Title of Intervention: Main Idea Map
Purpose: The purpose of the main idea map is to teach students to use a graphic
organizer containing the main ideas of an expository passage in order to increase free
recall of the passages and to increase passage comprehension.
Age/Grade Level: This intervention has support for middle grades, 6-8.
Format: Check all that apply
Individual Small Group
Dyads Whole Class
1. Overhead transparencies of practice passages
2. Transparencey markers
3. Student copies of practice text
4. Main idea graphic organizer or blank sheet of paper
Frequency / Duration: One to three full instructional sessions for introducing and
practicing the concept during the first week and then use 2-3 times a week for a
specified amount of time.
1. Introduce the strategy by telling students you can draw pictures or main idea
maps that help us understand how the ideas of a passage fit together. Present
the following steps.
a. Locating the main ideas of paragraphs. Read through a short practice
paragraph with the class.
b. On a blank overhead begin building a graphic organizer by writing the
title of the passage in the center.
c. Draw a box aound the title.
d. Tell the students some paragraphs have summary sentences that state
the main idea of the paragraph and others have implied main ideas,
which the reader must figure out, based on the key facts or ideas they
e. Go through each paragraph in the practice passage and identify the
paragraph's main idea. Demonstrate how to summarize the main idea in
a single, succinct phrase.
2. Build the main idea graphic organizer. As you summarize each paragraph's main
idea, write the number of the paragraph and the main idea summary phrase on
the graphic organizer.
3. Add key facts.
a. When you have written the main idea for all the paragraphs onto the
graphic organizer, return to the passage.
b. For each paragraph, pull out 2-3 important facts, ideas, or supporting
details. On the graphic organizer, write these key pieces of additional
information under the main ideas phrase for each paragraph.
c. Then draw a box around the main idea and supporting details and move
on to the next paragraph.
4. Practice using the graphic organizer as a sudy tool. Demonstrate how the
completed graphic organizer can be a useful method to summarize and review
the content of expository passages. Give the students new practice passages and
have them create their own graphic organizers. Provide feedback and
encouragement as necessary.
Data Collection: Reading comprehension can be measured through informal reading
inventories, CBM probes, or standardized diagnostic reading achievement tests.
Berkowitz, S.J. (1986). Effects of instruction in text organization in sixth
Grade students’ memory for expository reading. Reading Research
Quarterly, 21, 161-178.
Compiled by: Lisa Klesch
Attached Documents: Main Idea Map