Topical / Thematic Checkout & Book Memory

Hello! I hope you’re having a wonderful day. I’m excited to share a resource with you’ve I’ve made to help solve the situation of…


…Students are familiar with the library and have been checking out materials for a few months. They even check out their items with the same group of friend. While this is not a problem, there are times when it’s good to be pushed outside of comfort zones. The library is a great place for this. Therefore…

Topical / Thematic Checkout

(let me know if you come up with a better title for this)


  • The amount of cards necessary will depend on the amount of students per class. I get my stacks ready the day before (or have a student do it) and binder clip them onto that classroom’s clipboard so it’s all ready to go. To account for classes larger than 24 I simply print 2 sets with the same book as the opposite side.
  • When it’s time for students to checkout you hand a card to each student and use something similar to the directions I’ve included below. The cards are collected as students checkout their items. No card = no checkout (so that materials do not need reprinting).
 These are the directions I use (or something similar to it):
  1. Please remain quiet and stationary as I pass out cards.
  2. When I say go you will need to find the other person with an image that is identical to yours. You will find this person by walking and showing your card. For this activity our voices will remain at a conversation level.
  3. When you two have found each other you need to decide what the image is and then go find at least two items (one per person) to checkout. Make sure these items are of interest and be prepared to tell me why you chose the items you did.
  4. Raise your hand if you’re able to retell the directions for your classmates who may not have been listening. (Call on a student and correct as necessary.)
  5. Pass out cards and instruct, “Remember, these cards will be reused so please take care of them. You will need to turn them in when you checkout.”
  6. Go!
  • The images are intended to be broad enough to lend themselves to a variety of materials. For example: Students who have the image of the person riding the bike could check out a book about safety, a book in which the character rides a bike, a book about how to ride a bike, and so forth.
  • This can also be used to practice researching within databases. Students can come up with every word associated with their image and perform different searches in order to see what is most effective.
  • The bonus extra with these cards is that they are easily able to be used for memory and conversational/writing prompts.
  • You’re the educator / librarian / teacher! Go for it.
And finally, all of these instructions can be found by downloading the resource so no need to print this blog post! As always, it’s also available on TeachersPayTeachers in case you’re willing and able to support the creation of these materials (plus you can even donate on this site if you’re interested).
Link to download:

Topical / Thematic Checkout and Book Memory 

Have fun and please do not hesitate to contact me with questions, comments, or other feedback. Thanks!


Your librarian,

Katelyn Martens-Rodriguez