Free Literature Theme Cards

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My afterschool tutoring group has recently been working on identifying the Main Idea and Theme, specifically CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.RL.3.9 – Compare and contrast the themes, settings, and plots of stories written by the same author about the same or similar characters (e.g., in books from a series). 

To help my students understand what theme is, I used this little acronym I’ve seen all of the Internet: THEME = THE Message.  The kids thought this was so neat, and I found it really helped them remember what Theme is and how it differs from the main idea.


After introducing my students to theme, I went over some of the basic themes found in children’s literature.  To help, I created these cards that we hung around the classroom after our discussion.  These cards would be great to keep up year-round.  After reading a book as a class, decide which theme it fits under, and then, post the cover image below the poster.

You can download them for FREE by completing the form at the bottom of the page!  A version with white backgrounds (to save on ink) is also included.  Enjoy!