I find that students constantly struggle with distinguishing the theme from the plot. I try to read a lot of picture books and have them tell me the theme after we have read it. I recently read Fly Away Home by Eve Bunting to my students and I had them pick out the theme. It is a story about a dad and young boy who live in an airport because they are homeless. It is also a good segway into discussing the topic of homelessness and reasons people are homeless etc… We also talked about symbolism (the bird represents that there is hope and that the boy and dad have hope to someday get a home). This can be used as a warm up to spark student’s writing ideas in their writing notebooks.5 minute picture book= symbolism, theme and a discussion, or at least a thought in student’s s mind about a social issue- can’t go wrong!