Identifying the Main Idea of a text and supporting details seems to be a struggle for many readers. Students at all different levels of reading often struggle to determine what the author is trying to convey as the most important information.

To help our students determine the main idea we need to follow a few steps ourselves. The first step is ensuring we choose an appropriate text. The text we choose should require our students to comprehend and think in depth. The goal of the text is to build a deep understanding. The types of text we choose can range from a text book, magazine article, passage, online articles, any form of informational text that lends itself to the skill we are focusing on.

Step two is introducing the text to our students. Before reading a text discuss your purpose for reading. When students know the purpose they are better focused and prepared to read for understanding.

Step three is modeling how to identify the key ideas and details from the text. Modeling how to omit or cross off any unimportant information is also beneficial for students to understand why the information is not critical to the main idea. While reading students should write down any key ideas or details in the margin or on a graphic organizer.

As educators we know prompting and discussions about what was read is a crucial part of the reading process. Too often we feel unsure of what prompts to ask or are overwhelmed by the large amount of question prompts available to us. Below are a few prompts that focus on identifying the main idea and it's supporting details from a text.

1. What are some of the most important ideas?
2. What does the author want you to know about ______?
3. Ask students questions about specific sentences in the text; how does the information relate to the main idea?
4. What is the text mostly about?
5. What are some reoccurring words or phrases within the text?
6. What could be another title for the text?
7. What is the main idea?
8. What details does the author use to support the main idea?

Even with the best teaching and perfect text some students still need support with pulling out the key information from a text. I'm working with some struggling readers who are able to pull the information from a text with my support, but struggle to do this independently. I've created some passages that will allow my students to think critically and provided them with a graphic organizer to help them write down the key information. Some of the students need more support than others so I chose to differentiated the graphic organizer rather than the text. With state testing coming up soon I wanted to ensure my students have been exposed to grade level text as much as possible. I have shared freebie from this Main Idea Maps pack for you below.

Students needed lots of support use a highlighter to trace the lines and boxes that show the supporting details.

To purchase all five lesson plans and passages please visit my TpT store. 

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