Lesson: Main Idea: Using Supporting Details 3

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Lesson Objective

Readers study the diagrams and connect them to the main idea of the text.

Lesson Plan

*Materials Needed: blown-up copies of the diagrams on p. 11 and p. 14 of Extreme Animals


Point:  Readers study the diagrams and connect them to the main idea of the text.  

Connection: Yesterday you learned that writers of nonfiction include pictures in their writing to help their reader learn information that supports the main idea. Today you are going to learn how nonfiction writers also include diagrams to give their readers information that supports the main idea.


Teach: We all know that writers of nonfiction include supporting details that tell more about the main idea throughout the sections in their writing. Sometimes the best way to give their reader this information is through a diagram. Diagrams are special pictures in nonfiction texts because they are pictures that provide us with a lot of supporting information. These pictures help the text explain complicated information. Let me show how a diagram helps me understand the supporting details in this nonfiction book, Extreme Animals (book is very engaging, but it is new and has difficult vocab. so lots of thinking aloud will be necessary). Like our book How Animals Adapt, this book is all about animals that change their bodies and behaviors in order to survive in the wild. Listen as I read and watch how much clearer all the details I find that support this main idea become when I look at the diagram in the book. (Read aloud pp. 7 – 11). Wow! That’s a lot of information about how polar bears keep warm. But guess what?! The author of this nonfiction book knew that all this information might be confusing and overwhelming, so she put this diagram here to help me understand it (display blown-up copy of diagram on p.11). This diagram helps me see how the polar bear keeps warm because it has a 7 cm layer of fat, a layer of fur, and then another layer of fur. Did you notice how much clearer the information that supports the idea about polar bears adapting their bodies to keep warm is because of the diagram?


Active Engagement: Now it’s your turn to listen as I read on in the book and then use another diagram to understand even more supporting information in the text about animals changing their bodies and behaviors to survive. Listen as I read and then pay attention to the diagram that the author gives. You will have to turn and tell your partner what the diagram is showing us in a minute. (Read pp. 12 – 15 aloud and display blown-up copy of diagram on p. 14). What supporting information does this diagram help us understand more clearly? Turn and tell your partner.


Link: Scholars, today and whenever you read nonfiction, pay attention to any diagrams that your author includes in order to help you understand the supporting information in your texts.


Share: Who was able to use a diagram to learn more information about what their nonfiction books were teaching them today?

Lesson Resources

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