Thursday, April 17, 2014

Teaching Theme is a DREAM!

Yikes. That was cheesy. But seriously, teaching theme has never been easier since using these theme charts from Beth Newingham's teacher resources. I first printed them off many years ago and they hung on a bulletin board as an easy reference. Fine. That was fine. But the next year I created theme boards using Beth's posters and that was when it really clicked for my kiddos!

So, I print Beth's original theme charts to use because they have an explanation of what that theme means below the title. While reading novels, we keep a story board on the easel in the meeting area. There is a picture of the book cover, and we take notes while reading. Genre, main characters, traits, vocabulary, perspective, author's purpose, setting, etc. As we finish read aloud novels or picture books, we discuss the theme and add the picture of the book cover to the correct theme chart. Sometimes a book has several covers, so we choose several themes because theme is a marvelous question where there are MANY long as you can prove it with evidence from the text.

The theme charts are above our meeting area.

 While reading, we discuss possible themes, 
but never make a final choice until we finish reading the entire text.

Obviously Joey Pigza Swallowed the Key was one of our first read alouds. If you haven't read it, do it! It's amazing, and has a few follow up books so when kids enjoy this text, they keep reading!

Nice, right?

These are Beth's newer theme signs. They have AWESOME themes, but no explanation. So I save these for later in the year, when kiddos understand theme pretty well. Then I introduce these and put them in their own section of the classroom. As kiddos start reading complex texts independently, they can select a theme from this section of the room.

So, there you go! Theme has never been easier!


  1. I'll have to check out those signs! We're reading our interpretation texts right now and the entire unit is based on connection themes across books and genres! Love, love, love!

    My Shoe String Life

    1. The theme signs are super cute, and I would definitely suggest using them right from the beginning of the school year, too. By November, theme is just a part of our read alouds! Beth Newingham's website is AWESOME, too! There are tons of teacher resources to check out. You can definitely get sucked in and use up all of your color ink! :)

  2. This comment has been removed by the author.