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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 – 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
Main Idea Worksheet 1 | RTF
Main Idea Worksheet 1 | PDF
Main Idea Worksheet 1 | Preview
Main Idea Worksheet 1 | Answer
Main Idea Worksheet 1 | Ereading Worksheet

Main Idea Worksheet 2 – Six more original nonfiction passages for your students to summarize.  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
Main Idea Worksheet 2 | RTF
Main Idea Worksheet 2 | PDF
Main Idea Worksheet 2 | Preview
Main Idea Worksheet 2 | Answers
Main Idea Worksheet 2 | Ereading Worksheet

Main Idea Worksheet 3 – Students practice identifying main ideas while reading exciting passages about robots and robotic technologies. Featuring six robot themed passages. Suggested reading level for this text: Grade 6-10
Main Idea Worksheet 3 | RTF
Main Idea Worksheet 3 | PDF
Main Idea Worksheet 3 | Preview
Main Idea Worksheet 3 | Answers
Main Idea Worksheet 3 | Ereading Worksheet

Main Idea Worksheet 4 – 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
Main Idea Worksheet 4 | RTF
Main Idea Worksheet 4 | PDF
Main Idea Worksheet 4 | Preview
Main Idea Worksheet 4 | Answers
Main Idea Worksheet 4 | Ereading Worksheet

Main Idea Worksheet 5 – 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
Main Idea Worksheet 5 | RTF
Main Idea Worksheet 5 | PDF
Main Idea Worksheet 5 | Preview
Main Idea Worksheet 5 | Answers
Main Idea Worksheet 5 | Ereading Worksheet

Valentine’s Day Main Idea and Text Structure Review 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
Main Idea and Text Structure Review Valentine’s Day Worksheet RTF
Main Idea and Text Structure Review Valentine’s Day Worksheet PDF
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Main Idea Lesson – An animated PowerPoint slideshow explaining what main idea is and how one may go about identifying it.  This concise presentation includes five practice problems after the lesson.
Main Idea Lesson PowerPoint

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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123 Comments

  1. teri

     /  July 27, 2014

    You are awesome. Thanks so much for your time and dedication!!!

    Reply
  2. freddog

     /  March 18, 2014

    Love your work. Thanks!!! Great for my GED students.

    Reply
  3. Rick

     /  January 30, 2014

    Great site. Glad I found it, the resources are great for my struggling 6th grade readers.

    Reply
  4. Your web site is great. It would be really helpful if you could provide some ideas/resources for CCSS RI3 (text connections).
    Thanks

    Reply
  5. Ms. Braswell

     /  December 15, 2013

    Thank you so much for sharing these. As a teacher, I hate reinventing the wheel and the PowerPoint Slide and worksheets are exactly what I needed.

    Reply
  6. Jo Garcia

     /  November 26, 2013

    I love your website Mr. Morton. You made my preparation time a lot easier and shorter.

    Reply
  7. julie

     /  November 3, 2013

    Thank you for creating these worksheets. They are a livesaver with struggling students.

    Reply
  8. Jeanne6

     /  October 25, 2013

    I am curious if you have anything on your site about the types of conflict. I thought I saw it once, but now I can’t seem to find it.
    Thanks.

    Reply
  9. I absolutely love this site. I teach struggling readers and writers in a tiny village off the Bering sea in Alaska. I have shared your site with many teachers in our district. Our students are doing so much better on state exams due to the time and effort you have put in. Thank you!

    8/30/2013

    Reply
  10. Very very valuable worksheets….Thank you ever so much. Introduced authors purpose in the classroom today and the children got hooked immediately!!

    Reply
  11. Nerissa

     /  July 18, 2013

    Hi! Thanks for this wonderful site. God bless you!

    Reply
  12. Susie

     /  June 27, 2013

    Hello Mr. Morton,

    The teachers in my district in NC love your Website!!! We are currently working on creating curriculum maps. Is it ok if your link on our digital map?

    Reply
  13. Mr. Monzali

     /  May 18, 2013

    I’m very glad to visit this pages. It very important. thank you so much!

    Reply
  14. Ms. Campbell

     /  February 25, 2013

    I have been using your worksheets to teach my struggling readers. They have been a lifesaver since my program started and materials were not yet purchased. Thank you!

    Reply
  15. Tom

     /  February 14, 2013

    Superb website! Some blemishes easily fixed:

    1. http://www.ereadingworksheets.com/reading-worksheets/making-inferences-cleaner.pdf (first exercise): CHANGE “Everyday after work…” TO “Every day after work….” “Everyday” is an adjective (everyday event). You mean “each day,” two words. Please fix in the online version also.

    2. http://www.ereadingworksheets.com/reading-worksheets/making-inferences-3.pdf (second exercise, beginning “During the California Gold Rush”): CHANGE “a pound of flower” to “a pound of flour.”

    3. Inference lessons A and B: add the header “Inference.” The general rule: use more labels.

    Loved the site. Great, spot-on material.

    Reply
    • Thanks, Mr. Tom. I must admit that in my haste to produce material, I often neglect to proofread. Your time is appreciated.

      Reply
  16. Debbie

     /  February 5, 2013

    This is excellent! Thank you so much 🙂

    Reply
  17. Mrs. Upshaw

     /  February 1, 2013

    Thank you for this wonderful resource. As I teach a lesson I look for your great handouts to practice and follow-up what I have instructed. Way to Go!

    Reply
  18. Mrs. Dumser

     /  January 25, 2013

    Thank you so much for this website. Everything is valuable! I have used the text structure, point of view, and main idea power points with my classes. They clearly illustrate the ideas and concepts. The worksheets are also great because my students are forced to do complex reading while identifying text structure, point of view, or main idea. Thank you again!!!!!!

