Use this handout with students when looking for THEME. Get students in the habit of thinking about theme by visualizing a parent/grandparent, or wise old man saying: "And that goes to show....can happen when..... or that goes to show_______."
This form of thinking, minus the use of a pronoun, or a given character's name will guide students to thinking about theme as a universal moral which can be applied to life situations. The goal is to avoid having students deliver a summary statement about a topic or the central idea. Theme is not that. The worksheet has generic ideas to get students thinking about the "how to frame" the idea of theme. The strategy of listing multiple ideas is highly recommended because it lets students isolate the strongest from a collected group of ideas they generate or a student group generates.
Product has been updated [Nov. 18, 2013] to include a few more pages to help build student understanding. Use all 8 pages or only those you feel best support your students. Included is a simple sheet where students can record literary titles and their themes. Keeping track is highly recommended because students will begin to see a pattern of ideas that point to theme.