What did I just read??

Our students need some additional support in identifying the main idea within text.  Today, we were reviewing some close reading strategies while reading a passage about the 1800s Women’s Rights Movement.  While I was working in a small group with some students, it was apparent that they were truly having difficulty differentiating between a topic and a main idea.  I love these “A Ha!” moments that force me to take a step back and say, “okay, we really need to spend some extra time reviewing this concept.”

So, using research online, in conjunction with my own ideas, I am creating a three day lesson that covers close reading strategies to help students determine a text's topic and main idea.

I plan to break the students up into small groups where they will read a short passage using the five close reading strategies.  I created a poster to help refresh students’ memory of the strategies while they are working.

1. Number the paragraphs within the text prior to even reading the material.  Numbering paragraphs makes it easier to locate supporting evidence from the passage.

2. Chunk the text into easy-to-manage sections.  This strategy is especially helpful when reading larger paragraphs of information.

3. Underline and circle with a purpose.  Look for key words, dates, people, places, and definitions that will help you better understand the text.

4. Left margins should be used to identify a paragraph's main idea or what the author is saying.

5. Right margins are used to dig deeper into the text and should use evidence to help support or explain what is written within the left margin. 

After reading, my goal is to have students work together to build a “Main Idea Taco.”  The more toppings a taco has, the better it tastes.  Likewise, the more details to support a main idea, the more sense it makes or the more credible you become.

Stay tuned for more information as this lesson progresses…


Ms. Vince

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