Lesson Plan

How to Find the Main Idea

Get ready to develop important comprehension skills! Students will read different informational passages and learn to identify the main idea. They will then use their knowledge of main ideas to write their own informational passages.
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Need extra help for EL students? Try the Main Topic pre-lesson.
View aligned standards
Need extra help for EL students? Try the Main Topic pre-lesson.

Learning Objectives

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)
Finding the Main Idea: PlantsFinding the Main Idea: FriendsFinding the Main Idea: DogsFinding the Main Idea: Apples
  • 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.


  • Activate background knowledge by reminding students what a main topic is.
  • Model how to determine the main topic of a text.

Intermediate: Model how chapters and paragraphs can have main topics.