Thursday, February 19, 2015

Determining the Theme

One of the reading comprehension skills we have been learning about is determining the theme of a story when we read it.

What is the theme of a story?

The theme is the message or lesson that we can learn from what happens in the story. The way we show the theme is by finding examples in the text that support what we think the theme is

We read lots of stories to practice finding the theme, and we looked for examples from the story that supported the theme we chose.

One of the stories we read was Teammates, by Peter Golenbock. This is the true story of how baseball player PeeWee Reese showed his friendship to Jackie Robinson during Jackie's difficult first year playing for the Brooklyn Dodgers.

We also watched two short video clips that showed the special relationship that Jackie Robinson and Pee Wee Reese shared.

After we read the story and watched the videos, we filled out the following sheet. We used both the video clips and the story to find examples to support our position that the theme is to accept and appreciate each other, despite any differences we might see at first.

Finally it was time to practice. We read two different folktales from our reading series.

After we finished we used the app Comic Life to review character, setting, and plot, and also explain what we thought the theme of the story was.

Some of us read the story Coyote and Rabbit.

Here is Claire and Kaydance's Comic Life about the theme of this story.

These two girls came up with a good theme for the story.

Jack and Kaiya did a good job determining the theme.

Here is Tessa and Lexi's interpretation of the theme of that story.

Some of us read the folktale Groudhog's New Home.

Here is Jaelyn and Ruby's explanation of the theme from Groundhog's New Home.

These two ladies are great theme detectives!

In order to figure out the theme, you have to really think about the book and the journey the characters take.

Think about one of your favorite books. What do you think the theme of the story is? Why do you think that? 

For example, one of my all-time favorite books is The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe. I believe the theme of that story is that Good will always triumph over Evil in the end. I believe that is the theme because even though it is difficult, Aslan and the children defeat the White Witch. 

Please share one of your favorite books and what you believe the theme is in the comment section below!


  1. Dear Mrs. E.,

    My favorite book is The One and Only Ivan. I think the theme is be confident in who you are. I think this because Ivan would doubt himself, and he would have to say to himself, "You are the One and Only Ivan."

  2. Dear Mrs.Essenburg,
    My favorite book Captain Underpants and the attack of the talking toilets.
    I think the theme is don't us things that you don't know what it does

  3. Dear Mrs.E,
    My favorite book is The Teacher from the Black Lagoon.
    I think the theme is at school.
    I think this because they are at school.

  4. Dear Mrs.Essenburg,
    My favorite book is The Tale of Despereaux. I think the theme is big or small can both make a difference. I think this because Despereaux was small and he made a difference.

  5. Dear Mrs.E,

    My favorite book is Geronimo Stilton the kingdom of fantasy. I think the theme is never give up.

  6. Dear Mrs. Essenburg,

    My favorite book is Dork Diaries. I think the theme is you have two different lives in two worlds. I think this because Nikki Maxwell thinks she can only enjoy her life in one world but she lives her life in a fairy tale land and thinks she will never see the light of day again.

  7. Dear Mrs.E,
    My favorite book is Stone Fox!!! I think the theme is someone (or dog) might look scary but inside they might be REALLY nice. I know this because Stone fox look scary but he let Searchlight win the race.

  8. Dear Mrs. E.,

    My favorite book is I Survived the Great Chicago Fire. The theme is when things get bad you have to tough it out.

  9. My favorite book is, Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire. I think the theme is to never give up, follow your dreams and to stick to it.

  10. Dear Mrs. Essenburg
    My favorite book is 5 Minute Marvel stories. I think the theme is never ever give up. I think this because when they were about to lose they found away to win.

  11. Dear Mrs.Essenburg,
    One of my favorite book is Ivy and Bean.
    I think the theme is don't judge a person how they look because Bean judges Ivy in the begging.

  12. Dear Mrs.E,
    My favorite book is The One and Only Ivan. I think the theme is do what you want to do and don't let someone tell you what to do. and don't be shy stand out also don't let people put you somewhere where you don't want to be. I think that is the theme

  13. Dear Mrs E,,

    My favorite book is Magic Treehouse. I think the theme is to not be shy. I think this is the theme because Annie is never shy and she always asks questions to solve the mystery.


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