Literary Term: Theme

Literary Term: Theme


My children are watching Disney’s “Frozen” as often as I will allow them. I watched “Beauty and the Beast” constantly when I was younger, so I realize the comfort of watching a movie numerous times. They probably don’t realize they are learning the literary term theme.

Teaching theme with popular movies.

Older students have such movies as well, ones that are classroom appropriate and applicable to literary terms.

Disney movies have themes and using them is a great way to relate the concept to students. What’s worked for me is to have students run through a few movies with their themes:

“Cinderella”: Be kind to others.
“Frozen”: Appearances can be deceiving.
“Beauty and the Beast”: Don’t change for other people.
“Pinocchio”: Tell the truth.
“The Lion King”: Face your problems.

Older students will provide examples of more complex movies, but the entire class may not have seen those. Plus – with ‘younger aged’ movies, students can see that they’ve understood theme from a younger age; they just maybe didn’t realize it. The simplistic themes can give them confidence. And when they don’t agree with or like these themes – that’s when they realize that they can debate the theme of the advanced novel the class is reading.

What examples from media do you use to teach ‘theme’? Applying the literary term theme is vital to understanding the deeper meaning of literature.

Do you need quick, ready-to-teach activities for teaching theme? This bundle has a variety of graphic organizers for teaching theme.

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