Main idea is a difficult skill to teach. Many capable adults still struggle with finding the main idea of a text, differentiating between main idea and details, and understanding when details from a text support or don’t support the main idea.
Below are some ideas and activities to help you as you teach main idea to your 3rd grade, 4th grade, and 5th grade students. There are ideas for main idea centers, a free main idea slideshow, strategies for helping students that are struggling with main idea and details, and more.
Since understanding main idea and details is an important part of summarizing, there are also blog posts that address summarizing with your upper elementary students.
The activities above address the following common core standards for 3rd grade, 4th grade, and 5th grade students:
Determine the main idea of a text; recount the key details and explain how they support the main idea.
Determine the main idea of a text and explain how it is supported by key details; summarize the text.
Determine two or more main ideas of a text and explain how they are supported by key details; summarize the text.
Many of the activities above are available at my TeachersPayTeachers Store. If you like the activities but don’t want all of the prep, check out my Main Idea Activities Bundle. It includes hands on activities, cut and paste activities, graphic organizers, task cards, main idea centers, writing integration activities, and more!