Main Idea and Supporting Details

This week in my classroom I’m going to be teaching my students to find the main idea and supporting details of a paragraph. I have to say….. this is one of my FAVORITE units! We spend a few weeks on the skill, but we continuously go back to it throughout the year.

This year, I’m starting with a powerpoint presentation. Students will learn and then do some practice on their slates. Main Idea and Details PowerPoint Presentation

After learning…. we’re going to sing a fun song that I found on Youtube… It’s called The Ultimate Main Idea Song  

Then, on day two we’re going to complete MAIN IDEA BAGS… my students always love this activity! It gets them up and moving, and it also introduces finding the main idea. They basically go around the room, look in four different bags, list the items, and determine the main idea. If you’ve never done this activity before, my tip is to have three different bags with the same items/numbers. I just tell partners go to the bag that is the least busy.

Main Idea Bags

Main Idea Bags

On day three, we’re going to play a fun class match up game. If you can’t tell, I love anything that gets my students up, moving, talking, learning from each other. Anyway… everyone in the class gets a detail card. Students match their detail to the correct main idea and write it on their recording sheet. Next, they travel around the classroom to find friends with different detail cards. When they find a new detail that supports the main idea, they write the detail in one of their boxes.

Main Idea and Detail Class Game

On day 4 we’re going to do the exact same activity but with two different main ideas and six different details floating around the classroom.

Main Idea and Detail Game

Day 5 will be a fun sort it out activity! I usually let my students complete this activity with partners. Basically, they cut out the word cards and classify the cards into four groups. (colors, clothes, insects, food). Students then give each group a title (main idea) and glue the correct cards under each flap.

Main Idea and Detail Sort


Day 6 is a partner match up game! Every student gets a main idea or detail card. Students must read their card and then go around the room to find their match. Every main idea will match up with a detail. (I usually print the main ideas on one color and the details on other to make it less confusing.) After students find their partner, they glue their card on their paper and write their partner’s sentence in the correct space. Last, partners work together to add two more supporting details.

Main Idea and Details Partner Game

Main Idea and Detail Partner Game

These activities include everything I have planned for whole group lessons… but I will be doing some smaller paragraphs/passages in reading groups. Get ready for a picture overload… I’m going to show you examples of everything included in this unit…

Main Idea and Detail Worksheets

Within this unit I included a gear up section… It is for those of you who have above level students. It gives students the opportunity to read a multi-paragraph text, discover the topic of the passage, find the focus of each paragraph, and then find the details that support the focus of the paragraph.

Main Idea and Detail Passage

As another option, I have included the passages without paragraphs. For this option, students work with partners or in their guided reading groups to read the passage and determine where each paragraph should begin and end. Teaching Main Idea and DetailsAnd… last but not least, I included three different crafts and a quick assessment! Sometimes I like to pull this unit out throughout the year and do different crafts with it! This year, I plan to let my guided reading groups work together and pick their craft!

Main Idea and Detail Craft

There you have it… EVERYTHING that I will be using to teach MAIN IDEA and SUPPORTING DETAILS!!!! You can find the unit by clicking on any of the pictures!


Have a great week!




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I’m a mom, wife, first grade teacher, and curriculum designer. I love teaching and I also enjoy creating resources that engage and inspire our little learners. My goal is to save you time while providing researched based, high quality, engaging lessons and activities that can be adapted to meet the needs of ALL students. I hope you’ll stay for a while. I’m so glad you’re here.