Reading is a skill that is constantly being improved upon throughout a student’s school experience. Once our youngsters hit first grade, we have covered the very basics of reading. The alphabet, the sounds each letter makes, and simple CVC words are firmly under the belts of these kids. The next step we need to focus on in first grade is finding the main idea and key details in a paragraph. Keep reading to the end to grab a free download of printables to help you teach main idea with your class.
We need to read for content and begin understanding what is being read. Teaching important reading skills such as making and adjusting predictions, retelling, and finding the main idea of a passage are a great place to start.
What Do We Mean By Teaching Main Idea and Key Details?
The main idea of the paragraph is exactly that, the central idea or reason the passage was written. The main topic or main idea of a paragraph is what the key details help to describe. Supporting details help us to better understand the main idea. They give us the most important information and help to explain the big idea or topic of the text. Together, the main idea and the key details make up the whole paragraph. Then we can move on to a new main idea and key details in the following paragraphs. If you are looking for a great way to start teaching main idea and key details in your classroom, the Main Idea Activities resource with games, crafts, and organizers is exactly what you need.
3 Engaging Ways to Teach Main Idea and Key Details:
Close reading is a strategy used in the classroom to make sure students understand what has been read. After reading a simple passage once, the students reread the text a couple more times. It might be good to read the passage as a class, have the students read it themselves, and then again to a partner or two. After close reading, have students answer a couple of text dependent questions to demonstrate understanding. For different passages to practice with, check out this bundle of Close Reading Passages for nonfiction texts!
My favorite strategy, and often the most fun way, is retelling. Because students enjoy it, retelling may be the first thing you implement for teaching your students to find the main point of a passage. Listen as your students retell the reading passage to you in their own words. If they are unclear about any details, have them reread the passage and try again. For more about retelling, I have a blog post I wrote a while back to recommend to you, Retelling of a Story: 3 Tips Guaranteed to Boost Comprehension.
Reading passages are essential in teaching main idea and key details. Finding something your students want to read can be a challenge, though. Check out these options for great mini lessons to help teach reading comprehension skills. This bundle comes in a 1st, 2nd, and 3rd grade level version, as well as a no standards version so you can tailor it to your classroom needs. Within this bundle are some posters to help remind your students to use close reading and retelling what they’ve read.
How Can I Teach My First Graders to Better Understand How To Find Main Idea and Key Details?
Teaching main idea and key details takes time and practice with passages. Take time to understand what your students like to learn about and find passages that will excite them. Make connections with your students to things that happen in their own lives, or in the world around them. Stop your students to make predictions about the ending of a passage. Encourage students to make a mental picture of the passage. Explain how to use text features to help identify main idea and key details in a passage. There are lots more ideas if your students are struggling, and you should check out a blog I have previously written about Reading Strategies for Comprehension: 15 Strategies You Must Teach Students to Master for even more details.
What Can I Recommend To Parents For Practice At Home?
Encourage reading, retelling, and finding the main idea and key details in stories students and parents read together at home. Keep parents in the loop about what you are practicing in class and encourage your students to practice these main idea skills at home.
You can also have parents check out this great free download for their families to try together. This amazing printable pack has 15 no prep main idea resources to help students practice main idea and key details!
Students need a good foundation of understanding what exactly they are reading. Practice makes perfect when it comes to reading comprehension. How will you incorporate these important ideas and different activities for teaching the main idea and key details into your classroom today?