15 Anchor Charts for Teaching Theme

Theme, central message, moral of the story… cover it with these anchor charts.

15 Anchor Charts for Teaching Theme

Identifying the theme of a literary work can be tricky to learn. How is theme different from main idea, and how do we know what the theme is if the author never says it explicitly? Like anything else, practice makes perfect when discussing literary themes. Check out these theme anchor charts to help your next language arts lesson run smoothly.

1. Themes in literature

Themes in literature anchor chart

Using examples of stories students already know and love is a helpful tool.

Source: Crafting Connections

2. Theme vs. main idea

Theme vs. main idea anchor chart

Students often confuse theme with main idea. Make the distinction between the two with an anchor chart such as this.

Source: Michelle K.



3. Examples of theme vs. main idea

Theme vs. main idea anchor chart with examples

Use examples students will relate to, so they can differentiate the theme from the main idea.

Source: Mrs. Smith in 5th

4. The central message

Central message and questions to ask when determining theme anchor chart

Have your students think about these questions.

Source: The Literacy Loft

5. Common themes

Common themes anchor chart for teachers

Give your students examples of common themes to help them think of others stories that may share these same themes.

Source: Teaching with a Mountain View

6. Text messaging

teaching theme messaging with text messages

A text message approach to theme will resonate with students and create an engaging lesson.

Source: Elementary Nest

7. Use examples

Determining theme anchor chart with theme examples

Give examples of what is or is not a theme with a book the class has recently read.

Source: Young Teacher Love

8. Sum it up

Summarizing concepts of theme and how to determine it on an anchor chart

This chart nicely sums up all aspects of theme for students to refer to.

Source: Mrs. Peterson

9. Clouds and raindrops

Theme anchor chart with cloud and raindrops

This weather-themed chart is too cute and fun to pass up.

Source: Bussing with Mrs. B

10. Story theme

Story theme anchor chart

Use evidence from stories your class knows and loves to pick out the theme.

Source: The Thinker Builder

11. Thinking about theme

Thinking about theme anchor chart

Define and discuss theme with the class. What is theme? How do I identify it?

Source: 3rd Grade Thoughts

12. Interactive sticky notes

Plot and theme anchor chart with sticky notes

Place sticky notes on this chart to point out plot details to arrive at the theme.

Source: @mrshasansroom

13. Stated or implied

Theme anchor chart- stated or implied

Is the theme stated or implied? Show the difference with this fun layout.

Source: @fishmaninfourth

14. Keep it simple

Simple theme anchor chart

This one gets the message across and won’t overwhelm students.

Source: Upper Elementary Snapshots

15. What is theme?

What is theme? Anchor chart with sticky notes

Determine examples of each theme with sticky notes.

Source: Appletastic Learning

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Plus, check out tips for teaching theme.

15 Anchor Charts for Teaching Theme