Themes in Literature for 4th and 5th Grade

Grade Levels
4th, 5th
Common Core Standards
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2.74 MB   |   71 pages


This 71 page Themes in Literature Unit is complete and ready to teach! Your students will get plenty of practice in a variety of formats as it includes 6 literature passages (front and back with many paired passages) including Aesop's Fables, Folktales from Around the World, Legends and Myths, a set of 32 task cards, handouts, graphic organizers, a picture book list and 20 common theme posters.

Specifically it includes:

6 Literature Passages (double sided with keys):
The Golden Goose and the Milkmaid - Paired Aesop's Fables
Impossible - Paired Aesop's Fables
It Could Always Be Worse – Jewish Folktale
The Wolf in Sheep's Clothing and Wolf Poetry – Paired Passages
The Wise Old Owl – Iroquois Legend
Pandora's Box – Greek Myth

32 Task cards (and a student record sheet and key)

20 Common Theme Posters

2 Common Theme Handouts

3 Graphic Organizers

Picture Book List of books that can be used to teach themes

Elements of a Fairy Tale handout

Writing Page for Fairy Tales

Elements of a Fable handout

Writing Page for Fables

Themes are so much fun to teach and it's an amazing thing that once you start, the kids are always on the lookout for themes everywhere. Each new book becomes a theme puzzle for them and that's fun! I really love the variety of formats that this unit has and think there are so many things included here to use.

The task cards have 32 original mini-stories that have clear themes embedded in them. After students find the theme, they can write them down on the student record sheet (my favorite way is to scatter them around the room to get kids up and moving and make it like a scavenger hunt) or you could do them as a whole class and simply discuss the answers together. They're also great for small groups or you could even copy a sheet or two for homework.

The 20 posters are made for classroom display. If you have a big space, you can line them up along one wall and put a laminated 12 x 18 piece of colorful construction paper under each. Then as you read a book together and discuss its theme, you copy the book's cover (making it tiny), cut it out and put it under its correct theme poster. This allows you to carry the theme learning throughout the whole year.

The graphic organizers can be used with any piece of literature and I especially like to use the Venn diagram when comparing two picture books or two Aesop's fables at the start of the unit.

The elements handout for fairy tales and fables is a great way to highlight two genres that are loaded with themes. I included a writing activity for each to tie it into another Common Core language arts area.

Finally, the passages are awesome! Each one is an original re-write of a classic myth, fable, folktale or legend and was hand selected to be entertaining for your students. I always think that kids learn best when they enjoy what they're learning and this is one unit that I think will "hook" many of them. Common Core AND loaded with fun! I love it and I hope you will too!

If you're looking for more Common Core materials, please check these out:

Main Ideas, Supporting Details and Summary

Cause and Effect from Informational Text: 4th and 5th Grade Common Core

Text Evidence Using Informational Text: Common Core 4th and 5th Grade

Characters, Settings, and Events: Common Core 4th and 5th Grade

Inferences Using Literature: 4th and 5th Grade Common Core

Elements of Poetry, Drama, and Prose: Common Core

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Themes in Literature for 4th and 5th Grade
Themes in Literature for 4th and 5th Grade
Themes in Literature for 4th and 5th Grade
Themes in Literature for 4th and 5th Grade