Finding the Main Idea (Reading Comprehension Strategy Lesson)

Grade Levels
6th - 10th, Homeschool
Standards
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Pages
238 lesson slides, 11 pages of handouts, 46 pages of lesson plans
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Description

6 lessons to teach students HOW to find the BEST main idea in a text.

Slideshow lesson, video, handout, poster, and detailed lesson plans.

Distance Learning and 1:1 Google Classroom ready!

Finding the Main Idea is more than just figuring out what general point the author is trying to make. 

It’s about recognizing that we can come up with several main ideas, but the “best” main idea has strong support from the entire article. 

Use this lesson to give students a process to find clues in the organization of the text.

Active reading means looking at the information in each paragraph and deciding if it is “nice to know” side information or essential information that develops the author’s point?  

4 PRO TIPS to help your students EVALUATE ideas as they read

  • PRO TIP #1. Focus on the BIG PICTURE (the entire article). Summarize the entire article in a word or phrase. What general point is the author trying to make?

  • PRO TIP #2. Look for clues in key spots. (How is the text organized?)

  • PRO TIP #3. Think about each paragraph. What is this paragraph about? (Where is the main idea in the paragraph? Beginning? Middle? End?) What role does this paragraph play? 

  • PRO TIP #4. Find the “best” main idea. The main idea is NOT always directly stated. The best idea has strong support from the beginning, middle, and end of the entire article. 

The slideshow lesson is comprehensive, easy to use and includes everything you need for :

  • DISTANCE LEARNING or 1:1 LEARNING in Google Classroom

  • IN PERSON LEARNING in your real classroom

In this package, you get:

  • the slideshow lesson to walk your students through 4 pro tips to using the Finding the Main Idea reading strategy and an example of how to use this strategy..

  • a generic Finding the Main Idea handout package that can be used with any text. This helps students ask questions before, during, and after reading. 

  • a metacognition handout/reflection questions to help students reflect on the strategy

  • a rubric to assess ideas generated during reading, as well as ideas generated during the metacognition reflection.

BONUS VIDEO LESSON: https://youtu.be/2FbeOqYmEPg

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IMPORTANT NOTE: This product DOES NOT include a text for students to read! 

  • The package only includes the Finding the Main Idea strategy slideshow lesson and handouts.

  • It is intended for teachers to use with a novel or text that they are studying in class. 

Reading comprehension strategies like Finding the Main Idea help students engage with the text and gain a deeper understanding than just passively reading. 

This product is also included in our Reading for Meaning Comprehension Strategies bundle.

FINDING THE MAIN IDEA reading strategy LESSON PLAN

0:00 Lesson Overview

0:24 Finding the Main Idea strategy introduction

1:21 What is the best main idea? 


2:11 FOUR PRO TIPS


2:18 ⭐ PRO TIP #1: Focus on the big picture (the entire article)

  • 2:32 Example #1: Photograph
  • 2:47 What is this image about?
  • 3:02 What is the author trying to say?
  • 3:57 PRO TIP #1 - summary


4:15 ⭐ PRO TIP #2: Look for clues in key spots

  • 4:35 Example #2: Informational Text (5 paragraphs)
  • 4:43 About the Lorem Ipsum placeholder text used in these examples
  • 5:23 Basic format for most informational texts
  • 5:53 Formula for a 5 paragraph essay
  • 6:52 Most texts aren't 5 paragraphs long

  • 7:13 Example #3: Text (20 paragraphs)
  • 8:22 Formula for a 20 paragraph essay
  • 8:34 ☑️Q: What is the formula for a 5 paragraph essay?

  • 9:26 Example #4: Text + Headings

  • 10:43 Example #5: Text, Headings + Images
  • 11:41 Text on a mobile device (website)
  • 11:51 ☑️Q: What is the formula for a 5 paragraph essay?

  • 12:33 Example #6: Text, Headings, Images + Paper-size
  • 12:50 Text on paper (textbook)
  • 13:16 Formula for a textbook
  • 13:28 ☑️Q: What do you think the formula for a textbook will look like?
  • 14:22 Look for patterns in how Informational Texts are organized

  • 15:01 PRO TIP #2 - summary

15:24 ⭐ PRO TIP #3: Think about each paragraph as you read

  • 15:57 Paragraph organization: Hamburger Model
  • 16:37 Example #7: Paragraph organization - main idea (start)

  • 17:14 Example #8: Paragraph organization - main idea (end)
  • 17:21 Paragraph organization: Pizza Model

