*Before teaching this reading lesson plan about Hatchet, you will need to check for understanding of the term, theme. Use an easy tale to teach or review themes in stories, such as, "The Three Little Pigs." The main theme in this tale would be haste makes waste or it's better to take your time and do it right.
Hatchet has two main themes: Brian's survival in the wilderness in a physical sense. The other theme is his inner, or emotional, struggle over his mom and dad's divorce.
Once you have taught theme or reviewed it by using simpler stories, ask students to make a list in their reading response journals or on a piece of paper about the themes in Hatchet. Tell them there are two main themes, and ask them to write down what they think the themes are. The hardest part of this reading skill for students is they are too specific with their themes. Students may write down that one theme is the pilot having a heart attack or Brian using his hatchet.
Once you have given students time to write in their journals, let them discuss their ideas for five minutes with a partner. After these discussions, ask students to tell you what they think the themes are. Make a list on the board or chart paper, and work together as a class to narrow the list down to two main themes.