Identifying the Main Idea in Fiction

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Identifying the Main Idea in Nonfiction
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Find the Main Idea: Shark
Find the Main Idea: Shark
Worksheet
Find the Main Idea: Shark
Kids will learn about sharks as they read this short and informative worksheet.
2nd grade
Reading & Writing
Worksheet
Informational Reading Comprehension: Baobab, Tree of Life
Informational Reading Comprehension: Baobab, Tree of Life
Worksheet
Informational Reading Comprehension: Baobab, Tree of Life
Discover why an odd-looking tree is known as Africa’s "tree of life" with this reading comprehension worksheet.
6th grade
Reading & Writing
Worksheet
Main Idea Multiple Choice
Main Idea Multiple Choice
Worksheet
Main Idea Multiple Choice
Readers practice identifying the main idea in works of nonfiction in this two-page reading comprehension worksheet.
3rd grade
Reading & Writing
Worksheet
Main Idea: Working Dogs
Main Idea: Working Dogs
Worksheet
Main Idea: Working Dogs
Children will be inspired by the many ways dogs help their human companions in this nonfiction reading comprehension worksheet.
3rd grade
Reading & Writing
Worksheet
Informational Reading Comprehension: History of the Candle
Informational Reading Comprehension: History of the Candle
Worksheet
Informational Reading Comprehension: History of the Candle
Learn all about the history of candles with this two-page nonfiction reading worksheet!
6th grade
Reading & Writing
Worksheet
Learning About the Ocean
Learning About the Ocean
Worksheet
Learning About the Ocean
Learners will practice identifying the main idea and supporting in works of nonfiction texts as they learn about the ocean.
2nd grade
Reading & Writing
Worksheet
Informational Reading Comprehension: Discovering Kites
Informational Reading Comprehension: Discovering Kites
Worksheet
Informational Reading Comprehension: Discovering Kites
In this seventh-grade ELA worksheet, students read a fascinating informational text about the history of kites and answer comprehension questions covering a variety of reading skills. 
6th grade
Reading & Writing
Worksheet
Find the Main Idea: Butterflies
Find the Main Idea: Butterflies
Worksheet
Find the Main Idea: Butterflies
Children learn about the ways that butterflies like the viceroy and buckeye avoid predators in this engaging reading comprehension worksheet.
3rd grade
Reading & Writing
Worksheet
Main Idea & Details: Icebergs
Main Idea & Details: Icebergs
Worksheet
Main Idea & Details: Icebergs
Students will identify the main idea and supporting details in a short nonfiction text.
5th grade
Reading & Writing
Worksheet
Find the Main Idea: Elephant
Find the Main Idea: Elephant
Worksheet
Find the Main Idea: Elephant
Kids put their reading comprehension skills to work as they write out the main idea and come up with their own concluding sentence for this paragraph.
4th grade
Reading & Writing
Worksheet
Video Games: Not Just for Fun
Video Games: Not Just for Fun
Worksheet
Video Games: Not Just for Fun
Develop reading comprehension with this video game passage. Ask your students to read the excerpt, then answer questions about the main ideas and details.
5th grade
Reading & Writing
Worksheet
Compare and Contrast: Platypus
Compare and Contrast: Platypus
Worksheet
Compare and Contrast: Platypus
In this worksheet, students will read two different passages about the platypus. Kids will compare and contrast the passages, and identify the main ideas.
2nd grade
Science
Worksheet
Ruth Bader Ginsburg Biography
Ruth Bader Ginsburg Biography
Worksheet
Ruth Bader Ginsburg Biography
In this biography worksheet, children are introduced to Ruth Bader Ginsburg, who in 1993 became the second female Justice of the Supreme Court in the United States.
5th grade
Social studies
Worksheet
Finding Word Meaning: Context Clues & Text Features #2
Finding Word Meaning: Context Clues & Text Features #2
Worksheet
Finding Word Meaning: Context Clues & Text Features #2
Learners practice using context clues to identify the meaning of new words in this language and vocabulary worksheet.
4th grade
Reading & Writing
Worksheet
First Grade Fall Review Packet - Week 1
First Grade Fall Review Packet - Week 1
Workbook
First Grade Fall Review Packet - Week 1
Week 1 of our Fall Review Packet offers 5 days of activities in reading, writing, and math for children entering first grade.
1st grade
Reading & Writing
Workbook
Taking Notes With Informational Texts: Central Idea and Key Details
Taking Notes With Informational Texts: Central Idea and Key Details
Worksheet
Taking Notes With Informational Texts: Central Idea and Key Details
Use this graphic organizer to give students an opportunity to practice identifying the central idea of a text using key details.
6th grade
Reading & Writing
Worksheet
Second Grade Independent Study Packet - Week 5
Second Grade Independent Study Packet - Week 5
Workbook
Second Grade Independent Study Packet - Week 5
Get Week 5 of our independent study packet resources for second graders.
2nd grade
Fine arts
Workbook
Make a Timeline of an Influential Person
Make a Timeline of an Influential Person
Activity
Make a Timeline of an Influential Person
Children research and make a timeline of an inspiring woman in this biography activity.
2nd grade
Social studies
Activity
Find the Main Idea: The Moon
Find the Main Idea: The Moon
Worksheet
Find the Main Idea: The Moon
Children learn about the Moon, then practice finding and writing the main idea, in this literacy worksheet.
4th grade
Reading & Writing
Worksheet
Third Grade Fall Review Packet - Week 1
Third Grade Fall Review Packet - Week 1
Workbook
Third Grade Fall Review Packet - Week 1
Week 1 of our Third Grade Fall Review Packet features 5 days of learning activities designed to prepare students for their third grade year. 
3rd grade
Reading & Writing
Workbook
Third Grade Fall Review Packet - Week 3
Third Grade Fall Review Packet - Week 3
Workbook
Third Grade Fall Review Packet - Week 3
Week 3 of our Third Grade Fall Review Packet features five more days of learning activities designed to prepare students for their third grade year.
3rd grade
Reading & Writing
Workbook
Fourth Grade Fall Review Packet - Week 1
Fourth Grade Fall Review Packet - Week 1
Workbook
Fourth Grade Fall Review Packet - Week 1
Help children prepare for their fourth grade debut with Week 1 of our Fourth Grade Fall Review Packet.
4th grade
Reading & Writing
Workbook
Fifth Grade Fall Review Packet - Week 1
Fifth Grade Fall Review Packet - Week 1
Workbook
Fifth Grade Fall Review Packet - Week 1
Prepare learners for their fifth grade year with the help of this Fifth Grade Fall Review Packet - Week 1.
5th grade
Reading & Writing
Workbook
Ideas of The Harlem Renaissance
Ideas of The Harlem Renaissance
Worksheet
Ideas of The Harlem Renaissance
In the worksheet Ideas of the Harlem Renaissance, children learn what this cultural movement was about, as well as some famous artists who emerged at the time.
3rd grade
Social studies
Worksheet
Writing Workout: Supporting the Main Idea
Writing Workout: Supporting the Main Idea
Worksheet
Writing Workout: Supporting the Main Idea
Help your third grader stretch their writing muscles by selecting sentences that support a main idea, then penning a few of their own.
3rd grade
Reading & Writing
Worksheet

