Activity Overview

There are a number of recurring themes in Wonder, including bullying and kindness. Have students choose one or two themes and create a storyboard with dialogue to depict each theme as represented in the text. Next, have students connect their chosen theme to real life, either imagined or historical, and show it in a storyboard.

For example, courage is one theme explored in Wonder. It is shown in a variety of ways. One of the first glimpses we get into Auggie's courage is when he decides to try public school, despite being very nervous about it. He is scared of the way classmates will react to him and his looks. After meeting with the principal and talking with his parents, Auggie decides to try it out. This new chapter in his life, fills him with fear, but he faces it with courage.

Students may also want to connect themes to modern day in an additional column. Courage was displayed by the African-American students and their parents when schools were desegregated in the United States. Despite verbal abuse and threats of physical violence, these brave students made their way through the doors of the schools and led our country through historic changes.

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 Wonder. Illustrate instances of each theme and write a short description below each cell.

  1. Click "Start Assignment".
  2. Identify the theme(s) from Wonder you wish to include and replace the "Theme 1" text.
  3. Create an image for an example that represents this theme from the story.
  4. Think of your own example of this theme from the real world.
  5. Write a description of each of the examples.

Lesson Plan Reference

Common Core Standards
  • [ELA-Literacy/RL/6/5] Analyze how a particular sentence, chapter, scene, or stanza fits into the overall structure of a text and contributes to the development of the theme, setting, or plot
  • [ELA-Literacy/RL/7/2] Determine a theme or central idea of a text and analyze its development over the course of the text; provide an objective summary of the text
  • [ELA-Literacy/RL/8/9] Analyze how a modern work of fiction draws on themes, patterns of events, or character types from myths, traditional stories, or religious works such as the Bible, including describing how the material is rendered new


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

Create a storyboard that identifies themes in the story. Illustrate examples of each theme and write a short description below each cell.
Proficient Emerging Beginning
Identify Theme(s)
All themes are correctly identified and described.
Some themes are correctly identified.
No themes are correctly identified.
Examples of Theme(s)
All examples support the identified theme(s).
Most examples fit the identified theme(s).
Most examples do not fit the theme(s).
Illustrate Theme
Images clearly show connection with the theme(s).
Some images help to show the theme.
Images do not help in understanding the theme.

How To Teach Theme


Define the Term Theme

Start students off with a lesson on theme and define it clearly with students. Use some specific examples to help them understand what lessons can be learned from a story.


Talk About Life Lessons in the Story

Lead a full class discussion with students about particular themes that they find in the story Wonder. Students will most always come up with the ideas of being kind and being bullied.


Make it Personal

After students relate to the story and the lessons, use a storyboard or illustration to help them make things personal. In this way, the point of the theme will be scene, as it is meant to help students grow from a story.

Frequently Asked Questions about Themes in Wonder

What is the primary theme in Wonder?

The story actually has two major themes. One is that kids will often bully other kids, like Julian bullies August. The other is the exact opposite: kindness. Summer sits with August and helps him to feel more accepted.

Why are themes important to study?

A theme is what you learn about life after reading a story. One important reason for reading is to build empathy. If you learn life lessons from a book you can become a better person.

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