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Theme Worksheets

Identifying the theme of a story can be challenging. It requires the reader to identify a main idea in the story. Then extend the idea to the real world. Fortunately, as with all reading skills, practice makes perfect. These theme worksheets will help students achieve mastery of this essential reading skill. I recommend starting with the theme PowerPoint lesson posted below. Also, you may be interested in my advice on teaching theme.

Theme Lesson – Slide show lesson teaching students what the theme of a story is and how to identify it.  The lesson also includes practice problems and examples of theme.
Theme Lesson PPT
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Theme Lesson 2 – This is a slight revision of the theme PowerPoint lesson posted above. It contains different practice problems at the end of the lesson and a few other changes.
Theme Lesson 2 PPT

Theme Worksheet – Practice identifying themes in five short stories.  Read each story, determine the theme, and explain the answer. Suggested reading level for this text: Grade 4-8
Theme Worksheet RTF
Theme Worksheet PDF
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Theme Worksheet 2 – Students read five original short story passages and determine the theme or message of the story.  Also, students explain how they got their answers. Suggested reading level for this text: Grade 5-9
Theme Worksheet 2 RTF
Theme Worksheet 2 PDF
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Theme Worksheet 3 – Here’s another theme worksheet to help your students master this elusive skill. Students read the short stories and extract the message. Then they support their answers with textual evidence. Suggested reading level for this text: Grade 4-8
Theme Worksheet 3 RTF
Theme Worksheet 3 PDF
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Theme Worksheet 4 – Being able to identify the theme of a story is an important reading skill. Being able to support your answer with textual evidence is more important. This theme worksheet requires students to do both. Suggested reading level for this text: Grade 6-10
Theme Worksheet 4 RTF
Theme Worksheet 4 PDF
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Theme Worksheet 5 – Here is another double-sided theme worksheet. It has five passages from which students can extract a message. Students support their answers with textual evidence. Suggested reading level for this text: Grade 6-10
Theme Worksheet 5 RTF
Theme Worksheet 5 PDF
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Theme Worksheet 6 – This worksheet contains another five short stories to give students practice identifying themes. Students read the short stories, identify the themes, explain their answers using text. Suggested reading level for this text: Grade 5-9
Theme Worksheet 6 RTF
Theme Worksheet 6 PDF
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Theme Worksheet 7 – This worksheet offers even more practice with identifying themes. Students read the short fiction passages and determine the life lesson of the story. They support their answers with textual evidence. These worksheets are aligned with Common Core State Standards. Suggested reading level for this text: Grade 4-8
Theme Worksheet 7 RTF
Theme Worksheet 7 PDF
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Understanding Theme with Fables – Classic fables by Aesop without the morals. Students must draw conclusions to infer the meaning or “theme” of the fables. 4 pages, 15 problems. Suggested reading level for this text: Grade 5-9
Understanding Theme with Fables RTF
Understanding Theme with Fables PDF
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Understanding Theme with Fables Review – More classic fables by Aesop without the morals. Students infer the meaning or “theme” of the fables. 2 pages, 5 problems. Suggested reading level for this text: Grade 5-9
Understanding Theme with Fables Review RTF
Understanding Theme with Fables Review PDF
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Common Core State Standards Related to Theme

CCSS.ELA-Literacy.CCRA.R.2 – Determine central ideas or themes of a text and analyze their development; summarize the key supporting details and ideas.

Expand to View All Common Core State Standards Related to Theme
ELA Standards: Literature

CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RL.1.2 – Retell stories, including key details, and demonstrate understanding of their central message or lesson.

CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RL.2.2 – Recount stories, including fables and folktales from diverse cultures, and determine their central message, lesson, or moral.

CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RL.3.2 – Recount stories, including fables, folktales, and myths from diverse cultures; determine the central message, lesson, or moral and explain how it is conveyed through key details in the text.

CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RL.4.2 – Determine a theme of a story, drama, or poem from details in the text; summarize the text.

CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RL.5.2 – 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.

CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RL.6.2 – 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.

CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RL.7.2 – Determine a theme or central idea of a text and analyze its development over the course of the text; provide an objective summary of the text.

CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RL.8.2 – Determine a theme or central idea of a text and analyze its development over the course of the text, including its relationship to the characters, setting, and plot; provide an objective summary of the text.

CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RL.9-10.2 – Determine a theme or central idea of a text and analyze in detail its development over the course of the text, including how it emerges and is shaped and refined by specific details; provide an objective summary of the text.

CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RL.11-12.2 – Determine two or more themes or central ideas of a text and analyze their development over the course of the text, including how they interact and build on one another to produce a complex account; provide an objective summary of the text.

