Monday, September 26, 2016

Main Idea and Supporting Details with Nonfiction Text ~ Freebie


We are working hard in fifth grade to read an article and identify the main idea. The question that keeps running through my mind is, "Why is this SO HARD for kids?"

I keep coming back to a strategy in The Reading Strategies Book by Jennifer Serravallo that talks about helping kids find what words repeat.  This is used for younger kids, but I started thinking that this might be the missing link for our older kids as we analyze Nonfiction text.

Think about it:
1.  What words repeat?  That would be identifying the topic.
2.  Answer the following questions to create your main idea:

  • Who is the article about?
  • What is the big idea?
  • Where did the event(s) occur?
  • When did this happen?
  • Why did this occur?
  • How or how come?
3.  What information tells more about the main idea?  You now have supporting details.

If we use the close reading process, it would look a little like this:

First Read:  Circle words that repeat.  Identify the topic.


Second Read:  Answer the "wh" questions to develop your main idea.

  • Write who, what, where, when, why, how/how come in the margins as information is identified.
Third Read:  Annotate for supporting details.
  • Draw an arrow next to ideas you think are supporting details.


I created this graphic organizer to help kids after close reading.  It is free to you for classroom use.  I hope this process helps your students better understand main idea and supporting details.

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