What is Theme? - Campbell County Schools

Theme and Central Idea
Identifying the Main Idea of Literary
and Informational Texts
What is Theme?
• Theme is the central idea, or insight, about
life and human behavior that a story
• The theme is what makes a story linger in
our hearts and minds long after we have
read it.
• It is the idea on which the story is built.
• Theme most often applies to literary texts
such as novels, short stories, dramas, and
How Do I Find the Theme in a
• Often times, the theme is not stated
• The theme is revealed to the reader
through the character’s experiences.
How Do I Find the Theme in a
• Theme is revealed through what the
character learns.
• In order to determine the theme, ask
yourself these questions:
– What is the lesson the character learned in
the story?
– What does the character realize that he or
she did not know before?
Stating the Theme
• There is no single way to state the
theme of a text.
– Readers may express the same theme in
different words.
– Many times, there is more than one theme
in a text.
Stating the Theme
• One way to figure out if you have stated
the theme correctly is to ask yourself
this question: Does the theme I have
stated apply to the whole work or
only parts of it?
• The theme must apply to the whole
Stating the Theme
• Remember, the theme is not the same
thing as the subject or topic (what the
piece is about). Topic is stated in one
word. For example, “Honeybees.”
• The theme should be expressed in a
– For example, the theme of the poem
“Honeybees” is: Hard work and dedication
often goes unrewarded.
Let’s Practice!
• What is the theme of these popular
• Beauty and the Beast
• The Chronicles of Narnia
• The Hunger Games
What is Central Idea?
terms mean the same thing.
• The central idea of a passage is the
message that the author is trying to get
across to the reader.
• The central idea is not the topic. A central
idea is stated in a sentence, not just one to
two words.
• Central idea most commonly refers to
informational texts.
Finding the Main Idea
• To find the main idea of a paragraph or
passage, ask yourself this question:
– What is the most important point the
author wants me to understand about the
Let’s Practice!
• What is the main idea of this paragraph?
“Beginning a new job is always exciting and
sometimes intimidating. There is an
invigorating feeling of a fresh start and a
clean slate. You face new challenges and
draw on a renewed sense of energy as you
approach them. But you may also feel
apprehensive . . .”
Let’s Practice!
• What is the main idea of this paragraph?
"Taking vitamins may be beneficial to your
health for several reasons. For one thing,
vitamins provide essential nutrients that may
be lacking in your diet. Also, some vitamins
may reduce your risk of cancer and other
diseases. Finally, vitamins may increase your
energy and improve your well-being."
Related flashcards


19 cards


21 cards


27 cards

Letters (message)

23 cards

Writing systems

19 cards

Create Flashcards