Designers for Learning - Adult Learning Zone
Table of Contents
Part 1: Lesson Description
Finding the Main Idea and Details, Central Idea, Thesis in an Informational Text.
This lesson is aimed at finding the main idea and details in an informational text. The text is at grade 3 (C) reading level. The learner should be able to identify, sort, state and write the central idea and its supporting details in a given text. The terms central idea, theme, thesis, mainly about, will be used as synonymous with the main idea of a text. The students will create a brochure/flyer, conduct research, and build fluency during the course of this lesson.
Learner Audience / Primary Users
Teachers, Students, Professional Developers, Curriculum and Instruction Professionals, and Educational Administrators.
- Curriculum / Instruction
- Assessment, Mini-Lesson, Professional Development, Home School, Informal Education.
College & Career Readiness Standards (CCRS) Alignment
●Level: Adult Education
●Grade Level: CCRS Grade Level C
●Subject: English Language Arts / Literacy
●Domain or Strand: Reading Informational Texts.
○Domain: English Language Arts/Literacy
■Strand: Reading, Writing, Speaking and Listening
■Sub-strand: Reading and Writing of Informational Text, Literature
1.Determine the main idea of a text and explain how it is supported by key details; summarize the text. (RI.4.2).
2.Determine a theme of a story, drama, or poem from details in the text; summarize the text. (RL.4.2)
3.Report on a topic or text or present an opinion, sequencing ideas logically and using appropriate facts and relevant, descriptive details to support main ideas or themes; speak clearly at an understandable pace. (SL.5.4)
- Instructional Material
- Homework and Assignments
- Teaching and Learning Strategies
- Images, illustrations, video.
The purpose of this lesson is for learners to be able to:
●Sort the main idea and details of a given text.
●Write the main idea and details given a passage.
●Make a flyer or brochure after conducting research on a given topic.
●Create an anchor chart restating the meaning of the Main Idea and Details.
- Designers for Learning
- Adult Education
- Main Idea and Supporting Details
- Central Idea
Time Required for Lesson
- At least Grade 3 Reading Level
- Intermediate level speaking and listening skills in English.
Teacher should talk about using Wikipedia cautiously for research.
- 1 Computer with internet access.
- 1 Projector (optional) or printed picture of a sugar glider. https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Petaurus_breviceps-Cayley.jpg
- White or black board and markers.
- Paper and pencils/pens, brown paper bags, post-it notes.
- Print these articles: Given under the references section below.
Lesson Author & License
●Lesson Author: Sandhya L.
●License: Creative Commons CC BY 4.0 license
Part 2: Lesson
By the end of this lesson, the learner should be able to:
- Sort the main idea and details of a given text with 70% accuracy.
- Write the main idea and details given a passage with 70% accuracy.
- Create a flyer or brochure after conducting research on a given topic with 70% accuracy.
- State the main idea as synonymous with thesis and central idea of a text with 80% accuracy.
Key topics covered in this lesson include:
- Science/Researching with accuracy and relevancy
This lesson seeks to build research and reading skills. Conducting research and the ability to identify the central idea in a given text is a critical skill used by all adults. The following lesson attempts to introduce and practice identifying the central idea and its supporting details in an informational text. The students will also attempt to write a text with a topic sentence that relates to the main idea.
Relevance to Practice
Most adults make decisions based on their research. For instance questions like what is the best car to purchase, what is the healthiest meal to eat, or which is the best institution for higher education are all based on research. The ability to conduct research quickly and identify the thesis of a text is at the heart many real- life decisions. This lesson aims to build and strengthen these skills.
Key Terms and Concepts
- Flyer/ Brochure: A paper used to give information on a certain topic. Usually found in stores.
- Main idea: What the text is mostly about? The idea that is repeatedly mentioned or constantly referred to in a given passage, paragraph or story is the main idea.
- Supporting Details: The smaller ideas that are directly or indirectly connected to the main idea of the text are called supporting details.
- Synonyms: These words have the same meaning as Main Idea and are often used interchangeably. Central idea, mostly about, mainly about, theme, thesis.
Instructional Strategies and Activities
Time: 3 minutes
Activate Prior Knowledge with Lead-in questions: Ask the following questions to gauge what your students know about a pet store and the kinds of pets available for sale. Accept all answers.
