Lesson: Main Idea

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Lesson Objective

Students will be able to analyze details in the text to synthesize a main idea for a paragraph, chapter, or book.

Lesson Plan

Objective:  Students will be able to analyze the details in a given paragraph, chapter, or whole text in order to synthesize the main idea.

Lesson Plan


DO NOW (5-7 minutes):   Start reading “Windows to the Soul” on page 215.

Opening:  Within “Chew On This” there are so many details, facts, opinions, and pieces of information that we come in contact with.  As good readers we have to sift through all of those things to be able to come up with a main idea or what the passage/book/paragraph/chapter is about.  We do this with both non-fiction and fiction texts alike.

Today we are going to learn a strategy that I love to use to help me find the main idea.  We continue to work on this skill because it is so crucial to our understanding of what we are reading.

Direct Instruction (I DO):

Five-Finger Strategy – After reading we need to ask ourselves five questions to help us come up with the main idea and summarize what we have read:

  1. Who? – who is the passage talking about

  2. Did What? – what is going on

  3. When? – when did it take place

  4. Where?  - where in the world is this taking place

  5. Why

Read “The American Disease” on page 213 and model the 5-finger strategy for the class.

1.      Who? – Children in the United States

2.      Did What? – are eating more fast food than anyone and are becoming obese and contracting other health problems like Type II Diabetes, high blood pressure, asthma, and heart disease.

3.      When? – right now (present)

4.      Where? – United States

5.      Why? – because of the amounts of fast food being eaten.

As I’m sure you noticed, while I was reading you heard a lot of information with in the two pages (some of these details should be recorded).  But what we are really looking for are the basics of what we just read.

·        Who? – though there were other people/nationalities being discussed, the people that were MOST talked about were American children.

·        Did What? – the passage was MOSTLY TALKING ABOUT what has started to happen to children due to eating fast food/junk food.

·        When? – the passage was talking MOSTLY about the present

·        Where? – the passage mentioned people in Japan, but MOSTLY hit on the area of the United States.

·        Why? – The passage MOSTLY talked about fast food being the reason for this happening.

You see a pattern here?  When looking for the main idea, we are looking for what the passage/chapter/section is MOSTLY about.

Let’s practice a bit more with this Five-Finger Strategy…

Guided Practice (WE DO):

Split students into pairs and assign them a 1-2 paragraph section within “Window’s to the Soul” on page 215.

Using the 5-finger rule, students will come up with the main idea for their section.

Students will then share their main ideas and teacher records them.  These will serve as the basis for students to synthesis the main idea for the entire section of the chapter. 

Independent Practice (YOU DO):

Using a variety of articles from Scholastic Journal/Time for Kids/Magazines/etc. have students pick an article and use the Five-Finger Strategy for themselves.

Exit Ticket: 
How does the Five-Finger Strategy help you become a better reader?

**Make an anchor chart to display the Five-Finger Strategy in the classroom**

Lesson Resources

Lesson 27 Five Finger Strat    Notes
Lesson 27   Lesson Plan


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