Point to Main Idea/Point of View in Literature

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SWBAT read the main idea and supporting ideas of parts of a story with a voice demonstrating the characters’ point of view

Big Idea

What's the main idea and how do we show point of view?


10 minutes


I chose this book because it is a classic and I am a true believer that classic tales should be common knowledge for students. The themes are retold in other stories and formats and I want my students to have a strong background knowledge of classic literature. The reading level of this book is slightly above the 2nd grade level, so I’ll be reading the text aloud, but the students will need to analyze the wording and text in small parts.

I taught a lesson called ‘Points of Literature - Main Idea and Details’  about main idea in literature that you can look at if you want to see how the full organizer was used.

Let's Get Excited

10 minutes

Underlined words below are lesson vocabulary words that are emphasized and written on sentence strips for my Reading & Writing word wall. I pull off the words off the wall for each lesson, helping students understand this key 'reading and writing' vocabulary can be generalized across texts and topics.  The focus on acquiring and using these words is part of a shift in the Common Core Standards towards building students’ academic vocabulary.  My words are color coded ‘pink’ for literature/’blue’ for reading strategies/’orange’ for informational text/'yellow' for writing/’green’ for all other words)


Peaking the kids’ interest in the lesson

  • “Today I brought in a special animal that lots of kids like to sleep with. Does anyone else sleep with a special animal?” See if the kids will ‘fess up’ or not – mine were happy to share their special bedtime friends.


Introduce book and character and bringing them all to the same schema….

  • “This bear is like the bear in a story we’ll read today. This piece of literature is about a bear that’s looking for a home. “
  • Show the book  “Has anyone read this book?”  Take ideas and discuss for a few moments. Several of my kids were familiar with this book.

Teacher's Turn

15 minutes

Introduce organizer and ideas of point of view/main idea

  • "Let's look at this bear's ‘point of view’ as he goes on some adventures. We are also going to think about the main idea and details of each adventure.”  Here's my whiteboard example
  • “We talked before about the concept of main idea.  That’s the big idea that the part of the story is about. The bear goes to several different places. The place he goes is the main idea and his thoughts about the adventures are the details that support the main idea.”
  • “Here’s the organizer that we used before for main idea. The line with an arrow shows us the different ideas in the book. Each arrow is a main idea. Under the arrow, we write the key ideas that support that idea.”


Read the book and demonstrate strategy

  • “Let’s read some of the book and I’ll show you how to determine the main idea when Corduroy starts his adventures.”
  • Read 1-11 and stop  “”Now here is his first adventure. Let me read pages 12-13 and tell me what the main idea is.”
  • Read and discuss… talk about the main idea as Corduroy rode up and the details as ‘escalator’   and ‘looking for a button’  or ‘he thought it was a mountain.’  Add those to the whiteboard.
  • “Great now that we have a main idea, let’s write a sentence to summarize this section.”  ‘Corduroy rode up the escalator to look for a button. 


Students Take A Turn

20 minutes

Explain task

  • “Now its your turn to determine the main idea and share the details that support the main idea. Choose one idea to write about.”
  • Pass out the worksheet.
  • “I’ll read the rest of the book and you can listen for which adventure you want to pick.”


Read the rest of the book. Emphasize some of the adventures as your read

  • "Pick an adventure that I read and write the main idea of what happened on the 2 pages."
  • As students work, ask them to explain their choices of main idea and supporting details. Here's an example of what it looks like as my student fills out worksheet.
  • I've included the discussion with the students as they explain their thoughts. Here is a video of student explaining his thoughts and another student explaining her thoughts
  • When they're done, check their worksheets. Are they retelling or is it a real 'main idea'?  I did have several students who tended to retell the events. I talk about this in my reflection.
  • See an example of my student's completed worksheet.


I am asking the students to think about what is happening to the character in this story - the main idea and the details of an adventure. This little bear has to respond to challenges throughout the story and the students are describing that response (RL.2.3) on this worksheet. The goal of this lesson is for students to describe how a character is faced with obstacles (main idea) and how those are perceived (details). By breaking down the story into smaller events that Corduroy faces, I'm allowing the kids to cite evidence from the text to support their perception of the challenges and describe them. 

Apply What You've Learned!

20 minutes

There is a shift in the Common Core ELA Standards toward the encouraging students to read and evaluate literature in relation to character development and character’s point of view. (RL.2.6) This  point of view shapes the content and students should be able to evaluate the change in the story.


Discuss idea of 'point of view'

  • “Now let’s think about point of view.  The bear in the story has a different point of view in each adventure."
  • “I brought a little Corduroy. The places he went were very big and he was really small. Since he was tiny and not very smart, he had a special ‘point of view’. I’m going to flip over my worksheet."


Explain activity

  • "I summarized his adventure when he went up the escalator.  I'll draw a simple scene of that and I'll glue the bear onto the scene."  Here's the teacher's picture
  •  I’ll use a ‘Corduroy’ voice to read my sentence.” Here's a video of the teacher demonstration of project.


Students begin activity

  • “Start your scene on the back and I'll pass out the Corduroys.” 
  • “Who would like to come up and share your picture and read your sentence? See one of my students explaining her picture.


Scaffolding and Special Education: This lesson could be easily scaffolded up or down, depending on student ability.

Since the students don’t have to read the book individually, students with academic challenges should be able to participate more fully.  They may need prompting on a desk slate or to work with a friend to determine the main idea and details.  There is an example of whiteboard prompts for challenged students.

Students with more academic ability should be able to use higher level vocabulary and more developed sentences. For example, they could write a simile such as the button on the mattress was like the button on a shirt.