Lesson: Using Subheadings to Predict Main Ideas

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Lesson Objective

Students will be able to use the subheadings and headings to predict a main idea of paragraph or section of a passage.

Lesson Plan


State Standard:  3.IT-E.1. Identify the main purpose or main point (idea) and supporting details in informational text.

3.IT-E.6. Identify and use knowledge of common textual features to make predictions about content (e.g., title, heading, table of contents, glossary, and captions).


Standard Name: Main Idea & Text Features

Objective:Students will be able to use the subheadings and headings to predict a main idea of  paragraph or section of a passage. 


Do-Now:  Pass out a reading passage to students that is non-fiction and contains text features, minimally including at least subheadings with no questions or questions hidden.  Tell students they have only 2 minutes to preview this passage, do whatever they would, nothing, everything, reading, they could if they only had 2 minutes to look at a passage before answering questions. 


Opening: Sometimes we don’t have as much time as we want to look at a passage or when we are reading a passage we might not be engaged in the topic enough to really understand or be engaged in what you are reading.  Text features are elements that are included to make information stand out in a passage. When you have subheadings as one of your features they can be used very effectively.   Subheadings are like tour guides to a passage.  They direct us to the important parts.  Numbered paragraphs are important to; they can guide our thinking and allow us to only focus on a part of a passage instead of the entire thing. 

Directed Instruction: 

What are subheadings and headings, how to find them,  Instruct how they are usually identified by bold faced print.

Subheadings and headings are like mini-main ideas.  You have to use them when you are making decisions about main ideas of passages. 

Explain how to locate subheadings and headings and then how to use them to identify a main idea.  After we read a subheading or heading we can make a prediction about what are main idea is going to be.  Make sure you are really thinking about what could potentially be a main idea for your story and then either agree or disagree with your prediction. 


Guided Practice: Set up a chart that is similar to the resource given for this lesson where you have 4 columns a column for subheading or heading, a column for main idea initial thought, and then main idea final thought, and then evidence.  Model going through an area of a passage with a subheading.  Read the subheading then write it in the section that says subheading, then predict a main idea using the subheading.  Look at how I can predict what my main idea will be by using the subheading.  Then read that section.  Finally state whether or not you agree or disagree with your original predicted main idea and explain your reasoning. 


Independent Practice:

Students will navigate through non-fiction texts that have subheadings and complete the subheading main idea prediction sheet as they did with the teacher.  Students can do this in groups or they can do it independently.  This can also be incorporated as a center. 


Closing:  Write text that would model _________________________ trait.    



Lesson Resources

Using Subheadings to Predict Main Ideas Lesson Resource  


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