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Theme (Grade 3)

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A Real Grandma
by Joan Strauss

Grandma wasn't like the grandmas Beth saw in books. Those grandmas were in the kitchen with aprons on, baking cookies. They sat in rocking chairs with cats in their laps.

Beth's grandma wore jeans. Instead of a cat, she had a yellow Lab named Sunny.

Beth wondered, Is my grandma a real grandma?

"Can we bake cookies?" Beth asked.

"When we're not so busy," Grandma said, "we'll bake oatmeal cookies with raisins. They're my favorite."

"Why can't we bake them today?" Beth asked.

"Today we're taking Sunny to cheer up the people in the nursing home," Grandma said.

The people in the nursing home liked playing with Sunny. But there was no time to bake cookies.

The next time Beth visited Grandma she asked, "Can we bake cookies today?"

"We're going to build a bluebird house today," said Grandma. "Spring's here. The bluebirds need a house."

Beth had fun hammering nails and painting the bluebird house. It took the whole day. There wasn't any time left to bake cookies.

At Beth's next visit, she and Grandma rode their bikes through the park. By the time they got back, it was too late to bake cookies.

"Grandma's always too busy to bake cookies," said Beth. "I wish I had a real grandma."

"She is a real grandma," Mom said. "She's just a busy grandma. She doesn't have time to bake."

Beth sat quietly, her chin propped in her hand. She smiled. "I know! Since I have time, I'll bake cookies for Grandma, oatmeal cookies with raisins. Will you help me, Mom?"

"What a good idea. Of course, I'll help."

Beth mixed the cookie batter and stirred in the raisins. She dropped spoonfuls of batter onto the cookie sheets.

Mom slid the pans into the oven. The cookies turned a beautiful golden brown. Beth and Mom each ate one. Beth packed the rest in a shiny cookie tin for Grandma.

19When they arrived at Grandma's house, she was digging in her garden. Beth jumped out of Mom's car. She held out the cookie tin. "Grandma, I've got a surprise for you!"

Grandma leaned back on her heels then stood up. "A surprise? For me?" Grandma opened the tin without even taking off her muddy gardening gloves. "Oatmeal cookies with raisins! How wonderful!"

"I baked them for you," Beth said.

"That's even more wonderful." Grandma hugged and kissed Beth.

Beth snuggled into Grandma's arms. She didn't care about Grandma's muddy gloves. Grandma might not be like the grandmas in books, but Beth knew her grandma was a real grandma.

An important message in this story is that...
  1. nature is full of beautiful things
  2. doing things for others brings happiness
  3. outdoor exercise is fun for everyone
  4. working in a garden is harder than baking
What is the theme of the poem below?

When You Can Read
by Bobbi Katz

When you can read, then you can go
from Kalamazoo* to Idaho**-
Or read directions that explain
just how to build a model plane-
Or bake a cake or cook a stew-
The words will tell you what to do!
When you can read, then you can play
a brand new game the proper way-
Or get a letter from a friend
and read the very end.

* Kalamazoo - a city in Michigan
** Idaho - a state in the United States
  1. When you read, you can build a model plane.
  2. When you read, you can do many things.
  3. When you read, you can bake a cake or cook a stew.
  4. When you read, you can play a brand new game.
Finding the theme to a passage is most like...
  1. a camera zooming in to find the details
  2. a camera zooming out to see the entire picture
A theme is often directly or indirectly stated as a                .
  1. moral
  2. judgment
  3. answer
  4. friend
Caleb was having a really bad day. He was being rude to everyone. He pushed Frederick on his way to class, and even threw Michael's books out of his hands. When it came time to go to the in-school game Caleb got to the concession stand and ordered a hot dog and soda. As Caleb waited for his snacks, he sunk his hand into his pocket only to find that he had lost his money. He turned to see that Michael was laughing at him.

What would be an appropriate theme for this passage?
  1. Everything always works out
  2. You should be nice to people, even if they are mean to you
  3. You should be nice to people, you never know who you may need.
  4. You should always have extra money
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