Teaching Theme Activities for Middle School

Teaching middle schools presents new challenges every day. Some days consist of handling so many emotions and lots of drama. Other days consist of explaining the same topic in multiple ways to help students understand it. On top of all this, teachers manage challenging behaviors, tons of paperwork, and hours of grading. This is why finding ready-to-go teaching theme activities for middle school is essential! It is a challenging skill, and teachers need plenty of ways to teach it! Luckily, my Standards-Based Passages, and Daily Theme Reading Passages for both upper elementary and middle school are here to help! 

Why is Theme So Difficult?

The word theme has part of the definition in it. While this may help students know they are looking for the message, it does not help them identify the theme. For many students, working on theme is one of the hardest reading comprehension skills. This is because they have to understand what the text is about. Then, they must identify the message the author is teaching students. This often means students make inferences, which is another hard skill! All these factors make finding activities for teaching theme in middle school challenging! There are many aspects to consider, so teachers need to find the right passages and resources for students. 

Luckily, there are some fantastic options below! 

Model Identifying Theme With Picture Books

I don’t believe that students should spend a lot of time reading texts that aren’t challenging, but I do believe picture books can be a powerful teaching tool when used sparingly. Picture books are a great way to teach theme because they often teach a lesson. They are also short enough that you can read the book and model identifying the theme in one lesson. A trip to your local library can produce a wide variety of picture books to use for a lesson on theme, but I’m including some affiliate links for some I particularly love. I’m a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to Amazon.com. 

Theme Standards-Based Passages

As testing season nears, these theme standards-based reading passages are the perfect way to help students focus on theme. To ensure students understand the concept, there is a brief overview of theme. Then, there are three passages with multiple-choice questions. The first is a short and quick review. The second is longer and great for practice. The third is one page and works great as a quick assessment that provides quick data to help you identify who needs more practice!

Theme reading passages for middle school
Theme Practice Passages

Theme Daily Reading Passages

Ideally, students are ready to learn as soon as they walk in the door. However, this can be challenging when someone usually needs to tell the teacher something.  This is why these passages are perfect! These bell ringers include short and engaging daily reading passages. Students will read a new passage each day and identify the theme and its development. They will also be asked to identify the meaning of an unknown word using context clues. Since they are digital and printable, they can work for all classrooms. This resource is available at two different levels. There is a 5th-6th grade level that may be best for your struggling readers and a middle school level! The passages are all completely different in each resource.

theme activities for middle school
Theme Reading Passages

Finding activities for teaching theme in middle school is hard! It is a complex concept to understand, and students are at all different levels in their reading journey. Thankfully, my Standards-Based Passages and Daily Reading Passages for upper elementary and middle school are ready for students! Whether focusing on this standard or getting students prepared for state testing, there are plenty of passages for practice!