LAFS.8.RL.1.2

Determine a theme or central idea of a text and analyze its development over the course of the text, including its relationship to the characters, setting, and plot; provide an objective summary of the text.
General Information
Subject Area: English Language Arts
Grade: 8
Strand: Reading Standards for Literature
Idea: Level 3: Strategic Thinking & Complex Reasoning
Date Adopted or Revised: 12/10
Date of Last Rating: 02/14
Status: State Board Approved
Assessed: Yes
Test Item Specifications
  • Item Type(s): This benchmark may be assessed using: TM , EBSR , MS , MC , GR , SHT , DDHT item(s)

  • Assessment Limits :
    Items may ask the student to determine a theme or central idea from a section of the text or from the entire text. Items may refer to themes and central ideas that are explicit or implicit in the text. Items may focus on the use of characters, setting, and plot in the development of the theme or central idea but should not simply ask students to analyze characters, setting, and plot development. Items may ask students to summarize the text.
  • Text Types :
    Items assessing this standard may be used with one or more grade-appropriate literary texts. Texts may vary in complexity.
  • Response Mechanisms :
    The Technology-Enhanced Item Descriptions section on pages 3 and 4 provides a list of Response Mechanisms that may be used to assess this standard (excluding the Editing Task Choice and Editing Task item types). The Sample Response Mechanisms may include, but are not limited to, the examples below.
  • Task Demand and Sample Response Mechanisms :

    Task Demand

    Determine a theme or central idea and analyze its development, including its relationship to the characters, setting, and plot.

    Sample Response Mechanisms

    Selectable Hot Text

    • Requires the student to identify a theme or central idea and then select how that theme or central idea was developed through its characters, setting, or plot. 

    Drag-and-Drop Hot Text

    • Requires the student to drag words or phrases into a graphic organizer to demonstrate the development of a theme or central idea throughout a text. 

    EBSR

    • Requires the student to select the theme or central idea and then select words or phrases from the text that contribute to its development.

    GRID

    • Requires the student to move words or phrases into a graphic organizer to show the development of a theme. 

    Table Match

    • Requires the student to complete a table with words or phrases that show the development of a theme or central idea throughout the text.

    Task Demand

    Summarize the text. 

    Sample Response Mechanisms

    Multiple Choice

    • Requires the student to select the best summary of the text. 

    Multiselect

    • Requires the student to select multiple sentences that could be used to create an accurate summary of the text. 

    Drag-and-Drop Hot Text

    • Requires the student to place pieces of a summary in the correct order. 

    GRID 

    • Requires the student to move pieces of a summary into a graphic organizer. 

    Table Match

    • Requires the student to complete a table to create an accurate summary of the text.

Related Courses

This benchmark is part of these courses.
1000000: M/J Intensive Language Arts (MC) (Specifically in versions: 2014 - 2015, 2015 - 2018, 2018 and beyond (current))
1000010: M/J Intensive Reading 1 (Specifically in versions: 2014 - 2015, 2015 - 2021 (current), 2021 and beyond)
1000020: M/J Intensive Reading and Career Planning (Specifically in versions: 2014 - 2015, 2015 - 2019, 2019 - 2021 (current), 2021 and beyond)
1001070: M/J Language Arts 3 (Specifically in versions: 2014 - 2015, 2015 - 2022 (current), 2022 and beyond)
1001080: M/J Language Arts 3 Advanced (Specifically in versions: 2014 - 2015, 2015 - 2022 (current), 2022 and beyond)
1002020: M/J Language Arts 3 Through ESOL (Specifically in versions: 2014 - 2015, 2015 and beyond (current))
1002180: M/J English Language Development (MC) (Specifically in versions: 2014 - 2015, 2015 - 2018, 2018 and beyond (current))
1007020: M/J Speech and Debate 3 (Specifically in versions: 2014 - 2015, 2015 - 2019, 2019 - 2021 (current), 2021 and beyond)
1008070: M/J Reading 3 (Specifically in versions: 2014 - 2015, 2015 - 2021 (course terminated))
1008080: M/J Reading 3, Advanced (Specifically in versions: 2014 - 2015, 2015 - 2021 (course terminated))
7810013: Access M/J Language Arts 3 (Specifically in versions: 2014 - 2015, 2015 - 2018, 2018 and beyond (current))
1002181: M/J Developmental Language Arts Through ESOL (Reading) (Specifically in versions: 2014 - 2015, 2015 and beyond (current))
1009050: M/J Writing 3 (Specifically in versions: 2014 - 2015, 2015 and beyond (current))
1006020: M/J Journalism 3 (Specifically in versions: 2014 - 2015, 2015 and beyond (current))
1010000: M/J Literacy through Film & Literature (Specifically in versions: 2016 and beyond (current))
1010010: M/J Literacy through World Literature (Specifically in versions: 2016 and beyond (current))
1010020: M/J Literacy through Philosophy (Specifically in versions: 2016 and beyond (current))

