Lesson: Explicit and Implicit Main Ideas

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Lesson Objective

SWBAT... Identify the main idea in a text, stated both explicitly and implicitly.

Lesson Plan

CONNECTION TO BHAG: Students will increase their reading ability by 1 level, and the content of today's lesson will help students to develop competence in the general skills and strategies for reading a variety of informational texts. Specifically, finding the main idea will help students to understand the topics they read by extracting the most important points.



  • The main idea of a text is the most important idea.
  • Explicit main ideas are directly stated.
  • Implicit main ideas are not directly stated.


ASSESSMENT: Students will have completed reading "The Tallest of Them All" and identified the main idea, with an explanation and identification of clues in the passage that led them to their conclusion.


OPENING (5 minutes)

  • "Take out your notebooks, turn to the ELA section, put the date in the top right corner, title the page 'Finding the Main Idea', and the copy objective from board."
  • "Today, we're going to learn and practice how to find the main idea in any book or passage we read.  First, I'll tell you about the different types and how use clues to locate them. Then, we're going to practice using those clues, together. And finally, you're going to show me that you can do it on your own. Mastering this skill will help you to better understand everything you read from now on because you'll be able to pinpoint the most important parts. This will be particularly useful when you start working at TSN today, as you're going to meet a lot of people who provide a lot of information, and you'll need to know which things are important enough to take note of."


INTRODUCTION (10 minutes)

  • "Skip 2 lines after your written objective and match your notes in your notebooks to my notes on the board as I explain the two types of main ideas."
  • Types:
  • Explicit Main Idea - stated directly in a sentence at the beginning, middle, or end of a passage. (Give 2 Examples)
  • Implicit Main Idea - not stated directly in a passage; must be inferred from clues in the text. (Give 2 examples)


GUIDED PRACTICE (15 minutes)

  • Distribute 2 passages (pgs 7 and 8 in teacher HB). "Now we're going to practice doing this together."
  • "Listen closely for the main idea as we read through each of these passages together. When we finish it, go back and identify the main idea. Then write it underneath the passage. If it is explicitly stated, underline the sentence in the passage. If it is implicitly stated, circle the clues in the passage the helped you to develop the main idea in your own words."
  • Use 'Control the Game' to read first passage. Give students 30 seconds to think, 30 seconds to "turn and talk" to partner about their thoughts, 30 seconds to record main idea. Repeat for second passage, except no turn and talk. Remind about directions (underline explicit, circle clues).
  • Circulate to answer questions, monitor progress, and correct errors.



  • Distribute "The Tallest of Them All" (pg 9 in THB) and instruct students that now they will demonstrate that they can do this on their own. 
  • "Write your names and the date in the top right corner of these sheets. Then, read the passage and similarly to the last exercise, identify the main idea of the passage."
  • Circulate to answer questions and correct errors.
  • Pass in papers when done.


CLOSING (2 minutes)

Congratulations on mastering this very important college readiness skill! When we start Episode 1 together today, you'll be grateful for this ability to find the main idea for your notes.

Lesson Resources

75-MainIdeaLessonPlan.pdf   Lesson Plan


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