Learning Games for Kids and Elementary Students

Key Point: The theme of a story is the lesson the author is trying to teach.

When writing stories, authors occasionally attempt to teach a lesson about life. This lesson is called a theme. A writer will not typically come right out and tell you what the theme of the story is. Instead, you will have to think about what the story’s characters did that was wrong or right, and what those characters learned about life by the end of the story. Let’s see if you can identify the theme, or lesson, that the boys in this paragraph learned: At recess, Jason and Clay were playing catch. Clay threw the ball over Jason’s head and when Jason scrambled to get it, a group of older boys asked him to come play with them instead. Jason had always wanted to play with the older boys but turned them down. He grabbed the ball and threw it back to his good buddy Clay. In this paragraph, the writer is trying to convey the theme of loyalty. A more specific way to express this theme would be: It is important to follow through with what you say you are going to do. Let’s look at another paragraph. Try and determine what the theme, or lesson, the writer expresses: Robbie handed Jay a hammer and then held the boards in place while Jay pounded nails through. Freddy sanded down the wood and then all three boys painted their new treehouse blue. While the paint dried, they built a ladder and attached it. The boys grinned with pride as they looked up at their finished treehouse. The theme that the writer was trying to communicate is that of teamwork. You could also say that people can achieve more when they work together. Remember, the theme of a story is the lesson about life that the author is trying to teach.

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