As the year progresses, you’ll want to know if students are able to identify theme independently. Here are six suggestions for finding out if your students are “getting it.”
- Use Annotation: Have students annotate a text with details, quotes, and other “golden lines” that highlight the theme.
- Tweet the Theme: Laura Robb, reading specialist and author of Differentiating Reading Instruction, loves Twitter’s concise format. Assign students to sum up the theme in 140 characters or less.
- Record Reader Responses: Writing responses to the essential question from a unit’s start to finish will help you see how students develop their ideas.
- Reflect: Have students reflect in writing and discussion on what the theme means to them and how understanding of the theme has changed based on their readings.
- Look for Additional Themes: Using a story that students are familiar with, have them identify and support a theme that’s different than the one you’ve already studied.
- Listen for Theme: In reading conferences with students, train yourself to listen for specific details and examples about theme. The more students are understanding, the better they’ll be at answering questions like “What does the author want you to remember?”