  • 18:26 Example #9: Paragraph organization - main idea (middle)
  • 18:32 Paragraph organization: Hamburger with Bacon Model

  • 19:31 Paragraph organization - summary

  • 20:05 PRO TIP #3 - think aloud example
  • 20:40 Think aloud: Paragraph 1
  • 20:57 Think aloud: Paragraph 2
  • 21:21 Think aloud: Paragraph 3
  • 21:47 Think aloud: Paragraph 4
  • 22:18 Think aloud: Paragraph 5
  • 22:38 Think aloud: Paragraph 6

  • 23:00 PRO TIP #3 - summary



23:35 ⭐ PRO TIP #4: Find the “best” main idea

  • 23:56 The whole is greater than the parts
  • 24:42 PRO TIP #4 - summary



25:00 ⭐ Practice Time!

  • 25:05 ☑️Q: What do we do first? (PRO TIP #1)
  • 25:19 Use PRO TIP #1

  • 25:41 ☑️Q: What do we do as we read? (PRO TIP #2?)
  • 25:52 Use PRO TIP #2

  • 26:07 Look at the title
  • 26:17 ☑️Q: What do you think the TOPIC or MAIN IDEA of the article might be based on the title?

  • 26:41 Look at the subheading
  • 26:51 ☑️Q: What do you think should not have taken so long?

  • 27:19 Look at the questions at the end
  • 28:10 Chapter Question 1: Why does Annamie Paul…
  • 28:34 Chapter Question 2: Do people from different …
  • 29:09 Chapter Question 3: Do different points of view … 
  • 29:33 Chapter Question 4: What does diverse leadership … 
  • 29:38 ☑️Q: What do you think diverse leadership means? How can you connect this information with other clues?
  • 29:51 Chapter Question 5: We can't let the people down … 
  • 30:02 ☑️Q: Based on this question, what do you think the article will be about (in one word)? What do you think the author’s point of view about this topic will be?
  • 30:16 Chapter Question 6: The new leader says…
  • 30:32 ☑️Q: Based on this question, what do you think the article will be about (in one word)? What do you think the author’s point of view about this topic will be?

  • 31:00 Pay attention to the beginning, middle, end of the article 

  • 31:42 ☑️Q: What do we do next? What was PRO TIP #3?
  • 31:53 Use PRO TIP #3

  • 32:18 Look at the first paragraph
  • 33:42 ☑️Q: What role does this paragraph play in the article?
  • 34:29 What do you think the TOPIC or MAIN IDEA of the article might be based on this paragraph?

  • 34:42 ☑️Q: What do we do next? (We’re still on PRO TIP #3)
  • 34:49 Use PRO TIP #3

  • 35:01 Look at the second paragraph
  • 35:18 ☑️Q: Where can the MAIN IDEA of a paragraph be found?
  • 35:31 ☑️Q: What is the MAIN IDEA of this paragraph?

  • 35:43 ☑️Q: What do we do next? (Yep, still on PRO TIP #3)
  • 36:01 ☑️Q: What role does this paragraph play in the article?
  • 36:11 ☑️Q: What do you think the MAIN IDEA of the article might be based on this paragraph?

  • 36:21 ☑️Q: What do we do when we finish reading the entire article (before the questions)? What was PRO TIP #4?
  • 36:31 Use PRO TIP #4
  • 36:35 ☑️Q: How do we find the “best” MAIN IDEA for the article?



37:03 STRATEGY summary


38:01 Aspects of Reading

38:20 21st Century Learning

Total Pages
238 lesson slides, 11 pages of handouts, 46 pages of lesson plans
Answer Key
Rubric only
Teaching Duration
1 Week
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Standards

to see state-specific standards (only available in the US).
Interpret words and phrases as they are used in a text, including determining technical, connotative, and figurative meanings, and analyze how specific word choices shape meaning or tone.
Read closely to determine what the text says explicitly and to make logical inferences from it; cite specific textual evidence when writing or speaking to support conclusions drawn from the text.
Determine the meaning of words and phrases as they are used in a text, including figurative, connotative, and technical meanings; analyze the cumulative impact of specific word choices on meaning and tone (e.g., how the language of a court opinion differs from that of a newspaper).
Cite strong and thorough textual evidence to support analysis of what the text says explicitly as well as inferences drawn from the text.
Determine the meaning of words and phrases as they are used in a text, including figurative, connotative, and technical meanings; analyze the impact of specific word choices on meaning and tone, including analogies or allusions to other texts.

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