should understand:

    • themes aren't always stated in the passages
    • different stories can have the same theme
    • you don't have to agree with the theme of a reading passage
    • details in a story and the actions of characters support the theme
    • the difference between theme and main idea (theme vs main idea)
    • a reading passage can have more than one theme
    • themes are meant to apply to real life

    There are activities to help students better understand each of these aspects of themes. The activities include cut and paste activities, reading passages with questions, scaffolded graphic organizers, and more.

    Use these resources as theme lessons for your 4th grade or 5th grade students. You can use the resources to model how to determine theme, for differentiation, for theme practice or homework, in small groups, whole class, or as independent activities.

    Most of the reading passages in this resource are fiction resource (finding theme in stories/literature). However, a few nonfiction passages are included to give students a chance to practice finding theme in nonfiction.

    Although a few activities have students practice theme using one word themes, the majority of the activities address themes using full sentences. The preview shows everything that is included in this resource. Look through it carefully to make sure it addresses your students' needs.

    A grading rubric and answer keys are included.

    Finding Theme Games and Centers

    This resource contains 3 theme center activities for you to use in your classroom. These games are an engaging, hands on way to help your students be better able to find the theme of a text.

    This resource includes the following 3 theme centers for upper elementary students (4th grade, 5th grade):

    First Center: No Prep Theme Mazes

    These 5 mazes are designed to help students think about how themes and main ideas are related and how they are different.

    In the first two mazes, students must distinguish between themes and main ideas. Students shade in possible themes (and don’t shade in main ideas statements) in order to complete the mazes.

    In the last 3 mazes, students are provided a theme and possible main ideas. Students must shade in the main ideas statements from stories that could support the provided theme. Students must distinguish between main ideas that support the provided theme and main idea statements that don’t support the theme.

    A student recording sheet is provided to help you understand your students’ thinking. Students can complete the same recording sheet for each of the 5 mazes.

    Included: 5 theme mazes, a student recording sheet to help you understand your students' thinking, and answer keys.

    Second Center: Low Prep Theme Sort

    This can be an independent, partner, or small group activity. Students are given 4 different themes and 12 short stories. Students must read the stories, determine the theme, and sort the stories appropriately.

    Included: 4 theme cards, 12 short stories, student recording sheet, and answer key

    Third Center: No Prep 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.

    There is writing paper for both a short story and a longer story, depending on your needs and your students’ writing abilities.

    Included: Idea sheet, writing paper for both shorter and longer stories, and a grading rubric

    Theme of a Story Scavenger Hunt

    This resource helps students practice finding the theme of a story in a fun way. Students complete a theme "scavenger hunt" by finding theme paragraph cards hidden around the room. Students must determine which theme best on their recording sheet best supports the different paragraphs.

    This theme ELA resource includes:

    -a student recording sheet

    -16 paragraph cards (students determine the theme for each card)

    -an answer key

    This makes a great theme review for 4th grade, 5th grade, or 6th grade students. The preview shows everything in included in this resource so you can see if it suits your needs.

    List of Common Themes in Literature

    The first page has a list of word or phrase themes common in literature - particularly children's literature.

    The last three pages are lists of common themes in sentence form.

    These lists are geared towards teaching theme to upper elementary (primarily 4th and 5th grade students).

    You might also like:

    Main Idea and Details: Scaffolded to Build Understanding

    Summarizing Fiction and Nonfiction Texts

    Kalena Baker, Teaching Made Practical

    Total Pages
    115 pages
    Answer Key
    Included with rubric
    Teaching Duration
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    to see state-specific standards (only available in the US).
    Determine a theme of a story, drama, or poem from details in the text; summarize the text.
    Determine a theme of a story, drama, or poem from details in the text, including how characters in a story or drama respond to challenges or how the speaker in a poem reflects upon a topic; summarize the text.


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