Teaching Main Idea

Here is a link to a brainpop video about main idea of nonfiction texts/articles.

One way to help students organize their thoughts to find a main idea is to use a graphic organizer in the shape of a house:

Draw a triangle. At the top of triangle is the “topic” of the article, which is a one-word description of what was read.

At the base of the triangle is the main idea in one sentence: what was the article about?

Under the triangle, draw a rectangle and divide into three vertical sections. Each section should be filled with a different detail from the text to back up the main idea.

There are two ways to teach this “house” graphic organizer:

1. Top down – students come up with the topic and main idea before finding details.

2.Bottom up – students list 3 main details and use those details to determine the main idea.


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