- Have you ever been to a pet store?
- What can you buy at a pet store?
- What kinds of unusual pets can you find at a pet store?
- How can you get more information about an animal?
Watch a video on Sugar glider. (Optional: many videos are available through National Geographic)
If internet is unavailable show a picture of a sugar glider.
Ask: What do you notice about this animal? Accept all answers.
Time: 1 minute
Teacher: Today we will learn how to:
- Find the main idea and its supporting details in a paragraph or article.
- Read the printed research and make a brochure for a pet store.
Presentation / Modeling / Demonstration
Time: 10 minutes
Teacher: Model how to find the main idea and supporting details:
- Read this article one paragraph at a time. http://www.sugarglider.com/gliderpedia/index.asp?PetDrawbacks
- After each paragraph ask the student to write (in 1-2 words- on a post-it note) what ideas were repeated in the paragraph.
- Ask them to put the post-it note in a brown paper bag.
- Repeat the procedure with each paragraph.
- After reading the entire article, ask the students to take out all their post-it notes and find a common thesis (central idea) in them. (Prompt Qs: What is similar about in these post-it notes?)
- Once they have found the similarity- state that is the main idea of the article.
- Each post-it note is called the supporting detail.
- Supporting details all link with the main idea.
Time: 10 minutes
Read research and identify main idea.
Ask students to work with a partner. (1 article per pair of students)
Read an article and repeat the above procedure.
- Possible Articles:
Once they have read and found the main idea, they will make a brochure about a sugar glider.
Time: 5-7 minutes
Make a foldable/flyer (Application activity will be graded for formative and summative assessment.)
Using the main idea and supporting details that you found in the article above make a flyer to give more information on a sugar glider. The flyer should contain the following information.
|Title – Sugar Glider||Habitat||Food habits||Picture|
|Description||What you need to know as a pet owner.|
Sample Flyer Foldable: (Picture)
Time: 10 minutes (this activity may be longer depending on the reading and confidence level of the learners- you can use it as a lead-in/warm-up for a follow-up lesson on main idea).
Given a set of research papers (magazine articles) students will identify the healthiest fruit/vegetable to eat.
Ask the students to read 1 article on healthy food.
- Possible Article:
Find the repeated ideas in each paragraph
Find the similarities in the each paragraph- repeating the above procedure.
Identify the main idea.
What is the main idea of the article? Write 2 supporting details from the article you read.
Write your opinion: What is the healthiest food to eat?
Part 3: Supplementary Resources & References
- Charlotte, (n. d.). Retrieved March 24, 2016 from
- Charlotte,(n. d.). Retrieved March 24, 2016 from
- Charlotte,(n. d.). Retrieved March 24, 2016 from
- Unknown, (March 16, 2016). Retrieved March 24, 2016 from
- Unknown, (September 24th, 2012). Retrieved March 24, 2016 from
- Unknown, (January 11, 2015). Retrieved March 24, 2016 from Wikimedia
- Pet drawbacks created by Gliderpedia for A collection of sugar glider knowledge, originally published at http://www.sugarglider.com/gliderpedia/index.asp?PetDrawbacks under a Attribution-Share Alike 2.5 license.
- Drawbacks of Owning A Sugar Glider created by Charlotte for Sanctum Exotic, originallypublished at http://eternalniche.wikidot.com/system:drawbacks-of-owning-a-sugar-glider under a Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 license.
- Sugar Glider Care created by Charlotte for Sanctum Exotic, originallypublished at http://eternalniche.wikidot.com/system:sugar-glider-care under a Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 license.
- What is a Sugar Glider created by Charlotte for Sanctum Exotic, originallypublished at http://eternalniche.wikidot.com/system:what-is-a-sugar-glider under a Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 license.
- Healthy Diet by Wikipedia for The Free Encyclopedia, orginally published at https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Healthy_diet under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike License.
- Petaurus breviceps by and for Wikimedia Commons, originally published at https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Petaurus_breviceps-Cayley.jpg under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike License.
This course content is offered by Designers for Learning under a CC Attribution license.
Content in this course can be considered under this license unless otherwise noted. Page
(Design Guide effective March 29, 2016)