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Nonfiction: Main Idea Madness

Main idea is so important. Not just because it’s a little skill kids need to answer questions like “What is paragraph 3 mainly about?” because that’s not a very good reason. It’s because, in nonfiction text, if a student can’t identify what’s important, they aren’t determining importance! They’re focusing on what’s interesting rather than important. Interesting is ok when reading for enjoyment, but if we’re reading for information – a vast amount of our adult reading time is spent reading for information – we need to be able to glean what’s important on a large scale.

But it’s hard!

This is a very very simple anchor chart we’ve used with kids to help them think about main ideas. 

I like the “Clues can be in” section because repeated ideas are often very important. There’s a reason why the writer chose to repeat that idea/word/phrase so much. IT’S KIND OF A BIG DEAL! So that can be a big clue. 

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