Literature, both fiction and nonfiction, is rife with themes. Books and articles rarely promote just one main idea but rather several themes for readers to ponder and infer. When we talk to students about themes, we help them discern the difference between theme and plot. We explain that the plot is simply what happens in the narrative. The themes represent the bigger ideas of the story. The plot carries those ideas along. To demonstrate plot, we choose a simple narrative that everyone is likely to be familiar with. We might recount the plot of Goldilocks and the Three Bears by summarizing the events of the story as follows. A girl named Goldilocks was wandering through the forest and entered an unfamiliar, empty house. She tasted porridge that didn't belong to her, broke a chair, and slept in a bed that wasn't hers. She was caught when the bears returned, and she ran out of the house scared to death. We explain to our students that themes are the underlying ideas, morals, and lessons that give the story its tex-ture, depth, and meaning. The themes are rarely written out in the story. We infer themes. Themes often make us feel angry, sad, guilty, joyful, frightened. We tell kids that we are likely to feel themes in our gut. To help students more clearly understand the difference, we might ask, "What are the bigger ideas in Goldilocks and the Three Bears?" Kids tend to identify taking things that don't belong to you, selfishness, thoughtlessness, and so on. They have experienced these notions and they understand them.