This resource includes six activities to help your students learn about topic, main idea, and supporting details. The activities begin with basic concepts, including identifying a topic. Each level adds a layer of complexity to what students are expected to do. This helps deepen their understanding. You can learn more about the progression in this article on my website.
Be sure to check out the preview to learn more.
1. Identifying the Topic (12 sets of pictures included)
In this activity, students will look at a collection of pictures to determine the topic of the pictures. They range in difficulty so this activity can be used with lower and upper grade students.
2. Understanding How Words Are Related (6 sets of words)
Similar to the previous activity, students will be determining which word is the topic and which five words support the topic. This allows students to begin to think about how words in a text are related.
3. Understanding How Sentences Are Related (6 sets of sentences)
Three detail sentences are provided to students. Students will read the three sentences, think about how they are related, and come up with a main idea.
4. Writing a Main Idea and Details Paragraph (6 fact lists)
Students will read over a list of facts and will develop their own main idea and details paragraph. Plenty of facts are provided on each list, so students can pick and choose which to use. Main idea and details graphic organizers are provided for students who need extra support, or younger students who may not be ready for paragraph form just yet.
5. Reading to Identify the Main Idea (12 total paragraphs)
In this activity, students will examine 5 mixed up sentences from a paragraph and will determine which sentence is the main idea, and which four sentences are the details. Students will read about three animals: the platypus, Tasmania devil, and laughing Kookaburra. Each animal has four paragraphs. There are challenging extension ideas provided for upper grades students.
6. Explaining How Details Support (Printable)
Now that students have learned about main idea & details and how words and sentences relate to each other, they are ready to explain how the details support the main idea. A printable (4 to a page) is included to allow students to defend their answers (from the previous sentence sort activity).