    Reply
  19. Yvonne Fields

     /  December 31, 2012

    Thanks a million for letting me use these wroksheets, They are great and I know that my students are going to enjoy them!

    Reply
  20. Laurent

     /  December 10, 2012

    This is a wonderful site. Thank you very much.

    Reply
  21. Liera Narap

     /  December 6, 2012

    Thanks! This is a very useful site. A repertoire of many useful and engaging worksheets and activities. My deepest gratitude. Kudos to you guys…….!

    Reply
  22. Queenie

     /  December 5, 2012

    I love this site. Are the answers for the powerpoint examples available?

    Reply
  23. Greg

     /  November 7, 2012

    I am tutoring a high school student with a variety of skills including reading comprehension…this was a great resource! Thank you!

    Reply
  24. Nancy

     /  November 1, 2012

    I was looking for some fresh ideas on main ideas and I came across this site. I downloaded the powerpoint presentation and will be showing it to my 7th graders, in Puerto Rico next Wednesday. I hope it helps them better visualize how to find the main idea. I’ll let you know how it goes. Thanks!

    Reply
  25. Mrs Cookie

     /  October 13, 2012

    This is a great site. My students look forward to us completing the worksheets in class as well as doing them at home. (surprise to me)

    Reply
  26. noni

     /  October 5, 2012

    thank you Mr.Morton

    Reply
  27. Mrs. Strickler

     /  September 26, 2012

    These have the appropriate rigor to get my 5th graders to mastery. Thank you for all your work!

    Reply
  28. vicki

     /  September 23, 2012

    I just want to thank you for the wonderful powerpoints..

    Reply
  29. Lentha

     /  September 19, 2012

    I remember looking for reading comprehension passages in the past and could not find a lot of practice/exercises/passages on one site. I had to look through many….this is great! Thank you!!

    Reply
  30. Lekiae

     /  September 15, 2012

    Thanks so much for this tool..I can’t express it enough even thru email. These activities are engaging. I can’t wait to utilize this with my middle school kids. Thanks again.

    Reply
  31. Angela

     /  August 10, 2012

    Could I use these worksheets and the PPT for training in India?

    They are very clear and well thought out.

    Reply
    • Absolutely! You can use any of the materials on this site for any noncommercial purpose. No need to ask. Thanks for visiting!

      Reply
  32. Mr. Pakoa

     /  August 6, 2012

    Thanks for your website! Love your worksheets! I’m using them in a school in remote Central Part of Vanuatu {South Pacific}

    Reply
  33. Mrs. Lyons

     /  July 24, 2012

    Thank you so much Mr. Morton for providing these materials. It is very useful for students that need reinforcement in these areas.

    Reply
  34. Linda

     /  June 24, 2012

    Finally- some worksheets that address basic English problems, minus the teddy bears! I teach adults, so I always have to cover up the childish clip art. I REALLY appreciate all the time you have put into making rigorous, interesting worksheets. Now I can spend time with my baby instead of making lessons! God Bless You!

    Reply
  35. Tim Robinson

     /  May 3, 2012

    Thanks for your website! Love your worksheets! I’m using them in a school in remote Northern Canada.

    Reply
  36. This website is helping immensely. Especially since my daughter’s teacher would not provide me with any supplemental work for me to help her at home.

    Reply
  37. jackie

     /  April 16, 2012

    these are wonderful worksheets. do you have work sheets about nouns and ajectives?

    Reply
  38. Bobby

     /  April 6, 2012

    This is a great resource, I bookmarked this page.

    Reply
  39. Quincy

     /  April 1, 2012

    Mr. Morton,
    May I translate these wonderful worksheets into Korean and use them for my class?
    I need worksheets like these badly.

    Reply
  40. Bobbie

     /  February 20, 2012

    These sheets are perfect for practicing for ISAT. Thanks!

    Reply
  41. Vee

     /  February 14, 2012

    Thank you for this wonderful resource!
    God bless you!

    Reply
  42. Vee

     /  February 14, 2012

    Mr. Morton ,
    You are God sent. This is a great site. I love using it for teaching as well as review.

    May God continue to bless you as you share your wisdom!

    Vee

    Reply
  43. Shante

     /  February 13, 2012

    WOW!!!! Great Site. Do you have any Cause & Effect worksheets or Power Points?
    Thank you for your help.

    Reply
  44. Smitha

     /  January 30, 2012

    Thank you so much! These are the perfect length and the main idea is so clear that using it for explanation/training is wonderful. I sure appreciate them being available! The point of view ones are great for older kids with Asperger’s/High functioning Autism.

    Reply
  45. Mrs. Rhine

     /  January 13, 2012

    I discovered your website while searching for ways to review figurative language and main ideas with my students prior to testing. These are wonderful resources and I truly love the site!

    Reply
  46. Trevor

     /  January 12, 2012

    i love it! thanks for such a good site

    Reply
  47. T Warren

     /  January 11, 2012

    Thank You so much for this! These are great for remediation!

    Reply
  48. JESSICKA MORAN

     /  January 7, 2012

    Hi! Very helpful site. Can you tell me what grades these would be for? We need material for our Junior High Students that we tutor.

    Reply
    • I believe that these would be perfect for that age group. In fact, I use these with my middle school students as well.

      Reply
  49. Corrie

     /  November 30, 2011

    Hey! Do you have any answer keys to these particular worksheets? I love this site! So helpful!

    Reply
    • Mr. Morton

       /  December 1, 2011

      Not currently, but I’d love to add some soon. Perhaps over the break.

      Reply
  50. I love links the most! Thank you!

    Reply
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