Main Idea and Details

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The content focus of this lesson is for the students to work in a small guided group and use their knowledge to determine the main idea of an informational text, retell key details, and explain how they support the main idea, without being distracted by unrelated details (Understand, Apply, Analyze, DOK level 2).

CCRI.1.2: Analyze informational text development.

  1. Identify the main topic/idea.
  2. Retell the key details of a text.

Prerequisites: The students have a general understanding of text structure. The students have previously practiced asking and answering questions about key details in a text. They have also practiced recalling most important details in a text and record those on a graphic organizer. The students have mastered the skill of identifying the topic of a text and this lesson will challenge them to a completely new level: identifying the main idea.


  • Sufficient copies of the book Dog Talk
  • Sufficient copies of the test Garden Helpers by National Geographic 
  • Sufficient copies of the graphic organizer - Main Idea Web.
  • Anchor Chart
  • Projector for the presentation of the lesson 
  • Document Camera Reader for modeling
  • Pencils and erasers

Lesson Description:

  1. Preparation
  • Introduce the Main Idea anchor chart which provides the students with clues that help with identifying the main idea and key supporting details.
  • Introduce the new vocabulary (cloze activity)
  • Build Background/Activate prior knowledge (questions)
  1. Presentation:
  • Display Essential Questions for this lesson: What is the author’s point? What is this text mostly about? What details in the text are related to the main idea?
  • The teacher will utilize the Gradual Release Model where the students will slowly build on their understanding ultimately mastering the skills independently.
  • The “I do” part of the lesson: teacher will model identifying the main idea and retell the supporting details of the Dog Talk selection. Teacher will record those on the main idea web.
  1. Practice: 
  • The “We do” part of the lesson: Student will complete the Main Idea and Key Details Web with the teacher support for the Garden Helpers selection.
  • The students will read the selection Garden Helpers independently, while the teacher listens to the student read to her.
  1. Evaluation:
  • Self-assessment: Marzano’s four point learning scale.
  • Exit Ticket: Identify the main idea based on the given supporting details for the Storms topic by either writing a complete sentence Task 1 (using the COPS rubric) or circling the correct main idea Task 2.
  1. Extension: For the students who master the skill of identifying the main idea and supporting details, they can match three other main ideas with their supporting details.
Graphic Organizer
Entry and Exit Ticket