Use this worksheet to determine the main idea of an informational/expository text. I use this with my “Time for Kids” magazine weekly. The first day I introduce how to write a “Gist Summary” (a 20-word summary) and then on the following day I explain and model how to fill out the analysis form using the main article of the magazine. This worksheet is a good way to address text structure and look closely at an article.
You can find information all over the Internet on how to create a “Gist”. You may want to place a template for writing a gist on the back of the Magazine/Newspaper Analysis form. It will help remind the students to use the "5 Ws and 1 H" (who, what, when, where, why, and how) when writing their summary. When I teach writing a gist, I have the students create a “bumper sticker” summarizing a text they read. A sentence strip works well for this activity. We discuss how bumper stickers have to make a statement with very few words and that the 20 words they use must be chosen wisely in order to state the main idea of the story.
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