Themes in Literature Worksheets and Activity in Print and Digital

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952 Ratings
Deb Hanson
Grade Levels
4th - 6th, Homeschool
Resource Type
Formats Included
  • PDF
15 pages
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Deb Hanson
Easel Activity Included
This resource includes a ready-to-use interactive activity students can complete on any device.  Easel by TPT is free to use! Learn more.
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  1. This nonfiction text structure bundle has everything you need to keep your upper elementary and middle school students engaged as they learn how to determine the themes found in literary works. Some of the activities include test prep elements because theme questions tend to appear frequently on sta
    Price $9.60Original Price $22.48Save $12.88

Learning Objective

The student will read four short stories and infer a theme for each.


Here is a hands-on, creative way to practice identifying the theme in a story! This is an engaging activity where your students read four short stories and determine the hidden message of each story. The finished products make a unique bulletin board or fun school hallway display!

  • Worksheets: You will distribute a packet of four worksheets to your students (or 2 two-sided worksheets). Each worksheet contains a unique short story. After reading each story, students will generate a theme for the passage, and write it at the bottom of the worksheet. This resource provides a differentiation option, where you can adjust the task based on your students' needs. You can either have your students write the theme independently, or you can give them a list of ten theme choices, and students choose the theme that matches each story.

  • Activity- After completing the worksheets, students color and cut out the cupcake images. They also write the four themes they found on the filling pieces. Finally, they follow the written directions to glue the pieces onto a sheet of construction paper. The final result is four colorful theme-filled cupcakes!

I chose the analogy of theme-filled cupcakes because it is such a great visualization that students can associate with the definition of theme. Like the crème filling in a cupcake, you usually can’t see the theme explicitly stated in a story. Rather, it is the “hidden message” in the story.

My hope is that when my students see the word “theme” in the future (perhaps even on a standardized test!), they will recall this experience of making “theme-filled cupcakes” and remember that they need to determine the hidden message in the story.

A complete direction page (with photos) is included that you can place under your doc camera so that students can refer to the directions as they complete and assemble the project. Answer keys are also included.

******** This resource is available in TWO FORMATS! ********

  1. TRADITIONAL PRINTABLES- Print the PDF and distribute paper copies to your students to complete.
  2. TPT EASEL ACTIVITY- I created a new, colorful version for this digital format. Students can complete this activity on a device. Students read each passage and identify its theme. They type the theme on the cupcake's display card.

If you are interested in viewing the DIGITAL VERSION OF THIS CRAFTIVITY that is compatible with GOOGLE SLIDES, click here.

Feel free to check out my other resources for teaching about themes in literature:

Teaching Theme: An Introduction PowerPoint

Theme: Targeted Tri-folds

Identifying Themes: SIX Worksheets

Theme Task Cards (16 passages with two options for responses)

Theme Filled Cupcakes for Valentine’s Day

This item is a paid digital download from my TpT store

As such, it is for use in one classroom only. This item is also bound by copyright laws. Redistributing, editing, selling, or posting this item (or any part thereof) on the Internet are all strictly prohibited without first gaining permission from the author. Violations are subject to the penalties of the Digital Millennium Copyright Act. Please contact me if you wish to be granted special permissions!

Copyright by Deb Hanson

Total Pages
15 pages
Answer Key
Teaching Duration
1 hour
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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.
Determine a theme or central idea of a text and how it is conveyed through particular details; provide a summary of the text distinct from personal opinions or judgments.


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