January 24, 2017
by Lily Jones

Lesson plan

How to Find the Main Idea

(3 ratings )
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Do you need extra help for EL students? Try the Main Topic pre-lesson.
EL Adjustments
Do you need extra help for EL students? Try the Main Topic pre-lesson.

Students will identify the main idea in nonfiction texts.

The adjustment to the whole group lesson is a modification to differentiate for children who are English learners.
EL adjustments
(5 minutes)
  • Hold up a few nonfiction books. Ask students what the topic of each book is.
  • Explain that books not only have a topic, but the chapters and even paragraphs have topics. Thinking about the main topics of texts helps us understand what the texts are about.
(5 minutes)
  • Read aloud a nonfiction text to the class. After reading each paragraph (or page, depending on the length of the text), think aloud about the main topic of the passage. Write the main topic on a sticky note and attach it to the book.
(10 minutes)

After thinking aloud about the main ideas of several paragraphs, ask students to share what they think the main ideas are. Call on students to share their own.

(20 minutes)
  • Tell students that they are now going to read short paragraphs on their own and decide what the main topics of the paragraphs are.
  • Place the four Finding the Main Idea worksheets at the front of the classroom.
  • Tell students they can start working on any worksheet, but that they should complete all four.

Enrichment: Have students write their own nonfiction texts and articulate the main idea of each paragraph.

Support: Have students complete 1–2 worksheets with a partner.

(5 minutes)
  • Assess students’ understanding by reviewing their answers to the Finding the Main Idea worksheets.
(5 minutes)
  • Have students share out their answers to Finding the Main Idea worksheets and compare their thoughts about main ideas.

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