Main Idea

Brittany Zae

This lesson is designed to help students' comprehension and Analysis of Grade-Level Appropriate Text.

Grade Level: 2 - 4th

Subject: English/Language Arts

Length of Time: About 45 Minutes

Common Core Alignment

CCSS: ELA-LITERACY.RI.3.2 - Determine the main idea of a text; recount the key details and explain how they support the main idea.

Objectives & Outcomes

Students will be able to distinguish the main idea and supporting details in expository text.

Materials Needed

  • main idea and supporting detail worksheet (can be made or found online)
  • computer and projector with internet access


Opening to Lesson

The teacher will activate prior knowledge and connect the content to the students by asking, “what are things you do at recess?” As students brainstorm ideas aloud, the teacher will write their answers into a large bubble map outlined on the board.

The teacher will connect this content to the new information they will learn today by explaining, “Students, you’ve just listed many details that support our topic “Things we do at recess.” A topic is used to create a sentence that tells what a paragraph is about. We call this sentence the main idea. Today, we will identify main ideas and supporting details.”

Body of Lesson

Direct Teaching

The teacher will promote the concept development by explicitly stating “the main idea is the one idea that the passage is mostly about. A supporting detail explains, or tells more about, the main idea.”

Guided Practice 1

The teacher will then show a short 1 minute video on a computer, tablet or television that uses singing and rhyming to explain examples of the main idea and supporting details in a creative way. The teacher will ask the students questions about the story in the video. “What was the main idea, what was a detail that supported the main idea?” The teacher will then provide the students with a printed copy of the lyrics. The teacher will ask the class to read the short rhyming lyrics together as a class. The teacher will play the video one more time, asking the students to sing along.

Independent Practice

The teacher will give each student one worksheet of 6 different variations. The teacher will promote skill development by asking the students to silently read the passage, to circle the main idea and underline the supporting details of the passage.


The teacher will ask select students to state their answers following the prompt: “The main idea is …” and “One supporting detail is…”

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Assessment & Evaluation

Through guided questions, close monitoring and informal observation; the teacher will be able to assess student’s ability and understanding of the subject being introduced. Through individually assessing during independent practice and reviewing during guided practice the teacher will be able to evaluate students.

Modification & Differentiation

Students can work in groups or with a partner. Teacher can provided one-on-one instruction as needed.

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