Activities to Teach Students to Combine Main Ideas From Two Texts

In today’s world, being able to read and synthesize information from multiple sources is a crucial skill. This is especially true for students since they need to be able to research and understand complex topics across various subjects. To help students learn this skill, there are several activities you can use in the classroom to teach them how to combine main ideas from two texts.

1. Text Comparison Chart

One of the most straightforward and efficient ways to teach students how to combine main ideas from two texts is through a text comparison chart. With this activity, you will create a chart with two columns for each text. Then, you will ask your students to read both texts and identify the main ideas in each. They will write each main idea in the appropriate column. Finally, they can compare the two columns to identify any similarities or differences between the two texts’ main ideas. This activity helps students visualize and prioritize information.

2. Collaborative Mind Map

Another engaging activity to teach students how to combine main ideas from two texts is a collaborative mind map. Students will work in groups of three or four to create a visual representation of how the texts’ main ideas relate to each other. Each student will read one of the texts and contribute main ideas to the group mind map. Once all students have contributed their main ideas, the group can discuss how they connect and overlap. This activity encourages collaboration, critical thinking, and provides a concrete tool to reference when it comes to organizing multiple ideas.

3. Summarizing

Summarizing is a skill that involves identifying the most important ideas in a text and stating them concisely. By combining summarizing with two texts, students effectively synthesize shared concepts. For this activity, you will ask your students to read both texts and create a summary that incorporates the essential points from each text. They can work either independently or collaboratively to arrive at a comprehensive summary. Students can then evaluate the accuracy of their summaries and discuss anything they may have missed or identified differently.

4. Venn Diagram

Another tangible activity to help students learn how to combine main ideas from two texts is by using a Venn Diagram that shows overlapping ideas. A Venn diagram is a graphic organizer that uses two overlapping circles to compare two sets of data. For this activity, students will read both texts, identify the main ideas of each, and place them in the appropriate circle of the Venn Diagram. Then, they will examine where the circles overlap and combine the main ideas into a single concept. This activity emphasizes how the two main ideas might converge or how they might differ.


In conclusion, there are several activities teachers can use to help students combine main ideas from two texts. These activities improve students’ ability to synthesize information and to think critically, both essential lifelong skills for adulthood. By using different exercises to access essential concepts across multiple texts, teachers can equip their students with the tools needed to succeed in research, report writing, and analytical thinking. Finally, the potential for group or collaborative work allows students to learn and share from one another and encourages a sense of community in the classroom.    

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