Related Access Points

Alternate version of this benchmark for students with significant cognitive disabilities.
LAFS.8.RL.1.AP.2a: Determine the theme or central idea of a text.
LAFS.8.RL.1.AP.2b: Analyze the development of the theme or central idea over the course of the text, including its relationship to the characters, setting and plot.
LAFS.8.RL.1.AP.2c: Provide/create an objective summary of a text.

Related Resources

Vetted resources educators can use to teach the concepts and skills in this benchmark.

Formative Assessments

Theme and Development of a Day Lost:

The student will read the poem “Count That Day Lost.” The student will determine a theme of the poem, analyze the development of the theme by completing a graphic organizer for theme development, and summarize the poem.

Type: Formative Assessment

Developing True Talents:

The student will complete a graphic organizer while reading the story “True Talents.” The student will determine the theme and analyze how that theme develops over the course of the text, including its relationship to the characters, setting, and plot. Finally, the student will provide an objective summary of the text.

Type: Formative Assessment

Theme of The Egg:

The student will read the story “The Egg” and complete a graphic organizer to determine the theme of the story and analyze the course of its development. The student will analyze how the theme’s development relates to the characters, setting, and the plot of the text. Finally, the student will write an objective summary of the story.

Type: Formative Assessment

The Child of Camelot Theme Development:

The student will read the literary passage “scene from The Child of Camelot.” The student will identify a theme of the passage and analyze how the theme is developed in the passage by completing a graphic organizer. The student will analyze the relationship of the theme and the characters, setting, and plot. The student will also provide a summary of the passage.

Type: Formative Assessment

Lesson Plans

It's a Lovely Home, But...Using Multiple Texts to Aid in Decision Making:

In this lesson, students will learn about a subject as they read and analyze multiple text types before writing a business letter explaining a decision they will be asked to make. This lesson incorporates poetry, authentic non-fiction, photography, and writing.

Type: Lesson Plan

Rain in Summer: What a Bummer, Or Is It?:

In this lesson, students will analyze the symbols and imagery present in Henry Wadsworth Longfellow's poem "Rain in Summer" to determine its tone and theme. Formative assessment checks are included in the form of student handouts with text-based questions and charts. Students will also write a mini-essay as a summative assessment in which they will develop a claim about the poem's theme, providing text-based examples as support.

Type: Lesson Plan

Close Reading of Echo and Narcissus:

In this lesson, students will conduct three close readings of the highly entertaining myth "Echo and Narcissus" as retold by Thomas Bulfinch. Through these readings, students will answer text-dependent questions about the myth, work to determine the meanings of selected vocabulary and sort them into different categories, analyze character motivation, and determine the settings used in the story. For the end of lesson assessment, students will determine a theme for the myth and write about that theme in an extended response paragraph.

Type: Lesson Plan

What's In A Name?: A Curriculum Unit Analyzing Identity in Multicultural Literature:

This lesson examines the portrayal of the significance of names and identity in two multicultural texts. The purpose is to introduce students to the concept of how names may be representative of identity and cultural/ethnic influences. Close analytical reading skills culminate in a narrative essay exploring a significant character's early life. Student handouts with activities, assignments, graphic organizers, and rubric are provided.

Type: Lesson Plan

Knowledge or Instinct? Jack London's "To Build a Fire":

A concise lesson plan with a variety of visual links and engaging before, during, and after reading activities.

Type: Lesson Plan

Florida: Feast of Connotations:

In this lesson, students will read the poem "Florida" by Elizabeth Bishop and code the text for positive and negative descriptions of Florida. Students will then explain in writing how connotation and denotation contribute to the central idea of the poem.

