What is a main idea? How do we
find the main idea?
What is the main idea?
What the text is mainly about
Overall topic of a story/piece of writing
Mostly about, sums up, most likely,
main theme, best tells, main
purpose, another title; who, what,
where, when, why, how
Where is the main idea
The main idea can be found
ANYWHERE in a story.
Title, Subheadings, First or Last
Sentence, or a summary after you have
There is not one specific place to find
the main idea.
How can we find the main
Look for supporting details
Summarize after every paragraph
Look at cues and clues in the text such as
Pick out the most important and most
commonly used details
Supporting details: part of the text that support the
main idea and make the text interesting
Why do we find main ideas?
Important skill to have to become a
fluent and strong reader
Helps us understand and break down
Tells us what is most important
Details versus Main Idea
While one team bats, the other team
If the batter crosses home plate, a run
is scored. (detail)
Baseball is an exciting game played in
the United States and other countries
around the world. (main idea)
The team with the most runs at the end
of the game wins. (detail)
At age 15, Christopher Columbus left home to
work on trading ships sailing on the
Mediterranean Sea. During these voyages, he
improved his sailing skills. He learned how to
navigate by studying the height of the North Star
at night and the position of the sun at noon. He
learned how to use a compass. By watching
birds, fish, driftwood and the color of the water,
Columbus could tell where he was. The sea had
much to teach him.
What is the main idea in the
Do It Yourself!
The Navajo Indians were a very
interesting tribe to learn and study
about. The things that interested me the
most were their simple lifestyle. They
had no electricity, running water, or
indoor plumbing. Life couldn't get much
simpler than this!
Navajo Indians lived in houses called
hogans. These houses were made of
mud, wooden poles, and tree bark.
Many Navajo today still live in hogans.
Navajo Indians wore shoes called
moccasins to protect their feet from the
hot, desert ground and cactus. They
were made from leather or rawhide.
The Pueblo Indians taught the Navajo
many skills. They taught them to plant
crops, such as melon, corn, beans, and
squash. This is why the Navajo were
referred to as farmers, sheep herders,
and laborers. Other skills of the Navajo
are sand paintings, jewelry making, and