View Source
Common Core Lesson and Unit Plans
Understanding Common Core State Standards

 

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172 Comments

  1. mariecel reynes

     /  February 15, 2017

    the objective of my lesson is to explain how the elements build its theme, would you mind to please provide me materials for the evaluation of my lesson.tnx much

    Reply
  2. Burnett

     /  February 9, 2017

    I loved these passages and powerpoint! I used them for my fourth grade class and they were right on target for their level. Thank you!

    Reply
  3. Pam

     /  January 15, 2017

    I want to express my gratitude to you for providing these wonderful resources-free of charge! I love visiting your site.

    Reply
  4. ece huner

     /  October 20, 2016

    In our lessons we are studying the difference between moral and the theme but in your pdf s it kinda says that there are the same thing. so what is the difference between them. Thank you 🙂

    Reply
  5. Antonio Soto

     /  October 19, 2016

    at first i thought this would be a bad website, but now i stand corrected this site has helped me and my classmate with numerous amounts of classwork and homework

    Reply
  6. Mourad Romdhani

     /  October 12, 2016

    A very helpful course for both student and teacher. Thank you very much for such high quality lessons.

    Reply
  7. Park

     /  May 25, 2016

    Thank you very much for the great resources. I’ve been engaged with searching for such materials very long! and they are helpful for me and my class at school. And thank you for the great website!!

    Reply
  8. Nick Muzekari

     /  December 22, 2015

    I will be teaching an online short story class this summer for the first time. I’m new to this and so am looking for material to help myself and the students. I believe I will get paid for teaching the class so I am asking permission to use EReading materials since I really love them and want to use them in the class. May I have permission?

    Reply
    • Certainly.

      Reply
      • eileen

         /  March 3, 2016

        hi Mr.Morton. i am having trouble on a theme packet that my teacher assigned me for homework . i do not understand what a theme is. can you help me??????

        Reply
        • Theme is the message of a story, the lesson that the author intends to impart through his or her story. So, read the story and ask yourself, is there a lesson to be learned here? Put that lesson into words, and you can say that you have found a theme in the story. Best wishes!

          Reply
  9. Jennifer Reed

     /  October 28, 2015

    After reading the comments, they struck home for me. My colleagues and I are always discussing the definition of theme. For me, I think it is fair to differentiate for the student between universal and literary theme.

    I make sure to talk to students about the definition of Universal Theme, one word, and the literary theme described here. Sometimes my at-risk students have to zero in on the one word before they can get to the generalization. If not, I end up with a main idea or plot summary instead.

    I hope this helps, or adds to the discussion.

    Reply
  10. Denise Ramos

     /  October 19, 2015

    I appreciate these lessons and the guidance you provide! I am a beginning teacher, and I feel frazzled at times about how to put things, but your resources are very helpful. I was wondering, how did you become so good at creating lessons? Were there any books that helped you? Or was it time and practice that helped you organize your plans and lessons so well?

    Reply
    • I like to think that I have a way of getting to the point. I can’t recommend any books or resources that helped me out in any significant way. I can only point to the amazing teachers who inspired me and helped me grow. I’ve worked at some pretty messed up schools, but no matter how bad things were at times, there were always amazing people doing amazing things. I will never be the superb disciplinarian that Mrs. Smith, Mr. Dillard, or Mr. Tang were, but I’ve taken a little piece of them with me. I will never be as organized or as motivating as Mr. Phoenix was with his students, but I carry a little piece of him with me.

      Find the teachers that inspire you. Fight to observe them. Take what you can.

      That’s pretty much the best advice that I can give you about that topic.

      Thank you for visiting my site and posing such an interesting question.

      Best wishes!

      Reply
  11. Danyell

     /  October 15, 2015

    I, too, love this site and appreciate the information and activities. It is so helpful… I was wondering if you could add some expository writing activities.

    Reply
  12. Karen Schonewise

     /  October 2, 2015

    THANKS so much. This site is great. I almost lost it on a student today who was trying to tell me theme was one word after I have spent a month teaching these juniors in high school that it is a sentence!!! This site is awesome!!

    Reply
    • Ha ha. It’s funny you say that. I’ve gone back and forth with terminally educated adults about this. I think a Common Core ELA glossary (like the one that they have for mathematics) would go a long way in resolving this debate. I also think that the word motif better fits the “a theme is one word” thing. Anyway, thanks for visiting the site and taking the time to comment. Best wishes!

      Reply
  13. Romel L.

     /  September 30, 2015

    You are the best. I am at a loss of words oh how to express my gratitude to you and this website that you have created. AWESOME-RIFIC!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    Reply

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