Friday, June 2, 2017

The Secret to Unlocking Literary Analysis and Boosting Reading Comprehension: Topic, Theme & Main Idea

 When English Language Arts or Reading teachers master teaching the universal, literary concepts of topic, theme, and main idea, students develop a skill set that allows them to successfully frame literary works for proper analysis. Students need this skill set to interact with texts from a variety of genres. Relying on the learning standards at each grade level to guide teachers when to introduce each literacy component is key to students successfully understanding the unique role of each literary element.

It seems simple, but as a literacy specialist there have been numerous occasions I've observed teachers who don't seem clear on the  differences of topic, theme and main idea.   These foundational literacy concepts span learning standards from kindergarten to high school. If lower grade teachers understand and teach their standards correctly, then when theme enters the scene in upper grades, the differences won't confuse older students. 

Secondary students often struggle with the difference between main idea and theme. After observing many English Language Arts classrooms, it became apparent to me that many teachers struggle as well. Knowing the differences before tackling a lesson will ensure teachers are able to guide students in their understanding of each literary element. 

Planning tip: Try identifying Topic, Theme, and Main Idea of short selections in teacher planning sessions prior to teaching the lessons to students. Practice as a group, or write short stories that highlight each literary element.
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1 comment:

  1. The differences between topic, theme, and main idea are certainly key to secondary English classes. I didn't realize they were even taught in younger grades.

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