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5 Simple and Easy Tips for Teaching Main Idea in Upper Elementary

Are you looking for tips for teaching main idea in your upper elementary classroom? When readers can identify the main idea in a text and pick out important details, they better understand the text as a whole. Readers can also make connections between different parts of the text and better remember what they’ve read. Teaching main idea and details helps students separate what is important in the text from non-essential information.

tips for teaching main idea

Identifying the main idea and important details can be challenging for students. Students may struggle to identify which information is central to the main idea and which provides additional details. They may struggle with distinguishing the main idea from non-essential information. Here are 5 simple tips for teaching main idea in your classroom.

Tips for Teaching Main Idea: 1 Use Graphic Organizers

Unfortunately, we cannot see what our students are thinking when they read. Graphic organizers are a great way for students to make their thinking visible. This not only helps us understand what our readers are thinking, but it can also help our students form a visual representation of the relationship between the main idea and details. By seeing this information laid out in a structured format, students can better understand how the details contribute to the main idea. Having a visual representation can help students grasp abstract concepts more concretely.

Providing our students with a main idea graphic organizer gives them a framework for organizing their thoughts. As students complete the graphic organizer, they actively engage with the text. This organizational support helps students analyze the text and supports them as they search for the main idea and details.

Tips for Teaching Main Idea: 2 Model for Students

Before we send students off on their own to locate the main idea and details, we must model the process for our students. Demonstrate how to identify the main idea and details by modeling your thinking aloud as you read a passage together as a class. Think aloud about how you determine the main idea and the details that support the main idea. Be explicit about the strategies that you are using, such as looking for repeated words and phrases, considering the author’s purpose in relationship to the main idea, or looking for topic sentences. This helps students understand the thinking process of locating the main idea in a text.

Tips for Teaching Main Idea: 3 Model and Practice with Appropriate Text

Choose a text suitable for students’ reading levels and relevant to their interests. It is important to use a text that contains clear main ideas and supporting details. Shorter text will allow students to focus on the main idea without feeling overwhelmed.

Tips for Teaching Main Idea: 4 Highlight Keywords and Phrases

Highlighters always make lessons more fun. Encourage students to highlight keywords and phrases that help convey the main idea or support it.

Tips for Teaching Main Idea: 5 Choose Fun Graphic Organizers

Add some fun to your lesson with a fun graphic organizer. I realize graphic organizers has already been mentions as one of the tips for teaching main idea, but here is an added tip: don’t just choose basic graphic organizers. Instead, choose engaging and fun graphic organizers that your students will love!

Using a fun graphic organizer like these Nonfiction Reading Comprehension Graphic Organizers can increase student engagement, spark interest in the lesson, and motivate your students. By choosing graphic organizers that are visually appealing, teachers can create engaging learning experiences that encourage participation and learning.

This set of graphic organizers includes 130+ nonfiction graphic organizers that can be easily used with any nonfiction book or text. Designed to make your teaching life easier, simply grab the graphic organizer that corresponds to the skill that you are teaching, print, and go! Not only will you find graphic organizers for main idea, but you will also find cause and effect, problem and solution, author’s purpose, sequence, text structure, and so much more!

Looking for more ideas or tips for teaching main idea? Check out this post with a Simple and Easy Main Idea Activity.

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