33 Picture Books for Teaching Theme and Main Idea

33 Picture Books for Teaching Theme and Main Idea

It is easy to confuse teaching theme with a books main idea. Read on for a quick explanation of the difference between theme and main idea, as well as picture books to teach these comprehension concepts.

33 Picture Books for Teaching Theme and Main Idea

What is the Difference Between Theme and Main Idea?

It is easy to confuse the theme of a book with its main idea. The theme or central idea of a book is the lesson, moral or message the reader takes away after reading. The main idea is what the book is about and can usually be stated as a short summary.

Teaching Theme

The tricky part of identifying the theme of a book is an author will often imply rather than explicitly state it. This means your students have to look for clues from the text.

As you read, model how to identify the theme. You could start by reminding your students of the themes of other books you have read. This will help them focus on what they are looking out for as you read. Also, remind them that the theme may be implied rather than stated, so they will need to look for clues in the text.

After reading, focus your questions on the characters and how they reacted to events, their decision-making and what they learned. As your students come up with ideas, ask them what their evidence is. You could introduce a graphic organiser/anchor chart at this point to help your students organise their thoughts.

Teaching Main Idea

Finding the main idea of a story involves organising, explaining, and remembering the text read. Identifying the main idea shows an understanding of a text by determining the relevant parts. You can model this by highlighting repeated words, phrases, or ideas that represent the main idea as you read to your students.

Before reading, focus on the front cover. Do the title and illustration give any clues as to what the main idea will be? Is the book fiction or non-fiction?

As you read, ask your students to be mindful of text features that may help identify the main idea, as well as words or information repeated throughout the book.

After reading, reflect on the important parts of the book and identify evidence from the book to support their main idea conclusion.

Related Posts

Picture Books for Teaching Theme and Main Idea

You will have books to teach theme and main idea in your classroom. This list of books are some of the most popular on Children’s Library Library, and may give you some ideas to get you started.

Main Idea & Theme Graphic Organisers

You can find theme and main idea PDF and Google Slides graphic organisers for any book in my Teachers Pay Teachers store.

Main Idea & Theme Graphic Organisers

You can find theme and main idea PDF and Google Slides graphic organisers for any book in my Teachers Pay Teachers store.

Further Reading

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33 Picture Books for Teaching Theme and Main Idea

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