Lesson Plan

Main Idea and Details in Nonfiction Text

Use this lesson to help your students learn how to find the main idea and details in a nonfiction text using a graphic organizer for support.
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Need extra help for EL students? Try the Main Idea or Topic? You Decide! pre-lesson.
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Need extra help for EL students? Try the Main Idea or Topic? You Decide! pre-lesson.

Learning Objectives

Students will be able to identify the main idea and details of a grade level text.

The adjustment to the whole group lesson is a modification to differentiate for children who are English learners.
EL adjustments

Introduction

(5 minutes)
Learning About the Ocean
  • Show students the cover of a nonfiction book with a simple topic (e.g. a book about bees, spiders, reptiles, or whales). Make sure the cover of the book has a picture of the topic that will be covered in the book.
  • Ask students to look at the cover of the book and then instruct them to close their eyes. Say, "I just showed you the cover of a nonfiction book. Nonfiction books are about real topics! Now, I'm going to say three words. I want you to raise your hand when I say the word that you think matches the topic of the book." Then, for example, if you chose a book about spiders, your three words could be: bees, spiders, cats.
  • Record tally marks on the whiteboard that represent student responses. Clarify the correct answer and explain that the topic of a nonfiction book is a word or phrase. Explain that the topic of a nonfiction book can sometimes be found by searching for repeated words throughout the text or looking at the title of the book. Reinforce to students that they can also use pictures as clues to help them figure out the topic of a book.
  • Explain that today students will be learning how to identify the topic, main idea, and key details of a nonfiction text or book.

Beginning:

  • Provide students with definitions in English and student's home language (L1), if literate in their home language.
  • Allow students to share their answer in their L1.

Intermediate:

  • Allow students to choose another nonfiction book from the library and make a prediction about the main topic based on the title and illustration on the cover of the book.