Lesson plan

Fiction Investigations: Topics and Themes Between Texts

Students can have a love affair with fiction while details of the genre can go unnoticed! Using this lesson, your students look under the hood of their favorite fiction by analyzing texts across common themes and topics that hook readers.
Grade Subject View aligned standards

Students will be able to analyze fiction across similar topics and themes.

(10 minutes)
  • Divide your students into four groups by assigning each of them one of the following statements:
    • Wizards
    • Some wizards are good and some are diabolical.
    • A boy wizard goes off to a school in a magical realm.
    • Diabolical wizards will often stop at nothing to acquire absolute power.
  • Tell your class that these statements fall into two categories: topic (a subject or idea), or a theme (an author’s opinion about a subject or topic). Split the room into two sides and have the students go to the side where they think they belong.
  • Discuss where students went and why. Clarify proper sides of the room that students/statements should be on.
  • Share that today’s lesson requires this ability to identify topic and theme. Your students then may return to their seats.
(10 minutes)
  • Show your students the first pair of familiar fiction texts on the same topic and model how to complete the Topic & Theme Between Fiction Texts worksheet.
(10 minutes)
  • Hand out double-sided copies of the Topic & Theme Between Fiction Texts worksheet and lead your class through the form using the second set of fiction texts that share a topic.
(10 minutes)
  • Instruct students they may work in pairs or trios to complete the second side of the Topic & Theme Between Fiction Texts worksheet with a pair of texts that share a topic.


  • Photocopy excerpts from pairs of leveled texts for student choice for analysis.
  • Allow for extra independent work time to accommodate for text reading.


  • Students can choose two previously read texts for analysis.
  • Students can adapt the In-My-Own-Words section into a script for a podcast or class presentation.
  • Students can complete the Common Themes Between Fiction Texts worksheet
  • Students can complete the Common Topics Between Fiction Texts worksheet
  • Access to a computer and projector creates an option to project prepared text excerpts and completed teacher model worksheets during the lesson presentation. Internet access also make it possible to watch the video during Review and Closing.
(10 minutes)
  • As an exit ticket, have your students list the following information on scratch paper:
    • name and date
    • topic
    • theme
    • three details
    • a two-sentence, in-your-own-words summary comparison of topic and theme of the fairytales: Three Little Pigs and Little Red Riding Hood
(10 minutes)
  • Watch the video discussing theme listed in in the resources section. Feel free to pause the video at each slide and have students read the text aloud (this is optional, depending on if internet access, computer, and projector are available).
  • DISCUSS: What common themes, truths, or experiences do you share with texts mentioned today?

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