Finding the Main Idea | A Step By Step Guide to Finding the Main Idea

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This Finding the Main Idea Reading Resource has been designed to teach the skills of finding the main idea. This resource aims to assist teachers to teach the reading strategy of finding the main idea in a step-by-step way using the gradual release of responsibility model (I do, we do, you do).
Finding the main idea in a piece of writing is an essential reading comprehension strategy for students to develop. The ability to be able to identify the main ‘gist’ of a text provides a springboard for other comprehension strategies like summarizing, and understanding an author’s purpose.
Both US and British spelling is included in this resource.
This resource is provided in a print version as well as PowerPoint and Google Slides activity. An additional Google Slides activity pack is included.
This Finding the Main Idea Reading Resource includes:
  • Two exemplar activities to demonstrate how to find the main idea (I Do)
  • Two guided practice activities for teacher and students to complete the finding the main idea activities together (We Do)
  • Eight independent practice activities (on four pages) (You Do)
  • Twp blank templates
  • A comprehensive teacher guide
20 Finding the Main Idea Digital Task Cards featuring:
  • 3 teaching slides
  • 20 Non-Fiction Passages
  • 10 passages with options to choose the main idea and supporting ideas
  • 10 passages where students write the main idea and supporting ideas
This resource is set out using the gradual release of responsibility model (I do, we do, you do).
  • The Exemplar section (I do) of this resource is designed to be taught by the teacher, working through the exemplar pages and following the process as laid out.
  • The Guided Practice section (We do) provides both text and viewing opportunities for the teacher and students to work through the process together.
  • The Independent Practice sections (You do) provide activities for students to practice the skill of making inferences independently.
In this resource, four strategies are suggested as a way for students to discover the main idea in a text. Students are required to use critical thinking skills, as each step or strategy may not be relevant to every text situation.
Please note: As determining importance can be subjective, some students may decode slight variations on what the main idea of each exemplar text is. Use your teacher judgment to determine whether students have correctly identified the ‘gist’ of each exemplar given.
Please note: Access to Youtube will be necessary to access the video link.

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