EL Support Lesson
Main Idea and Details in Nonfiction Texts
Students will be able to summarize key details of nonfiction texts.
Students will be able to identify the main idea and details in a nonfiction text with transition words using sentence frames and a graphic organizer.
- Tell students that today you'll be discussing main ideas and details.
- Explain that they will be using sentence frames and graphic organizers to help them write about the main idea and details of a nonfiction text.
- Ask students to think about what they know about main idea and details. Give students a moment of think time, then have them discuss their background knowledge with peers.
- Call on a few students to share their background knowledge. Write student responses on the board to revisit later in the lesson.
Building academic language
- Display the three picture vocabulary cards for the words visible, glacier, and current. Read each word and definition aloud and leave the cards displayed. Explain that these are some words that students will see later in their reading.
- Display a blank copy of the Frayer Model worksheet. Model how to fill out each section for one of the vocabulary words that is displayed, like "glacier."
- Tell students that they will be filling in a Frayer Model for one of two key terms, "main idea" or "detail." Display the two vocabulary cards with definitions and read them aloud.
- Divide the class in half by drawing an "invisible line" or counting off. Tell half of the students that they will become word experts for the term "main idea," while the other half of the class will become word experts for the term "details."
- Hand out a blank Frayer Model to each student. Tell students to work with a partner to complete the Frayer Model for their assigned term. (Note: Students should partner up with someone who was assigned the same term.)
- Once students have completed their Frayer Model, instruct students to find a partner who has a different word than they do (e.g., a student who is a word expert for "main idea" should find a partner who is a word expert for "details").
- Tell students to read aloud the information about their word to their partner. Remind them to take turns so that each word is shared.
- Tell students that they will be using sentence frames with transition words to write about main idea and detail.
- With student input, brainstorm a list of transition words (e.g., "therefore," "first," "in addition," "because," "also," "in fact").
- Display the sentence frames at the top of the worksheet I Can Write About Main Idea & Details! Read through each sentence frame and highlight transition words.
- Explain that students will be choosing sentence frames from the list to write about main idea and detail.
- Hand out the worksheet and review the graphic organizer.
- Instruct students to work with a partner to write about the main idea and details that are outlined in the graphic organizer.
- Call on several students to share their responses.
- Hand out the worksheet Main Idea & Details: Icebergs.
- Do a choral reading of the text with students.
- Ask students to identify the main idea of the text. Give students a moment of think time and then allow them to discuss it with a partner. Call on students to share their ideas and draft a sentence using their input. Instruct students to copy the main idea onto their own graphic organizer.
- Instruct students to reread the text with a partner and look for details that support the main idea.
- Model one detail for the class. Then, have them come up with two more supporting details with their partner, which they should record in their graphic organizer.
- Instruct students to complete the paragraph frame independently, using their graphic organizer as a guide.
- Call on a few students to read their completed paragraph frames aloud.
Additional EL adaptations
- Pre-teach additional vocabulary terms (e.g., "favored," "fresh water," "regions") that students will see within the text and assessment. Offer home language (L1) definitions if applicable.
- Allow beginning ELs to use bilingual resources to define new words throughout the lesson.
- Strategically pair beginning ELs with more advanced ELs or students who speak the same home language.
- Allow advanced ELs to utilize a glossary, thesaurus, and dictionary for help with unfamiliar words.
- Choose advanced ELs to share their ideas first in group and class discussions. Ask advanced ELs to add on, rephrase, or clarify what their peers say in class discussion.
- Have advanced ELs repeat instructions and key vocabulary, summarizing important information for the class.
Formative Assessment of Academic Language(5 minutes)
- Write four sentences on the board. Ensure that one is clearly a main idea, while two are supporting details. Include one that is unrelated to the main idea. (e.g., "Bananas are the most popular fruit in the United States. In 2013, Americans spent more than two billion dollars on bananas. Bananas are favored in the United States for their sweet flavor. Yellow is my favorite color.")
- Read the sentences aloud, one at a time (in no particular order).
- Tell students to choose one sentence that is the main idea and two that are supporting details. Warn students that one of the sentences is neither the main idea or a supporting detail.
- Display the sentence frames from the worksheet I Can Write About Main Idea & Details!
- Hand out a sheet of paper or a large index card and instruct students to write about the main idea and details they identified on the board, using the displayed sentence frames.
- Collect student responses as exit cards and review them to gauge understanding.
Review and closing(3 minutes)
- Direct students to look at the background knowledge they shared at the start of the lesson.
- Ask students to correct any misconceptions that are listed. Then, give students a moment of think time to consider new things they learned about main ideas and details.
- Draw a large circle on the board with the title "Main Idea and Details" written in the center.
- Engage students in a brain dump activity. Have them call out words, phrases, and ideas that are related to "main idea" and "details." Record student responses in the circle. Add to the brain dump or prompt students if needed.