Finding the main idea isn’t always the most fun skill to practice – but your students will love the engaging main idea passages on this set of free task cards!
Main idea has got to be one of the most difficult reading skills to teach.
But it’s oh, so important.
We want our readers to be able to understand the “big idea” from a text.
What do they need to remember?
What is essential and what is nonessential?
Main idea is definitely a tricky concept to teach, so I made these main idea task cards for members of The Measured Mom Plus. And today I’m sharing the file with you … for free!
The file comes with 24 task cards. Each card has an engaging passage about a particular animal.
When I used the activity with my second grader, we used the simpler answer sheet.
After reading each task card, he chose the main idea from the three choices on the answer sheet.
I helped him see that, sometimes, the main idea is directly stated in the paragraph.
Other times, we need to infer the main idea based on the details.
My fourth grader (who informed me that he has a hard time with main idea), had the more difficult task. Instead of choosing from a list of main ideas, he had to write them on his own.
We worked on this together, and finding the main idea wasn’t easy for him.
He often came up with a main idea that was much too specific. Together we looked at the sentences in the paragraph to make sure they all supported his main idea. If not, we knew we needed something different.
Here are some tips for teaching main idea:
- Reminder your learners that they are looking for the “big idea” that the text is about.
- The details should point to the main idea. After a learner has named the main idea (whether correct or incorrect), ask more questions. “What are the details which support that main idea?”
- Sometimes learners can get too specific with the main idea; help them see that a main idea is more of a general statement.
- Teach your learners that the main idea may or may not be explicitly stated as a topic sentence. This sentence can be anywhere within the paragraph.
- When looking for the main idea, learners can ask themselves:
- What’s important here?
- What big idea does the author want me to remember?
- What is the most important point about the topic?
I hope you enjoy these free task cards!
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