Compare and Contrast: Themes
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Basics on the topic Compare and Contrast: Themes
Learn how to identify the theme of a story with Ari and Zayd.
Transcript Compare and Contrast: Themes
Compare and contrast themes The theme is the underlying message or big idea of a story that readers learn from a character's experiences. Theme is not specific to a story, it’s a lesson that applies to everyone! Since the author doesn't explicitly tell you the theme, it's up to you as the reader to make an inference or draw a conclusion and often, stories will have more than one theme. We can compare and contrast characters' actions and story events to determine how they influence a story's theme. Let's compare and contrast two stories, starring Zayd and Ari. Ari has built a very special set and is ready to share it for the first time at the Builders Club Meeting. But when it was time to go, Ari started to doubt themself. "I don't know anyone and everyone is going to stare at me," Ari sighed. "I know you're scared Ari, but you never know, you might enjoy it," Ari's dad explained. At the meeting, Ari looked around nervously. "Hi, I'm Zayd. Your builder set looks so cool!" Ari smiled and started to feel better. They began to tell their new friend Zayd all about their builder set. After that, Ari was thankful they joined because Zayd became their best friend. Now, let's identify the theme of this story. When identifying the theme, ask yourself: Do the characters learn anything throughout the story? Here, Ari learns that being brave enough to overcome their fear of joining a new club helped them meet their best friend, so the theme, or message to the reader, is courage. Let's identify the theme of another story. "Zayd, can I see your builder set?" Ari asked. Zayd looked down at his claws. "I guess so, but I haven't finished it because I can't get these pieces to work! Mine will never be as good as yours." Zayd sniffled. "Here Zayd, I can help you," Ari assured. At the next meeting, Zayd flaunted his builder set proudly. "This is my best work yet, thanks for your help Ari!" Zayd beamed. Now, ask yourself: Do the characters learn anything throughout the story? Here, Zayd improved his builder set because Ari volunteered to help him, so the theme is kindness. Now that we've identified each theme, let's compare and contrast them using this graphic organiser. First, record each theme, courage and kindness. Now think, how are these stories alike? Both include the characters Zayd and Ari and they both overcome a challenge. Now think, how are these stories different? In the first story, Ari is nervous to join the builders club, faces their fears and meets Zayd! In the second story, Zayd feels discouraged about his builder set, Ari offers to help and Zayd feels better about his skills thanks to Ari's kindness. Before we see what happens next let's summarise. Remember, the theme is the underlying message or big idea of a story that readers learn from a character's experiences. The author won't tell you the theme, it's up to you as the reader to make an inference or draw a conclusion. We can compare and contrast characters' actions and story events to determine how they influence a story's theme. "Want to build a new room!? "Were you just reading my mind? Um, yes!"
Compare and Contrast: Themes exercise
What is a theme?Hints
The theme is the most important or overall idea of a story.
We usually only discover the theme after reading some of the story.
There are 2 correct statements and 2 incorrect statements.Solution
- The theme is the big idea, or underlying message of a story.
- Sometimes, a story can have more than one theme.
- Every story has a different theme and no two stories can have the same theme. No, lots of stories share the same theme.
- The author will always explicitly state the theme at the beginning of a story. No, we learn the theme by reading about what the characters do and following the plot.
Find the theme of the story.Hints
To find the theme of the story, ask yourself, "What did the characters learn?" The answer will help you find the theme!
Ari was scared to do something in the story, but they were brave and did it anyway. What is the theme of this?
Only one choice is correct.Solution
Ari learns that being brave enough to overcome the fear of joining a new club, led them to make a new best friend.
The theme is therefore COURAGE.
Summarise the story.Hints
Read the text carefully to eliminate any choices that are not actually in the story.
Stories always have an introduction, problem and resolution. Keep this in mind to find the progression of events.
Does Little Chicken ask for help first or start working first?
Make sure to put the events from the story in the correct order.Solution
The main progression points of this story are:
- Little Chicken asks for help
- Little Chicken works hard on her own
- Little Chicken enjoys all of the bread
Find the theme and key points.Hints
Stories have an introduction, problem and resolution. Keep this in mind to find the progression of events.
To find the theme of the story, ask yourself, "What did the characters learn?". The answer will help you find the theme!
Put the events from the story in the correct order.Solution
- The theme of this story is: Hard work pays off.
- Point 1: Straw and stick houses are built.
- Point 2: Wolf destroys poorly made houses.
- Point 3: Brick house cannot be blown down.
Identify the theme of the story.Hints
Ask yourself how the characters behave towards one another. This will help you to find the theme.
Ari helped Zayd when he was struggling with his builder set. What kind of behaviour is this?Solution
Zayd improved his builder set, and felt much better, because Ari volunteered to help him.
Therefore, the theme of the story is KINDNESS.
Compare and contrast two stories.Hints
Go back and re-read the stories to remember the events that occured.
Think about what each character is like in each story.
Does Little Chicken behave in the same way that the other animals did in the end?Solution
- Theme only in Little Chicken: treating others the same way they treat you.
- Theme only in Three Little Pigs: bullying behaviour by one character.
- Theme in both stories: hard work pays off.
- Theme in neither story: don't be jealous of others.
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Character Points of View
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Illustrations: Mood, Characters and Setting
Understanding Characters from Actions and Dialogue
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Finding the Main Idea Using Key Details
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