Identifying the Main Idea in Fiction

Does your child have trouble understanding the main points of non-fiction? Education.com offers worksheets and lesson plans on everything from sea creatures to science. With gentle and structured guidance on the process of reading a text and asking follow-up questions, your child will soon figure out the main topic all by herself. For more advanced readers, check out our characters, setting, and events in fiction texts resources.

Get the Gist: Resources on Identifying the Main Topic in Nonfiction

Most books and articles have multiple themes but one central topic. The Learning Library’s resources on identifying the main topic in nonfiction help students cut through the weeds and discover what’s most important. There are printable worksheets, comprehensive workbooks, alluring hands-on activities, and teacher-created lesson plans that are focused specifically on pinpointing the big picture.

Many of the worksheets are composed with interesting excerpts—like the popular Video Games: Not Just for Fun challenge—that ask follow-up questions to help students determine the text’s main point. Other worksheets hone reading comprehension while introducing students to overlooked characters in history, such as Madam C.J. Walker who was born to slaves and yet became the first woman to earn a million dollars in the U.S.

A mix of lesson plans that serve a variety of age levels is available in the resource center. Highly-rated examples include Activist Heroes, where students determine the main topic by reading excerpts about leaders in history such as Frederick Douglass. Another popular worksheet, Super Survival Skills, assigns students to reiterate excerpts on outdoor survival.

These lessons along with the interactive hands-on activities ensure students of all grade levels get the gist.