Theme Essay - Literary Essay Writing for ANY Novel, Story, or Drama

Joy Sexton
Grade Levels
6th - 9th, Homeschool
Formats Included
  • PDF
22 pages
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Joy Sexton


Theme Essay writing will be a breeze with this motivating, step-by-step resource designed to lead your students through the entire process. Easy-to-follow writing templates guide students in drafting all four paragraphs!

Students identify two themes evident in the text and devote one paragraph to each theme. In each paragraph, students discuss how a prominent character is involved with the theme topic and what the author wants us to learn or understand.

A list of common theme topics and an inviting pre-writing organizer help students get thinking and digging into the text for examples.

Use this theme essay assignment any time with ANY novel, story, or drama!

Differentiation is provided with TWO versions of the essay: one that requires text quotations and one that does not.

*You can also view the digital version of this Theme Essay resource by clicking here:

Theme Essay DIGITAL Google or Microsoft OneDrive – for ANY Literature Common Core


1. THEME ESSAY ASSIGNMENT PAGE – This two-sided handout provides a description of the writing assignment along with a list of common theme topics.

2. PRE-WRITING GRAPHIC ORGANIZER – Students record the theme topics, examples, and details they will use for their essay on this two-page organizer.

3. WRITING THE INTRODUCTION – This page has a fill-in template with prompts for drafting the entire introduction. An example of a well-written introduction is also provided.

4. WRITING BODY PARAGRAPHS – Two fill-in templates with prompts guide students as they write each of their body paragraphs, based on the information recorded on their organizer.

5. WRITING THE CONCLUSION – A fill-in template for drafting the conclusion includes writing instruction and a model conclusion paragraph.

6. TRANSITIONS – Students will refer to this handout, which lists a variety of useful transitions categorized according to purpose, as they draft their essays.

7. REVISING AND EDITING CHECKLIST – Students evaluate to what extent they have revised and edited their essays on a task-specific chart, with a peer exchange option.

8. DIFFERENTIATED VERSION OF ESSAY – A “higher level” version of the theme essay requires that relevant text quotations be used in both body paragraphs. Thus, a “With Quotations” version is included for the following pages: Pre-Writing Organizer, Writing Body Paragraph #1, Writing Body Paragraph #2, Revising and Editing Checklist, and Grading Rubric.

8. GRADING RUBRIC – A 4-point theme essay rubric for grading.

9. TEACHER GUIDELINES AND COMMON CORE STANDARDS – Detailed, step-by-step guidelines for using this resource along with Common Core standards.

You will love the organization of this resource and the “scaffolds” that help students produce strong writing! The great thing is, you can use it more than once during the year and see your students gaining a better understanding of theme.

Please open the PREVIEW to get a closer look.

Thanks, --Joy

You might also like:

Character Traits Essay – Informative Writing

Argumentative Essay

Research: Writing an Informational Article

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Total Pages
22 pages
Answer Key
Does not apply
Teaching Duration
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to see state-specific standards (only available in the US).
Draw evidence from literary or informational texts to support analysis, reflection, and research.
Write informative/explanatory texts to examine and convey complex ideas, concepts, and information clearly and accurately through the effective selection, organization, and analysis of content.
Draw evidence from literary or informational texts to support analysis, reflection, and research.
Produce clear and coherent writing in which the development, organization, and style are appropriate to task, purpose, and audience.
Write informative/explanatory texts to examine a topic and convey ideas, concepts, and information through the selection, organization, and analysis of relevant content.


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