Nonfiction Paragraph Structure | Main Idea & Supporting Details Bundle

Brenda Kovich
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Brenda Kovich
Includes Google Apps™
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    Analyzing Nonfiction Paragraphs Bonus

    Also included in

    1. Bolster your students’ nonfiction reading skills. This bundle includes complete units of instruction for paragraph structure, main idea and summarizing, text structure, and word meaning. Each begins with a targeted slideshow and continues with guided and independent practice, which steadily scaffold
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    Learning about paragraph structure is the first step to effectively reading or writing nonfiction text. When kids analyze a text to locate the topic sentence, they will find the main idea. As they consider which sentences directly reinforce the topic sentence and which simply elaborate, they’ll uncover supporting details.

    This resource provides the foundation for understanding informational text structure. A hamburger analogy helps beginners grasp the paragraph structure common to nonfiction writing.

    To support classroom and distance learning, student sheets are available as printable PDFs or shareable TpT Digital Activities. Open the preview to take a look!

    What’s Included

    • Paragraph structure lesson plans
    • Slideshow (available in PowerPoint and Google Slides)
    • 3 texts to analyze (each featuring a fairy tale author)
    • Five-paragraph text* (with and without hamburger organizer)
    • Hamburger graphic organizer
    • Answers
    • Bonus file with quick planner, lesson plans, links, and teaching tips

    *Paragraphs from the slideshow and practice exercises are combined to form a five-paragraph essay. This scaffolds instruction from one-paragraph to multi-paragraph text structure, preparing students to find main idea and supporting details in longer pieces.

    Suggested Timeline

    Session 1 - Introduce informational text structure with the PowerPoint presentation. It will use a hamburger analogy to explain paragraph format.

    Session 2 - Review the hamburger analogy. Ask students to practice finding the topic sentence, three supporting detail sentences, and the conclusion in “Charles Perrault.”

    Session 3 - Discuss the previous day’s assignment, “Charles Perrault.” Ask students to practice finding the topic sentence, three supporting detail sentences, and the conclusion in “Jacob and Wilhelm Grimm.”

    Session 4 - Discuss the previous day’s assignment, “Jacob and Wilhelm Grimm.” Ask students to practice finding the topic sentence, three supporting detail sentences, and the conclusion in “Hans Christian Andersen.” You may use this as an assessment piece, if you wish.

    Session 5 - Acknowledge that most informational texts are more than one paragraph. Explain how the structure generally stays the same:

    • The first paragraph (top bun) is the introductory paragraph, or introduction. It includes the main idea, which is stated in a thesis statement. It also includes introductory material, which may be supporting details or information needed to better understand the text.
    • The middle paragraphs hold the evidence. Each paragraph (or set of paragraphs) presents a supporting detail. This is the “meat” of the essay.
    • The final paragraph (bottom bun) repeats the thesis statement, or main idea, in different words and wraps up the essay by restating the supporting details or providing concluding remarks.

    Read the five-paragraph essay, “Four Famous Fairy Tale Authors.” Discuss the purpose of each paragraph and locate the thesis statement. Consider the main idea and discuss how it can be found in the first and last paragraphs.

    Enjoy Teaching!

    Brenda Kovich

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    I'm committed to continual improvement. This resource was updated and improved on December 2, 2020.

    Total Pages
    36 pages
    Answer Key
    Teaching Duration
    1 Week
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    to see state-specific standards (only available in the US).
    Describe the overall structure (e.g., chronology, comparison, cause/effect, problem/solution) of events, ideas, concepts, or information in a text or part of a text.
    Determine the main idea of a text and explain how it is supported by key details; summarize the text.
    Use text features and search tools (e.g., key words, sidebars, hyperlinks) to locate information relevant to a given topic efficiently.
    Determine the main idea of a text; recount the key details and explain how they support the main idea.


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