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Teaching Main Idea

Teaching main idea can be tough.  Some students get it right away and others, well the just don’t.  Sometimes students get so caught up in the details that they just can’t see the forrest from the trees.  However, being able to not only find but communicate the main idea is an important skill our students need.

When I need to change things up a bit I jump over to my favorite visual search engine – Pinterest. I did a search on Pinterest, and found some great main idea anchor charts.  I found a chart similar to this one, decided on a few changes, and then created it.

This new anchor chart made teaching main idea a little easier.  I like that the chart gives students specific places to look for the main idea, rather than just asking what the story is mostly about.  I also like that it provides them with specific questions to ask themselves, thus teaching them to think like a reader.  Knowing specific strategies such as these can truly help students become better readers.

After creating the anchor chart I displayed it in my classroom.  As we began reviewing the concept of main idea we went through the chart as a class.  We talked about each of the 5 things listed and I modeled what it might look and sound like if I was doing it.  The students really loved practicing this skill together and I was very proud of how they began digging a little deeper.

Looking for more Main Idea and Reading resources?

Looking for More Great Ideas for Teaching Reading?

These blog posts are filled with fun and engaging ideas for teaching reading in a way that your upper elementary students will love!

Shelly Rees

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  • Pensive Sloth March 16, 2014 at 10:34 am

    This is something students struggle with for sure. We focus on talking about whole and parts when it comes to the text and look for 3 kinds of answer choices–too broad, too narrow, and just right! Thanks for sharing the anchor chart.

    • Shelly Rees March 21, 2014 at 1:13 am

      I like the 3 kinds of answer choices! Nice idea. Thank you!

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    I'm Shelly Rees of Appletastic Learning. First and foremost, I'm a mom of 4 boys, wife of 25 years to Aric, and Wyoming girl at heart. I love being creative, making resources for teachers, baking cookies, Diet Coke, teaching, public speaking, and spreading kindness wherever I can. After teaching in the upper elementary grades for over 23 years, I retired early and focused on creating and helping teachers around the world with my teaching ideas and resources. I also serve as a mentor to hundreds of teacherpreneurs and help them get focused on growing their own successful businesses. With 100% honesty, I LOVE my life! Thanks for visiting! I hope you'll stay awhile and come back often. Read More

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