Type: Lesson Plan

To the Heart of Human Expression: Form and Theme in Poetry (Part 2 of 3):

In this second lesson of a three-part unit, students will explore how to identify and explain theme in poetry. Small group and full class discussions will be included as will a review of poetic and sound devices. Using Shakespeare's "Sonnet 71" and poetry of the Holocaust, students will analyze two poems and write theme analysis paragraphs for one of them with the help of a graphic organizer and rubric.

Type: Lesson Plan

Charge of the Light Brigade: Can a Poem Tell a Story?:

Students will be studying the narrative poem “The Charge of the Light Brigade” and discussing how a “poem can tell a story.” Students will focus upon citing evidence to support central ideas found in the poem and then using those inferences to complete a comparison/contrast essay. Part of this study will include watching a 4 minute clip from the movie The Blind Side in which Tim McGraw’s character explains the meaning of the poem in terms of a football game between rivals LSU and Ole Miss. Students will be asked to compare and contrast the poem’s meaning in terms of battle in war and battle on the football field, determine how these two situations are similar and different, and finally be asked to explain if the football analogy was helpful in aiding the understanding of the story the poem tells.

Type: Lesson Plan

The Lottery: Tradition's Impact on Human Behavior:

This lesson provides students an opportunity to closely read Shirley Jackson's "The Lottery" and analyze the impact of tradition on human behavior through speaking, listening, reading, and writing.

Type: Lesson Plan

Original Student Tutorial

Make a Wish: Theme in "The Monkey's Paw":

Explore foreshadowing and theme through the suspenseful story The Monkey's Paw by W.W. Jacobs in this interactive tutorial.

Type: Original Student Tutorial

Teaching Ideas

Close Reading Exemplar: Dulce et Decorum Est:

The goal of the exemplar from Student Achievement Partner web resources is to give students practice in reading and writing about poetry. The poem makes connections to World War I as students closely analyze the poet's depiction of war. Students explore complex text through a) re-reading, paraphrasing, and discussing ideas, (b) achieving an accurate basic understanding of the stanzas of the poem, (c) achieving an accurate interpretive understanding of the piece, and (d) building a coherent piece of writing that both constructs and communicates solid understanding of the poem.

Type: Teaching Idea

Teaching Tolerance: Maya Angelou:

This resource from Teaching Tolerance focuses on Maya Angelou's poem "Still I Rise." It begins with a discussion of figurative language and the power of words and moves into a discussion of overcoming hardships.

Type: Teaching Idea

Unit/Lesson Sequences

Freak the Mighty: Heroes Come in All Sizes:

Freak the Mighty is the story of a friendship between Max, who is big for his age and has learning disabilities, and Kevin, who is a genius, but is short and unable to walk on his own. In this unit, students explore how expectations for students with disabilities are influenced by appearances, behaviors, and stereotypes as they cite textual evidence that supports an analysis of what the text says, determine/analyze the text's theme, and engage effectively in collaborative small-group discussions.

Type: Unit/Lesson Sequence

Modeling Reading and Analysis Processes with the Works of Edgar Allan Poe:

"Explore reading strategies using the think-aloud process as students investigate connections between the life and writings of Edgar Allan Poe. The unit, which begins with an in-depth exploration of "The Raven," then moves students from a full-class reading of the poem to small-group readings of Poe's short stories ("The Black Cat," "Hop-Frog," "Masque of the Red Death," and "The Fall of the House of Usher"). The unit concludes with individual projects that explore the readings in more detail. Students have the opportunity to choose among the following [three] activities: write a narrative in Poe's style; design a sales brochure for the House of Usher; ...or investigate the author further by exploring biographical and background information in more detail. The lesson includes options for both students who need direct instruction and those who can explore with less structure."

Type: Unit/Lesson Sequence

Original Student Tutorials for Language Arts - Grades 6-12

Make a Wish: Theme in "The Monkey's Paw":

Explore foreshadowing and theme through the suspenseful story The Monkey's Paw by W.W. Jacobs in this interactive tutorial.

Student Resources

Vetted resources students can use to learn the concepts and skills in this benchmark.

Original Student Tutorial

Make a Wish: Theme in "The Monkey's Paw":

Explore foreshadowing and theme through the suspenseful story The Monkey's Paw by W.W. Jacobs in this interactive tutorial.

Type: Original Student Tutorial

Parent Resources

Vetted resources caregivers can use to help students learn the concepts and skills in this benchmark.