Main Idea (Grades 1-2)


With our Main Ideas lesson plan, students learn what a main idea is, how to identify them, and why they are important in a text. Students will practice identifying the main idea and supporting ideas in a text. This lesson is for students in the 1st grade and 2nd grade.

This lesson includes a very detailed, step-by-step lesson plan and outlines what parts of the lesson can be taught on which day. You can find these suggestions in the “Options for Lesson” section on the first Classroom Procedure page.

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What our Main Idea (Grades 1-2) lesson plan includes

Lesson Objectives and Overview: Main Idea for grades 1-2 introduces young students to the concept of main ideas, how to identify them, and why they are important to understand. At the end of the lesson, students will be able to correctly identify the main idea of informational and literary texts. Students will also be able to explain how details support the identification of the main idea.

Classroom Procedure

Every lesson plan provides you with a classroom procedure page that outlines a step-by-step guide to follow. You do not have to follow the guide exactly. The guide helps you organize the lesson and details when to hand out worksheets. It also lists information in the green box that you might find useful. You will find the lesson objectives, state standards, and number of class sessions the lesson should take to complete in this area. In addition, it describes the supplies you will need as well as what and how you need to prepare beforehand.

The supplies you will need for this lesson are chart paper or poster board, tape, art supplies, markers, a whiteboard, dry erase markers, the handouts, paper, and writing utensils. To prepare for this lesson ahead of time, you can copy the handouts, gather the supplies, prepare visual aids, and make sure students have access to shorts texts to use during the lesson.

Options for Lesson

Included with this lesson is an “Options for Lesson” section that lists a number of suggestions for activities to add to the lesson or substitutions for the ones already in the lesson. The suggestions for this lesson provide a guide for which parts of the lesson you can administer on which of the four days scheduled for the lesson. For example, for day one, it suggests having students learn the general concept of a main idea and practice identifying the main idea and supporting details as a group.

Teacher Notes

The teacher notes page includes a paragraph with additional guidelines and things to think about as you begin to plan your lesson. It notes that learning to identify the main idea is an important skill for students, as standardized tests place a lot of importance on this skill. It’s also useful for students to be able to refocus on the main ideas while reading and writing. This page also includes lines that you can use to add your own notes as you’re preparing for this lesson.


The Main Idea (Grades 1-2) lesson plan does not include any content pages. Rather, it provides a very detailed lesson plan, found on the three Classroom Procedure pages.


The Main Idea (Grades 1-2) lesson plan includes four worksheets: two activity worksheets, a practice worksheet, and a homework assignment. You can refer to the guide on the classroom procedure page to determine when to hand out each worksheet.


For this activity, students will read a short passage, complete the provided chart, and answer questions about the text. The chart is intended to help students identify the main idea of the passage. Students should fill out the first part of the chart before reading. They will read the title and use just the title to guess what the passage might be about. During reading, they should fill out the second part of the chart, which asks students whether the text is fiction or nonfiction, and directs them to look for any repeated words or phrases. After reading, they should fill out the final part of the chart. Students will ask themselves what the story was mostly about and what details support one major idea. They must then identify the main idea and three supporting details.


The second activity worksheet asks students to read another passage and complete the same chart that they completed for the first worksheet. They must also, again, identify the main idea and three supporting details.


For the practice worksheet, students will complete the same reading chart and answer the same questions as both activity worksheets. However, they will be able to choose their own passage to analyze.


The homework assignment asks students to read a longer passage and answer two questions about it. They must identify the main idea of the passage and list three supporting details that prove that they have identified the main idea.

Worksheet Answer Keys

This lesson plan includes answer keys for the two activity worksheets, the practice worksheet, and the homework assignment. The answer key for the practice worksheet notes that students’ answers will vary based on their reading selection. If you choose to administer the lesson pages to your students via PDF, you will need to save a new file that omits these pages. Otherwise, you can simply print out the applicable pages and keep these as reference for yourself when grading assignments.

Additional information


1st Grade, 2nd Grade


Reading, Video

State Educational Standards


Lessons are aligned to meet the education objectives and goals of most states. For more information on your state objectives, contact your local Board of Education or Department of Education in your state.

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Lucinda R.

Main Idea

The quality of this resource was superb! The lesson plans were very detailed and the resources perfect for my students. I am very excited about using other resources in the future.

elder a.

Great resources

This helpled with the difficulties i faced trying to get my grade ones to learn about main idea