Teaching Students to Identify the Main Idea

This approach is an excellent way to get learners to identify the main idea. This approach can be used during or after a reading selection.

The only materials needed are a blank piece of paper and a pencil or pen, and of course, the learner’s hand!

To begin this process:

o Have each learner trace their hand.

o Ask each learner to write the question words or phrase on the digits of the hand as follows:

o Thumb: Who?

o Pointer: Did what?

o Middle: Where?

o Ring: When?

o Pinky: How?

Explain how the answers to these five questions combine to tell the main idea of the story.

When this is done, they have a visual representation of the main idea, and this can be used as a beginning tool for a writing exercise.

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