Wednesday, April 18, 2012

List of Read Alouds through Themes and "Theme" Bulletin Board Labels

This year, I have worked on building students' understanding of theme to get ready for the "theme" and "central message" standards for Reading Literature in the Common Core. As I encountered the standards related to theme, Beth Newingham's theme bulletin boards stuck out in my mind. I always thought it was a great idea for displaying class read alouds, but never took the time to implement the idea in my own classroom. But, with the necessity of getting ready for our new state standards, I decided to get a jumpstart on theme this year with my students. I am so glad I did. I used to think theme was a complicated topic that was addressed in high school literature classes. Now that I have discussed theme with my students and helped them learn to identify the themes in some of our favorite read alouds, I totally think the objective of teaching theme is age appropriate and something students can handle.

Through my reflection and research, I decided to define theme as "a common message that shows up in many stories across many genres and cultures." I defined "author's message" as an author's take on a theme.

In my planning, I also created a database of read alouds that could be used to address specific themes (family, home, individualism, identity, sacrifice, accepting others, friendship, etc). I'm happy to share this database with you and hope that you can use it as a quick reference for books on a theme you are looking for. A second goal for my theme focus (and my year) was to increase diversity in my read aloud choices. You will see this diversity in the read aloud database. For quick reference, I also classified the read alouds by specific countries or nationalities in efforts to try to "read around the world."

You can download my theme label cards (including the definition posters and posters of the common core related standards for grades 1st-5th) at my teacherspayteachers store.


  1. Found this post through a Google search, Thank you for sharing the data base!


  2. Hi Jess, glad you found it! Hope it is helpful for making those theme connections!



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