Thinking about Theme Pays Off

Mar 6, 2013 by

Last week I started thinking more about theme after spending time in a 2nd grade reading workshop.  In my previous post I shared a helpful video clip that helped me think about teaching this abstract concept to young readers.  Well, that thinking paid off yesterday when I was hanging out in a 6th grade writing workshop.  The students were in the middle of a unit on literary essay.  They were writing a practice essay about the short story “Papa’s Parrot” from Cynthia Rylant’s Every Living Thing.  This is a story about a boy named Harry who was once very close to his father, but as he approached adolescence, began drifting away from his father to spend more time with his friends.  When his father bought a parrot and began talking to it, Harry became...

read more

Thinking about Theme

Mar 3, 2013 by

This past week I spent a morning in a second grade reading workshop. These second graders had been working on taking their comprehension of text to deeper levels. On this day they were learning more about theme. Earlier in the morning the teacher had read Eve Bunting’s Fly Away Home, so during the lesson they worked together to identify what the theme could be.  As I listened in while students turned and talked to their reading partners, I heard responses such as homelessness, perseverance, courage. Some big ideas for young readers, to be sure! The teacher worked with them to elaborate on their single-word answers by finding evidence in the text. Then she sent them off to do this work with their own independent  texts. As I watched the teacher circulate among her students...

read more