Adventures in Literacy Land: Main Idea

Showing posts with label Main Idea. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Main Idea. Show all posts

Making Meaning of Main Idea

Hello, everyone!  It's Andrea from Reading Toward the Stars with an easy comprehension strategy for your students.

This year our school really needs to work on comprehension strategies to help our students understand what they are reading.  Not skills, but strategies!  Our students didn't score well on the reading or math assessments, so we are working hard to help those students become better readers.  Whatever we were doing before just wasn't working.

As the reading specialist, the teachers tell me what skills their students are lacking, and I work on the skills by giving the kids some strategies.  I love that our district uses Thinking Maps as a strategy to help students understand what they are reading or working through.

This week I have been working with my third grade group on finding the main idea of a fiction story and NOT retelling the story.  This is hard because kids want to tell you every single detail.  We have been reading this book from Mondo Publishing:  Edgar Badger's Balloon Day.

We have been reading chapter by chapter and focusing on the main idea or details.  Today we focused on both.  They read the third chapter of the book titled "The Wrong Day?"

After reading the chapter, we discussed the main idea and only the main idea.  This is tough for students.  They want to tell every.single.detail.  After talking about the main idea, we then listed some, not all, details to back up the main idea.

They wanted to give me every.single.detail again, but I helped them focus on what was important for the main idea.  This strategy helped them out so much, and the thinking map helped them to narrow down what was important information from the book.  Tomorrow, they are going to find the details for the chapter's main idea.  I hope this will help them as they think about what they are reading!

How do you help students focus on the main idea and details and NOT retell the entire story?


Tally it up for Main Idea

Hi everyone! It's Melissa from Don't Let the Teacher Stay Up Late here to share with you again! I don't know about you, but we just got back from Spring Break yesterday and are in full gear preparing for our state tests. This is where our upper grade teachers really start to panic, and the kids can unfortunately become overloaded with test prep and stress from all sides.

Funny Birthday Ecard: If I sprout horns and blow hot steam out of my nostrils, don't be alarmed... State testing has begun. I will return to my normal self in approximately two weeks.

Well, I am sharing a "test prep" tip, but it's one that I think is very simple and can really help your kids a ton! Virginia actually did an analysis of the most missed questions on our state tests, and, no big surprise, Main Idea and Supporting Details appeared a lot.

Many of our teachers have taught the students to "Stop and Jot" or make "Headlines" for each paragraph, which can be effective but also frustrating. I've been working with the students to keep it short and simple if they do it so they don't burn out from writing these long sentences every time. Plus I also teach them to chunk smaller paragraphs. Still, that's not the strategy I'm here to share.

When students reach a main idea question, have them use tally marks to see which choice is discussed most often.

I pulled a passage from ReadWorks, which is a great free site that I highly recommend if you're looking for engaging passages. Have the student read through it once on their own. Then when they reach any question that asks for the main idea or says the words "most", "mostly", or "main"...

The hardest part is getting the students to see relationships when it's not so specific. I would recommend modeling a LOT, then have them work with a partner or group before trying it independently unless you know the passage or question is a little more straightforward.

What other little "tricks" do you teach your kids to help prepare them for tests?