Main Idea Activity

Rated 4.82 out of 5, based on 276 reviews
276 Ratings
Teaching With a Mountain View
Grade Levels
3rd - 5th
Resource Type
Formats Included
  • Zip
  • Google Apps™
38 pages
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Teaching With a Mountain View
Includes Google Apps™
The Teacher-Author indicated this resource includes assets from Google Workspace (e.g. docs, slides, etc.).

What educators are saying

My students worked together with their groups to use this main idea activity and to help solidify their understanding of finding multiple main ideas.
I loved using this in class! The kids were really engaged with coming up with titles for things. It was nice to work on main idea in a different way.


This highly engaging main idea activity has been a favorite in my classroom for many years. Now, I'm bringing it to you in a low-prep, ready to use format!

In this main idea activity, students are given an untitled article. They must read the article and determine the main idea to write an appropriate and interesting title for each passage. Once they've written their own title, they open the paper and read the "real" title to see how close they were! Four different recording sheet options require students to consider why the author titled it the way they did, what the actual main idea is, details that support the main idea and more.

There are four passages in each set that focus on the same topic. Once students have determined a title for each individual passage, they write one large heading for all four cards on the same main topic. There are EIGHT sets total, for a total of 32 passages.

Included in this main idea activity:

  • 32 nonfiction passages on the following 8 main topics:
    • Cheetahs
    • Costa Rica
    • New York City
    • Ice Cream
    • Olympics
    • Solar System
    • Hot Air Balloons
    • Paper

  • Four Recording Sheet Options
  • Two Word Collector Pages
  • GOOGLE SLIDES Interactive option INCLUDED

Assembly is easy! Simply print double-sided, cut each page down the middle, and fold. Although the possibilities for using this resource are endless, I recommend creating eight different centers (one for each topic) and having students work through each topic in pairs or as a group.

You can also use these as individual task cards to determine the main idea.

Please view the preview for more information and pictures.

You can use these for grades 3-5, though I recommend completing them together for 3rd grade!

Total Pages
38 pages
Answer Key
Not Included
Teaching Duration
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to see state-specific standards (only available in the US).
Determine the main idea of a text; recount the key details and explain how they support the main idea.
Determine the main idea of a text and explain how it is supported by key details; summarize the text.
Determine two or more main ideas of a text and explain how they are supported by key details; summarize the text.


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