Activity Overview

Several themes are present in the novel. Students can pick a theme to explore and should support their choice with specific details or events from the text. One prominent theme is, “friendship”. Throughout the novel, Opal meets members in the community and builds relationships with them.


  • The first friend she makes is Winn-Dixie; she takes him home and makes him a part of her family.
  • Later, she meets Otis, a depressed pet store manager, who gives her a job.
  • Opal also befriends Amanda, who she originally thought was “pinch-faced” and not a nice girl.

Template and Class Instructions

(These instructions are completely customizable. After clicking "Copy Activity", update the instructions on the Edit Tab of the assignment.)

Student Instructions

Create a storyboard that identifies recurring themes in Because of Winn Dixie. Illustrate instances of each theme and write a short description below each cell.

  1. Click "Start Assignment".
  2. Identify the theme(s) from Because of Winn Dixie you wish to include and replace the "Theme 1" text.
  3. Create an image for an example that represents this theme.
  4. Write a description of each of the examples.

Lesson Plan Reference

Common Core Standards
  • [ELA-Literacy/RL/4/1] Refer to details and examples in a text when explaining what the text says explicitly and when drawing inferences from the text.
  • [ELA-Literacy/RL/4/2] Determine a theme of a story, drama, or poem from details in the text; summarize the text.


(You can also create your own on Quick Rubric.)

Themes, Symbols, and Motifs
Create a storyboard that identifies recurring themes, symbols, and/or motifs in the story. Illustrate instances of each and write a short description that explains the example's significance.
Proficient Emerging Beginning
Identify Theme(s)
All themes are correctly identified as important recurring topics or messages in the story.
Some themes are correctly identified, but others are missing or do not make sense with the story.
No themes are correctly identified.
Identify Symbol(s)
All symbols are correctly identified as objects that represent something else at a higher level in the story.
Most symbols are correctly identified, but some objects are missing or are incorrectly identified as significant symbols.
No symbols are correctly identified.
Identify Motif(s)
All motifs are correctly identified as important recurring features or ideas in the story.
Some motifs are correctly identified, but others are missing or incorrect.
No motifs are correctly identified.
All examples support the identified themes, symbols, and motifs. Descriptions clearly say why examples are significant.
Most examples fit the identified themes, symbols, and motifs. Descriptions say why examples are significant.
Most examples do not fit the identified themes, symbols, and motifs. Descriptions are unclear.
Storyboard cells clearly show connection with the themes, symbols, and motifs and help with understanding.
Most storyboard cells help to show the themes, symbols, and motifs, but some storyboard cells are difficult to understand.
Storyboard cells do not help in understanding the themes, symbols, and motifs.

How To Discuss Themes With Younger Students


Introduce Themes

Use simple words and more real-life examples to explain to students the concept of themes. Teachers can start the discussion with open-ended questions and ask interesting questions from students to promote the concept.


Give Practice

Teachers can give the students a story or a small paragraph to read and afterward discuss the theme of that story. For example the theme behind a short story such as The Hare and the Tortoise. This will induce critical thinking skills and increase their pace of understanding.


Encourage Creativity

After identifying themes, students can write a short story relating to that theme. For instance, the main theme of Because of Winn-Dixie is friendship. Teachers can ask the students to write a story about how they met their best friend or Introduce their best friend in an interesting way.


Promote Curiosity

Stimulate conversations and encourage the students to ask questions. Teachers can increase the confidence of students by giving them a chance to stand out and be themselves.


Be Supportive and Patient

Remember that younger kids may need more time to digest and comprehend complicated ideas, so be patient and encouraging. Be understanding and patient, and where necessary, give justifications and examples.

Frequently Asked Questions About Depicting Theme in Because of Winn- Dixie

What is the central theme of the story "Because of Winn-Dixie"?

The power of friendship and how it may lead to healing and constructive transformation in people's lives is the book's central theme.

How can readers understand the theme of friendship through the relationship between Opal and Winn-Dixie?

The friendship motif is heavily influenced by the relationship between Opal and Winn-Dixie. Opal takes in a stray dog named Winn-Dixie, and their unwavering love and companionship completely change both of their lives. Opal discovers courage, confidence, and the value of empathy and compassion through their connection.

How does the story's theme of loneliness manifest itself?

Opal, the story's protagonist, and a number of other characters make the subject of loneliness clear. Opal is lonely in her new town because she doesn't know anyone until she meets the dog Winn-Dixie. In addition, other characters like Gloria Dump and Otis also face loneliness, which is made better by their relationships with Opal and Winn-Dixie.

What life lessons can be drawn from the themes of "Because of Winn-Dixie" for young readers?

Young readers can discover the value of accepting, forgiving, and friendship. The book imparts empathy, kindness, and the value of seeing past outward manifestations in order to genuinely comprehend others. Additionally, it exhorts readers to accept new relationships and keep their hearts open to new experiences.

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