Lesson: Main Idea: Understanding Key Words

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Lesson Objective

Readers understand the key words in an article to fully understand the main idea.

Lesson Plan

Point:  Writers organize their writing to help the reader figure out the main idea.  Writers sometimes identify and define key words that connect to the main idea because if you don’t understand these key words, you can’t fully understand the main idea.

Link: We have been talking this whole week about how writers organize their writing to help the writer figure out the main idea.  We have talked about how and where the writer tells you the main idea.  Today, I am going to teach you how writer helps you understand the main idea by identifying and defining key words that are connected to the main idea.

Teaching: In second grade, you learned about key words, words that are bolded or italicized in non-fiction books.  When authors pick key words, they only pick words that are important to understanding the main idea.  This means that you really need to make sure that you understand these key words because if you don’t, then you can’t understand the main idea.  Often, authors define these words in the text because they are so important.  When you see a bold word, you should stop and read that sentence carefully to figure out what that word means.  Watch how I do that.  [Model this with “nocturnal” and “prey” from “Adapting to the Dark” – pass it out to them before I model so that they can see what I am talking about.]  Did you notice how I used the text to figure out what those words meant?  And those words are important because both of them are crucial to understanding the main idea of this section. 

Active Engagement:  Now it’s your turn to try.  Work with you partner to figure out what the rest of the bold words in this section mean.  Make sure you understand it well enough that you could explain it to others.  [Give time with partners.]

Link: Today and every day when you read non-fiction and you notice a key word, you need to figure out what it means because authors only pick key words that are important to understand the main idea of the text.

Share: [Have anyone who noticed a key word and worked to define it show us how they did it.]

Materials: same copies of “Adapting to the Dark”



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