Compare and Contrast Themes & Topics Across Cultures | Teaching Theme


Total Pages: 33
File Size: 2 MB



This product is designed to be used as a teaching supplement for RL.4.9 – Compare and contrast the treatment of similar themes and topics (e.g., opposition of good and evil) and patterns of events (e.g., the quest) in stories, myths, and traditional literature from different cultures.

→This product could also be used to teach RL.3.9 & RL.5.9.

This resource includes a total of 5 mini lessons. In these lessons, students will be introduced to (or review) topic, pattern of events (plot), and theme.

  1. Comparing Themes & Topics Across Cultures (introduction)
  2. Compare & Contrast 2 Greek Myths
  3. Compare & Contrast 2 Fables
  4. Compare & Contrast 2 Folktales
  5. Compare & Contrast 2 Fairy Tales

Each lesson allows students to find similarities and differences between the topic, pattern of events, and theme.

How to use these lessons:

Lesson #1: Introduction

Use the first 2 pages of this mini-unit to introduce topic, pattern of events, and theme. Allow students time to familiarize or re-familiarize themselves with these literature skills.

Note: These lessons can be done whole-group, literature circles, or with a partner.

Suggestion: Do the first two lessons together, in literature circles, or with a partner. Check for understanding. Use the last two lessons as assessments.

Each lesson follows the same format.

  • Students read 2 traditional literature stories – Myths, Fables, Folktales, or Fairy Tales.
  • Students use a Venn-diagram to compare and contrast themes and topics found in the two stories.
  • Students answer questions related to topic, pattern of events, and theme.
  • Students compare the two stories using setting, character traits, and conclusion while citing text evidence.

Lesson #2: Myths

Students compare & contrast:

  • Thor’s Mighty Hammer (a Greek mythical adaption)
  • Perseus & Medusa (a Greek mythical adaption)

Lesson #3: Fables

Students compare & contrast:

  • A Fox & His Skin (a Chinese fable adaptation)
  • The Wolf & the Goat (a Greek fable adaptation)

Lesson #4: Folktales

Students compare & contrast:

  • Anansi the Spider (an African folktale adaptation)
  • Coyote & the Hen (a Native American folktale adaptation)

Lesson #5: Fairy Tales

Students compare & contrast:

  • Sootface (an Ojibwa fairy tale adaptation)
  • Yeh-Shen (a Chinese fairy tale adaptation)

Answer keys are included for ALL PAGES.

*Note: The mythical stories and the fables (excluding trickster tales) included in this download are also used in McGraw Hill CCSS Literacy Handbook. All stories have been rewritten with many details added. All comprehension questions, graphic organizers, and comparison activities are my original ideas.

Looking for more resources to help teach ELA skills?
Finding the Main Idea with Non-Fiction Text – Year Long Bundle
Finding the Main Idea with Non-Fiction Text
Finding the Main Idea with Non-Fiction Text {Spring Edition}
Finding the Main Idea with Non-Fiction Text {Winter Edition}
Finding the Main Idea with Non-Fiction Text {Christmas Edition}
Finding the Main Idea: Activities for Main Idea & Supporting Details
Comparing Themes & Topics Across Cultures
Mastering Theme with Aesop’s Fables
Speller’s Choice Menus & Spelling Activity Pages to Last the Entire Year!
Revised Blooms Taxonomy Question Stem for Key Ring
Writing On Demand Prompts & Rubrics (Grades 3-6)
Text Features for the Classroom
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Genre Posters with Book Basket Labels {Editable}
Idioms, Proverbs, and Adages Practice Worksheets


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Copyright © Kim Miller (For a Love of Teaching). All rights reserved by author. This product is to be used by the original downloader only. Copying for more than one teacher, classroom, department, school, or school system is prohibited. This product may not be distributed or displayed digitally for public view. Failure to comply is a copyright infringement and a violation of the Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA). Clipart and elements found in this PDF are copyrighted and cannot be extracted and used outside of this file without permission or license. Intended for classroom and personal use ONLY.


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