Main Idea and Supporting Details

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SWBAT determine the main idea and recount supporting details of a text by completing a graphic organizer.

Big Idea

Students work together to identify the main idea and supporting details and explain the connection.

Do Now

15 minutes

We were learning about landforms in the science text, so I used this content to teach the skill. I’d shown students a video about various landforms to build their vocabulary background knowledge about the text. I displayed the main idea and supporting details graphic organizer on the document camera. I told students we were going to use it to help us find what the text is mostly about and the details that explain it. I explained that the main idea is written in the center shape and the supporting details are written on the connecting shapes.

I’d created a reading guide to guide students through the process that good readers use to identify the main idea and supporting details. Students had their own reading guide at their desks to follow along. I displayed it on the document camera and began reading the text. I modeled reading the title and turning it into a question because good reader ask questions, just like we had studied before. Before I read the rest of the text, I explained that sometimes the first or last sentence identifies the main idea. You can also find the main idea by highlighting repeating key words. I modeled highlighting and writing the words landforms and Earth in the reading guide. I told students based on the title and the repeating keywords, the text was about Earth’s landforms. I wrote this in the middle of the graphic organizer, explaining as I went along. I identified the supporting details by looking for sentences that support the main idea. I highlighted them in the text and wrote them on the organizer. I then explained the connections between the supporting details and the main idea. I used my finger to trace the connecting lines to give students a visual of the connections.

I modeled reading another passage with students and they followed along. The explained why the supporting details supported the main idea by talking to their shoulder partner. I’d created a poster outlining the steps to using the skill. I reviewed the poster with students and told them to reference is ask they worked to be sure they followed the steps.

Independent Practice

25 minutes

Students worked with a partner to complete the remainder of the reading guide. I circulated as students worked. Most students were able to identify the main idea by using the title, highlighting repeating keywords, and noting the first or last sentence. They were able to identify the supporting details most times, but there were times when a detail did not match. I would question them about the connection using the questioning technique. This helped students think through their responses and correct the error.


25 minutes

I assessed students using a checklist. I looked for whether or not they could identify the main idea, support it with key details, and explain why the details supported the main idea.


10 minutes

I closed the lesson with a Ticket Out the Door. Students were asked to write what they’d learned about how to find the main idea and supporting details. I wanted to gauge how well students had grasped the lesson and identify any misconceptions students may have had.