Themed Literature Units
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Components of a Themed Literature Unit

1. Theme

What life lessons or “big ideas” will students explore?

2. Topic

To what content or subject area is the theme tied?

3. Learning

The "how"…
how will students learn?


The "what" …
what will students learn?

What reading, writing, and/or communications skills

will students develop?

 What specific understandings about the theme

will students develop?


Topic ~ Grade Level



Skill/Process (EALRs)


Facing Hard Times with Courage

Revolutionary War

5th Grade

Predict what will happen based on evidence in text (Reading)

• Analyze effect of historical events on characters’ lives, actions, and beliefs (Writing)

Understand what it means to face hard times with courage:

  Each individual has a different motivation for being courageous.

   Courage requires drawing on strength and skills within oneself.

   Being courageous means persevering in the face of uncertain outcomes.


Reaching Out and Letting Go


Growing Up


7th Grade


Gain new perspectives from other students, evaluate personal communication skills, and seek out answers to questions they have. (Communication)

• Find evidence in text as examples of reaching out (Reading)

• Compare and contrast the actions of characters from three different pieces of literature. (Reading and Writing)


Understand when it is important to reach out to others and when we need to let go:

   There are times in our lives when we will be able to reach out to others, and times when we need others to reach out to us.

   Each individual has a different reason for wanting to reach out to others.

   Each individual has different things that they need to “let go of” to be healthier and happier.

 • Reaching out and letting go isn’t always easy


Persevering Despite Obstacles


No topic


3rd Grade


Identify ways that characters believed in themselves by gathering quotes from text. (Reading)

• Compare characters’ motivations for wanting to persevere. (Reading)


Understand what it means to persevere and will be able to recognize ways in which characters persevere.

In order to persevere despite obstacles, you must believe in yourself and be strong.

 Each individual has a different motivation for wanting to persevere.

 Even with perseverance, determination, and a belief in yourself, you don't always reach your goal.




Themed Literature Units
© 2007 Katherine L. Schlick Noe, Ph.D.
School of Education
Seattle University
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Seattle, WA  98122
(206) 296-5768

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