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Main Idea Worksheets

Many students have difficulties identifying main ideas in nonfiction texts.  In order to understand and express the main idea of a passage, the reader must not only comprehend the text but also make connections within the content and find overarching ideas. To further complicate the process, the reader may also have to recognize and disregard nonessential information.  

So while this identifying main ideas may come simply and naturally to good readers, it is actually a two or three step process and struggling readers may trip up on any one of those steps.  If your students need more practice identifying the main idea in a variety of texts, look no further: these main idea worksheets and resources will give your students practice identifying main ideas.



Main Idea Worksheet 1
Here is a double-sided main idea worksheet. Students read seven original nonfiction passages and summarize the main idea of each passage. Also, students must think of a title for each passage that relates to the main idea of the text. Suggested reading level for this text: Grade 6-10.
This is a preview image of Main Idea Worksheet 1. Click on it to enlarge it or view the source file.

Main Idea Worksheet 2
Here is another double-sided main idea worksheet. This worksheet features six more original nonfiction passages for your students to analyze. Students read the passages, disregard nonessential information, express the main idea, and think of a title for each passage related to the main idea. Suggested reading level for this text: Grade 7-11.
This is a preview image of Main Idea Worksheet 2. Click on it to enlarge it or view the source file.

Main Idea Worksheet 3
Here is yet another double-sided main idea worksheet. This one is themed around robots and robotic technologies. Students practice identifying main ideas and coming up with appropriate titles for each passage. Suggested reading level for this text: Grade 6-10
This is a preview image of Main Idea Worksheet 3. Click on it to enlarge it or view the source file.

Main Idea Worksheet 4
Here is one more double-sided main idea worksheet. Students read seven passages about money and systems of exchange. They summarize each paragraph, state the main idea, and think of an appropriate title for the passage. Suggested reading level for this text: Grade 5-9
This is a preview image of Main Idea Worksheet 4. Click on it to enlarge it or view the source file.

Main Idea Worksheet 5
Here's another great activity to help students master main idea. Learn about some of the greatest scientists in human history while reviewing main idea. Read the passages, identify the main idea, and create appropriate titles for each passage. Suggested reading level for this text: Grade 7-11.
This is a preview image of Main Idea Worksheet 5. Click on it to enlarge it or view the source file.

Main Idea & Text Structure Valentine's Day Worksheet
Your students will LOVE working through these six passages, expressing the main idea of each, titling them, and visually representing the text using graphic organizers. Suggested reading level for this text: Grade 6-10.
This is a preview image of Main Idea & Text Structure Valentine's Day Worksheet. Click on it to enlarge it or view the source file.

Common Core State Standards Related to Main Idea

CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RI.4.2 – Determine the main idea of a text and explain how it is supported by key details; summarize the text.

Expand to View All Common Core State Standards Related to Main Idea
ELA Standards: Informational Text

CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RI.1.2 – Identify the main topic and retell key details of a text.

CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RI.2.6 – Identify the main purpose of a text, including what the author wants to answer, explain, or describe.

CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RI.3.2 – Determine the main idea of a text; recount the key details and explain how they support the main idea.

CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RI.4.2 – Determine the main idea of a text and explain how it is supported by key details; summarize the text.

CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RI.5.2 – Determine two or more main ideas of a text and explain how they are supported by key details; summarize the text.

CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RI.6.2 – Determine a central idea of a text and how it is conveyed through particular details; provide a summary of the text distinct from personal opinions or judgments.

CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RI.7.2 – Determine two or more central ideas in a text and analyze their development over the course of the text; provide an objective summary of the text.

CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RI.8.2 – Determine a central idea of a text and analyze its development over the course of the text, including its relationship to supporting ideas; provide an objective summary of the text.

CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RI.9-10.2 – Determine a central idea of a text and analyze its development over the course of the text, including how it emerges and is shaped and refined by specific details; provide an objective summary of the text.

CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RI.11-12.2 – Determine two or more central ideas of a text and analyze their development over the course of the text, including how they interact and build on one another to provide a complex analysis; provide an objective summary of the text.

View Source
Common Core Lesson and Unit Plans
Understanding Common Core State Standards

 

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138 Comments

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     /  September 3, 2020

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     /  May 6, 2020

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     /  February 26, 2020

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     /  November 22, 2019

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     /  October 15, 2019

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     /  June 7, 2019

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     /  February 10, 2019

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  14. Grace

     /  November 26, 2018

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     /  October 22, 2018

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    • The words that you’ve chosen are warm and appreciated. Thank you for using my website and taking the time to comment.

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  24. Christina

     /  February 17, 2017

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     /  December 3, 2016

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     /  April 8, 2016

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  30. Artem

     /  February 25, 2016

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  31. Mrs. Harris

     /  February 21, 2016

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     /  January 23, 2016

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  33. Beverly

     /  January 22, 2016

    Thanks a lot, this website is very helpful for my students who have learning disabilities as it provides worksheets that are grade level and also to those performing below their grade level.

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     /  December 30, 2015

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  35. mohammed

     /  November 29, 2015

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  36. Kat

     /  October 26, 2015

    Thank you bunches for making an awesome website full of great reading skills activities! As a new Reading teacher, this has saved me a lot of time. This will give my Reading students the practice they need.

    Reply
  37. Jill Alvarado

     /  September 28, 2015

    I teach GED classes and these worksheets are so helpful in teaching main idea and supporting details. Any chance that you would make more? I love that they are rigorous and appropriate for adult learners. (i.e. not adorned with kiddo art.)

    Reply
    • Developing this site is one of my lifelong missions. Surely I will add more of these activities and ones like these, so long as I am blessed with the ability to do so. Thank you for visiting and providing feedback. Best wishes!

      Reply
      • Love the site. It is so user friendly. The resources really are free. What a pleasant surprise to know that no one is going to try to offer me resources and then block me from using them. Thank you!

        Reply
  38. Margie Domingo

     /  September 17, 2015

    I feel as though I have found a treasure. I teach Adult ESL in Commerce City, CO and my students have such a need to read small passages like these to gain in their reading skills.

    Reply
  39. Nasser

     /  May 22, 2015

    Mr. Morton

    Thanks for providing such useful worksheets. I a teacher in Afghanistan and teaching summary writing in English.

    Reply
  40. Christy

     /  March 8, 2015

    Since my district threw away our reading currciculum, I have been struggling to find common core teaching materials. Your website has been an amazing resource. I cannot express how grateful I am for your work. Thank you!!

    Reply
  41. Meli

     /  February 4, 2015

    Mr. Morton,
    Is main idea and central idea the same thing? The concept of central idea has caused me much confusion. Thank you in advance!

    Reply
  42. Mr. Ahmed

     /  November 16, 2014

    Thank you very much Mr.Morton very helpful site to improve any age of students I hope the best of this site

    Reply
  43. Rosalie

     /  November 3, 2014

    Love this site. Wish there was more for 5th grade

    Reply
  44. Maria Johnson

     /  October 12, 2014

    This website has been a Blessing. I work in a large urban city and the district did not give adequate resources to support the Common Core Curriculum. I have been using these resources on a weekly basis. I am so grateful to you for creating this site.
    God Bless You!

    Reply
  45. Teisa

     /  October 5, 2014

    I love this website please make more (I love love love love love this website. your very sepical

    Reply
  46. Dee

     /  September 29, 2014

    Love your work. Been using the lessons and worksheets to prepare my daughter for common core. I was looking for lessons and worksheets on your website that relate to this common core objective. Any ideas?

    CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RI.7.8
    Trace and evaluate the argument and specific claims in a text, assessing whether the reasoning is sound and the evidence is relevant and sufficient to support the claims.

    Reply

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