Books & Ideas for Theme + FREEBIES!

Hi everyone!!! Can you believe the school year is coming to a close?!? 22 days left for me, not that I'm excited or anything!! :) How many days do you all have left?? Well, as we all know, the end of the year is exciting, but it is also sooooooo busy! We're all trying to get everything in before we let our lovelies go home for the summer! It can be a little overwhelming, but it always works out in the end!

So on to THEME! :) ***Make sure to read through the end for some FREEBIES!!!***

Theme is such a hard concept for little ones to pick up on; however, I always have a few very insightful kids that just get it. Do you have those students too? I just want to hug them when they get it after the others are staring at you with blank looks on their faces!! hah

Well, we visited theme already, and we are now returning to it. I use my Reading Skills Poster for Theme every time we come to it, and it's always posted up in the room.
***My Best Seller Reading Skills Posters will be on SALE through Wednesday!!!***

I love using picture books to teach reading skills, but I started with a Pixar Short Film called Hawaiian Vacation with the Toy Story characters.
You can find the video for FREE on by clicking the picture below!!
We talk about how the characters acted when they found out Ken and Barbie missed their Hawaiian Vacation and decided to help Barbie make it a vacation right there! We try to put ourselves into the story to see what we may learn for our own lives. This video is awesome for friendship!

Check out You Tube for more of these Pixar Videos to use with theme and other skills in your classroom!!!


Once we watched the video, we used my Theme Pyramid to write down our information to help us identify the theme. I have 4 different versions to give me some flexibility on what all of the plot I want them to focus on! (BME, SWBST, 1-5, Problem/Solution)

Hope you like them!!! :)
My goal for this is that they see the plot has the most information. Then comes the main idea which gives you the gist of the whole plot. This finally leads to understanding the theme which relates to THEM! We really focus on how everything that builds up to the theme is the proof as to how we determined the theme. 

One other idea I was given by a coworker which I'm sooooo excited to use is all about "looking through the window!" Take a piece of construction paper, and use an x-acto knife to cut shudder like pieces that can open. Using the construction paper shudders and trim, have the kids write down the information from the plot, main idea, etc. they learned from the story. Then have them stick their heads in the window to find the theme! :) I know it sounds silly, but the kids LOVE putting themselves INTO the story! This makes something so abstract a little more touchable! 

Picture Books for Theme

On to the picture books!!! I may have a problem with buying kids books! Last year, I went on a THEME shopping spree to try to find books that would help them! Here are just a few of them! 

There you have it!! :)

What types of activities and books do you use when you teach theme?? Make sure to also leave your grade level, too! :) 


  1. Theme is so abstract for my firsties! I love the pyramid for a visual. We just introduced this last week and definitely need lots more practice. Thanks for the great freebie:)

    The Resourceful Apple

    1. Hey Tammy! You are so right! It's so abstract! I find that the kids have a really hard time with letting go of the characters and bringing it back to them. They always want to say something about what the characters learned instead of transferring it to their lives. I'm so glad you like the pyramid!! It has really helped my students! I hope the freebie is helpful with your firsties!! Thanks so much for stopping by!!!

      Nicole :)


I always LOVE to hear from other teachers and bloggers so thank you so much for taking the time to comment!! It's so exciting to meet new people who share in your passion!