Lesson: Determining Importance

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Lesson Objective

Students will retell a story with important information.

Lesson Plan

Connection (3-5 mins):

We have been working alot with reading strategies over the past couple days.  Today we will practice a new skill.  We will retell the important events of a story.  Notice that I said important events rather than telling everything single detail that happened in a story. 


Teach (5-10 mins):
Students are seated on the carpet with a partner.  Students will turn and talk with this partner throughout the lesson.  Ask students why it is important to determine the most important information in a text?  Take a few student responses.  Explain to students that determining importance helps readers understand what they are reading, learn new information, and ensure you don't get distracted by other details.

While reading there are several important ideas rather than one main idea, good reader’s determine the most important information on a page (look for important words, important phrase or sentence, big idea).  For example when you put dirt in a basket with holes and you shake out the small grains but the bigger rocks stay in the basket. Those bigger rocks are the most important information that we want to retell. 


Teacher reveals chart for the lesson.  Discuss three different levels of determining importance in a text.  Explain that we can think about what are the important words in a sentence, the important sentences in a paragraph, or the important ideas in a whole text.


-CHART:   3 Levels of Determining Importance in a Text
                              whole-text idea (what the text is about)
                              sentence/phrase (most important sentence in a paragraph)
                             words (words that are most important in a sentence)

Model (5-10 mins):

Teacher reads aloud a page of James and the Giant Peach by Roald Dahl.  Teacher writes the most important idea of the page on a post it.  Model thinking of how that is the most important idea.  I know ideas are the most important because without those ideas/details the text would not make sense.  Teacher reads aloud second page in book and writes big idea on a second post it.

Did you notice how on each page I stopped to think about what was the most important part of that page.  Now you try.  Teacher reads aloud another page of the James and the Giant Peach.  Students turn and talk to think about what the page is mostly about.  Teacher asks a few students to share out and writes the idea on a post it to add to teaching chart.

Now we have three post its, one important detail from each page.  We can order these post-it notes on our chart to retell the story.  Teacher reads all three post-it notes in order.  This is a great strategy to use while tracking a story because now I know the most important details.  I don't necessarily need to reread and entire page, I can refer to my post-it notes to determine what is most important.

Active Engagement (10-15 mins):
Students return to their seats to complete the retelling worksheet.  The worksheet is modeled after the classroom chart with boxes to represent post-it notes.  Now that you have practiced reading and determining the important information on a page I want to give you a chance to read 3-4 pages of your "just right" books.  As you read make sure you stop after each page to write the most important information from the page in the box on your worksheet.  Be ready to share out your retelling at the end of our work time.

Exit Slip (3-5 mins): Teacher selects a few students to share out their three boxes from the worksheet to retell what they read.  Teacher collects worksheets to determine which students need more practice with the skill.


Reflection: I enjoy teaching this lesson.  The step by step process of using post-it notes and the similarity of the independent worksheet make it easier for students to understand determining importance.  However, it is a very difficult skill and many students still select minor details to add to their retell.  i teach this lesson over two days so students have multiple opportunities to practice.

Lesson Resources

Determine Importance Worksheet   Activity


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