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Ch 2: Analyze Themes: CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RL.8.2

About This Chapter

Use our video lessons to accompany your classroom study of themes and motifs in literature. These video lessons are short and engaging and make learning easy!

Standard: Determine a theme or central idea of a text and analyze its development over the course of the selection, including its relationship to the characters, setting, and plot; provide an objective summary of the text.

About This Chapter

Students who have mastered this standard are able to establish the theme or main idea of literature selections. In addition, they will be able to expand that theme and discuss it in reference to the characters and story.

Lessons in this standard include topics such as:

  • Tips for determining thematic statements
  • Understanding the differences between motifs and themes
  • Strategies for summarizing literature pieces

Students demonstrate mastery of this standard when responding to reading selections, through discussion or writing. They are able to analyze text and objectively summarize. Mastery of this standard supports their college and career readiness because being able to determine central ideas and impartially summarize writings illustrates strong comprehension skills useful in college courses and the workplace.

How to Use These Lessons in Your Classroom

Here are some tips for how to use these lessons to support instruction in the CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RL.8.2 standard:

Reading Strategy Lessons

After watching the video lessons, orally share familiar children's books or short stories. As a group, determine the themes and motifs. Discuss and agree upon an objective summary. In small groups, ask students to read additional short writing pieces and agree upon themes, motifs and summaries.

As a class, students will read and/or listen to a short story. Share with the students both an objective and a non-objective summary of that story. Ask them to compare the two and determine which one is most objective, giving their reasons.

Writing Strategy Lessons

Using a recently read classic story set in the past, ask students to each write a new, updated story, based on the same motifs and symbols.

6 Lessons in Chapter 2: Analyze Themes: CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RL.8.2
Themes in Literature: Examples and Explanation

1. Themes in Literature: Examples and Explanation

One of the most common things that students are asked to do in middle school is to discuss the theme of a story. In this lesson, you'll learn about themes, and you'll read three examples from well-known stories.

What Are Literary Motifs? - Definition & Examples

2. What Are Literary Motifs? - Definition & Examples

In this lesson, you will learn about how writers use themes in works of literature as a way to explore universal ideas like love and war. You will also explore motifs, or repeating objects and ideas, which can contribute to theme.

How to Find the Theme or Central Idea

3. How to Find the Theme or Central Idea

In this lesson, you'll learn how to identify the theme or central idea of a text, and you'll get some specific examples of themes from famous stories.

Analyzing Theme Development in a Text: Characters, Setting & Plot

4. Analyzing Theme Development in a Text: Characters, Setting & Plot

Once you can identify the plot, setting, characters, and theme of a story, there's still more to consider. In this lesson, you'll get a sense of how all four of those terms function together to have an effect on the reader.

Writing an Objective Summary of a Story

5. Writing an Objective Summary of a Story

In this lesson, you'll learn exactly what teachers mean when they ask for an objective summary, and you'll learn how to write one as well. Finally, you can test your understanding with a short quiz.

Connecting Characters, Plot & Themes in a Text

6. Connecting Characters, Plot & Themes in a Text

Plot, theme, and characters are elements in almost every story, book, and play. In this lesson, you'll learn how they work together to create an impact on the reader, and you can test your understanding at the end with a short quiz.

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