Oh, the Things We Can Learn!
Emily Borders

Reading to Learn

Once students reach a certain age, they begin to read to learn new information.  In order to learn from reading, they should be able to pick out the main ideas in text.  This lesson is designed to give students practice picking out main ideas in expository text.  With the aid of a graphic organizer, they will read a passage and record the main ideas and supporting details.

overhead, main idea graphic organizer transparency, markers, main idea graphic organizer for each student, copy of nonfiction passage for each student (in this lesson, I used Scholastic News.), nonfiction passage for teacher example.

1. Today we are going to be reading nonfiction passages .  In order to get the information you need out of the passage, you should be able to pick out the main ideas.

2.  First, I want us to read the passage together.  The passage is called, "The  Longest Flight."  How long do you think it would take to fly in an airplane all the way around the world?  (Let students guess). Well, Mr. Fossett was the first person in the U.S. to do this!  Let's read and find out about the trip!  (Teacher will place passage on overhead and students will take turns reading until the end). 

3.  Great job reading!  Ok, first, we need to decide the topic of the passage.  After reading this passage, asked myself what the overall point of the passage is.  I decided that the story is about a man who flew around the world in a plane.  I didn't really need to focus on all of the details yet, just the topic.  DO you all agree?  Great!  (Fill in graphic organizer).

4.  Next, we need to pick out 3 main ideas and the supporting details.  When I started reading, I began looking for important main ideas about the topic.  (Read story aloud until the end of 2nd paragraph).  I think I know what the first main idea is!  Steve Fossett became the first person to circle the world in a plane.  Does everyone agree?  Now we can fill in the smaller details.  I think we should add that the trip totaled 23,000 miles!  That is not a main idea, but still an important detail.  (Fill in graphic organizer).

5.  Can anyone raise their hand and tell me another main idea?  (Hopefully, the students will figure out that there are 2 more main ideas.  1.)  Fossett began his quest in 2002 when he circled the world in a hot air balloon.  2.)  He made the trip in a Virgin Atlantic Global Flyer).  Great Job picking out main ideas!  Now, let's fill in those smaller details!  Any ideas about the details for our 2nd main idea?  (He and his crew took 58 days to complete the trip).  Good.  Now for the detail about the 3rd main idea?  (He thought he might run out of gas, but caught a tailwind).  Good job!  (Fill in graphic organizer).

6.  Give each student a copy of the graphic organizer (see link below), and Scholastic News passage "Millions Mourn."  Introduce the passage:  Has everyone been watching the news over the past few weeks?  If so, then you know that the Pope passed away.  His funeral was the largest gathering in decades!  Read this passage and find out about the ceremony.  Instruct students to read silently, and then fill in their graphic organizers with the topic, main ideas, and supporting details.

7.  Collect student work for assessment.  Provide extra help and practice to those who did not grasp the concept.






Click here to return to Connections