Finding the Central Theme | Reading

June 10, 2015 thetasctest

Finding the Central Theme | Reading 

You’ve probably learned an important lesson from a story you’ve read. Or you’ve learned from situations that certain characters have faced. Authors often present a central theme, or a main idea of a text.

Finding the central theme of a text is a medium emphasis topic on the TASC Test Assessing Secondary Completion™ Reading subtest. You may be asked questions about analyzing the theme’s development over the course of a text.

A theme is a message about life the author tries to convey to the readers. It can also be thought of as the main idea of a work. You see the theme develop through characters and their decisions, experiences, and insights. To identify that theme, you must first determine the central idea, or what the story is mostly about, according to Curriculum Associates.

Two types of themes can be found in a text:

  • Stated Themes: expressed directly in the text by the writer.
  • Implied Themes: revealed gradually through elements such as plot, characters, setting, point of view, symbol, and irony.

Implied themes tend to be more frequent. When a text has an implied theme, the reader must determine the theme through examination of characters and story patterns.

Determining the theme of a text is like putting a puzzle together. When preparing to take the TASC Reading subtest, a key study tip is to read carefully and thoroughly. By this practice, you can assemble the important details of the text and determine the central idea and understand the author’s message.

According to, short stories often have just one theme, whereas novels usually have multiple themes. The theme of a story is woven all the way through the story, and the characters' actions, interactions, and motivations all reflect the story's theme.

When you're trying to recognize the theme of a story, ask yourself what the author is trying to convey through the characters and events of the story.

Prepare further with guided practices from Curriculum Associates

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