Main Idea and Supporting Details

46 teachers like this lesson
Print Lesson


SWBAT: identify the main idea of both a visual and print text.

Big Idea

Using a catchy song as the mini-lesson, students identify the Main Idea and Supporting Details of a passage and a map.


25 minutes

Usually I'm the one delivering the mini-lesson, but I found this amazing video from Flocabulary. It does a really nice job of teaching the concept, and it's super-catchy!

Next, I thought it was important that my class and I worked through an example together. I read the Harriet Quimby aloud and we worked through the chart together. This is using the Gradual Release of Responsibility Model (GRR), something I'm always trying to be cognizant of.

It felt important to me that my students be able to transfer their understanding of Main Idea and Details to a visual text (more of this in the reflection). I used this amazing resource I have called Teaching Students to Read Nonfiction, by Alice Boynton and Wiley Blevins.

The text that is used for the Main Idea/Details lesson is actually a map. When most students interact with a map (and I know this because my husband is a middle school Social Studies teacher), it's on a very surface level, or the students are using the lowest depth of knowledge to simply identify something on that map. Like, which mountain has the highest elevation?

It's interesting to me that this lesson was asking for more comprehension; being able to interpret a map for Main Idea and Details seems pretty sophisticated. 

Anyway, students "read" Our Country's Landforms, and extracted the details in the Graphic Organizer. The Graphic Organizer does not ask for the main idea, so I had students present their claim about what they interpreted as the main idea. This is actually a Speaking and Listening standard, so it felt really important. It was completely informal, just kind of whipped around the room and had students present their findings.