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Do I Sense a Theme? Literature Studies for Teens

Posted by Michelle Osborn on

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 Guest Post by Betsy Strauss

Do I Sense a Theme Here? Literature Studies for Teens

When kids are little, it’s so easy to use stories to bring to life some challenging ideas. You read If You Give a Mouse a Cookie as a fun way to introduce natural consequences or cause and effect. Additionally, you might read The Giving Tree to talk about the selfishness of the young boy or the sacrificial love of the tree. It’s easy to see the themes in children’s literature and share them with our young children. Why is it that we don’t capitalize on this same idea with our teens?

Naturally, the themes in the books that they read as they grow up become harder to define, because they are less obvious to the reader. It takes time to work and think in order to draw out the deeper ideas. Often students walk away from a book bored not because it wasn’t a very good book, but because it was too hard to enjoy on their own. That is why we have to keep having conversations about books with our teens.

Universal Themes In Stories

Even though you might be reading books from several different genres, the underlying themes are universal no matter what type of story you encounter. Here are some common themes:

  • Prejudice
  • Innocence
  • Betrayal
  • Fear
  • Honor
  • Good vs. Evil
  • Integrity
  • Compromise
  • Alienation
  • Nature of God

You can find prejudice in To Kill a Mockingbird (historical fiction), Out of the Silent Planet (science fiction), or Pride and Prejudice (romance)......

Read more at Bright Ideas Press

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