Theme

A theme is the central message or meaning of a literary work. It is usually not stated directly but needs to be inferred by the reader. It is a general conclusion or lesson about human nature or society. An example of a theme might be, “Money can’t buy happiness.” Below you will find reading comprehension passages that can be used for instruction on themes.

Sea Hag

From stormy seas, As waters churned, A gruesome lesson    Once was  learned By a foolish sailor One terrible day. He risked it all, He’d later say, For the love of a lady, A mermaid, it’s true, A beautiful creature From the ocean blue. He sailed his ship From here to…

Swara the Snow White Swan

Swara was a swan. Her feathers were as white as snow. She lived at the lake with her friends, the ducks and turtles.   All the ducks liked to splash and swim. Some even liked to dive head-first into the water and kick their orange feet into the air. The turtles…

The Wolf and the House Dog

There was once a Wolf who got very little to eat because the Dogs of the village were so wide awake and watchful. He was really nothing but skin and bones, and it made him very downhearted to think of it. One night this Wolf happened to fall in with…

The Climb

One sunny day, Marco went outside to play. He looked at the tall tree in his front yard. It was the tallest tree in the neighborhood. The tree was taller than Marco’s parents. It was even taller than his house! Marco tipped his head back to look at the top of the…

The Shepherd Boy and the Wolf

A Shepherd Boy tended his master’s Sheep near a dark forest not far from the village. Soon he found life in the pasture very dull. All he could do to amuse himself was to talk to his dog or play on his shepherd’s pipe. One day as he sat watching…

The Story of Prometheus: How Fire Was Given to Men

Prometheus is the son of a Titan, one of the early gods of Greek mythology. The Titans fought Zeus, called here by his Roman name, Jupiter. The king of the Titans was Cronus, called here by his Roman name, Saturn. ———————————- In those old, old times, there lived two brothers…

The Lilies and the Thistles

In a patch of garden, in a sunny corner of the backyard, stood a proud group of yellow lilies. They were tall flowers: elegant, graceful, and beautiful. They were surrounded by a ring of scruffy, prickly, purple thistles that had sprung up recently with all the April showers and May…

Jack After the Beanstalk

Jack got a cart from the shed and loaded gold pieces into it. Then he pushed the cart into the house. “Mom! You’ll never have to worry about food again!” “Jack! What is this? Where did you get these gold pieces? What have you done now?” Jack’s eyes lit up.…

Diana Is Invited to Tea with Tragic Results

In this passage from Anne of Green Gables, Anne has invited her friend Diana to tea. A cordial is a fruit drink. ————————– When Anne came back from the kitchen Diana was drinking her second glassful of cordial; and, being entreated thereto by Anne, she offered no particular objection to…

The Road Not Taken

Two roads diverged in a yellow wood, And sorry I could not travel both And be one traveler, long I stood And looked down one as far as I could To where it bent in the undergrowth; Then took the other, as just as fair, And having perhaps the better…