3rd Grade - Finding The Main Idea

 
     
 
     
 
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3rd
Reading and Comprehension
Finding the main idea
Distinguish the main idea and supporting details in expository text.
The ability to read and decode words. The ability to identify a main idea and its matching supporting details.
 

Sample Problems

(1)

What is a main idea? A main idea tells what the paragraph will be about.

(2)

What are supporting details? The supporting details focus on the main idea.

(3)

Does that main idea match those supporting details?

(4)

Do those supporting details match that main idea?

(5)

How can I come up with a main idea to match those supporting details? How can I come up with details that support the main idea?

Learning Tips

(1)

Have your child read simple nonfiction texts and discuss the main ideas and supporting details within paragraphs in the text.

(2)

Talk to your child in a focused conversation to get practice with main idea. Throw in a detail that does not make sense with what you were talking about and see if your child notices naturally. If they don’t point it out to them.

(3)

Have your child read daily and have them write just a couple of main ideas about what they read. It is usually easier for students to come up with supporting details than to come up with a main idea.

(4)

Have your child talk to you while keeping a focus. Give them the focus such as my favorite sport and ask them to stick to the topic.

(5)

Oftentimes students are assigned research reports that can be done at home. Provide a visual organizer for your child so they can see how they’re paper will be organized. For example, if the topic is on an animal break up the sections into habitat, diet, and life cycle. Have an index card for each section and have your child record notes on each card so that they can see that these are separate main idea and supporting details.

Extra Help Problems

(1)

A paragraph in a book begins with, “Cheetahs are one of the fastest runners”. What would be a good supporting detail to match this main idea?

(2)

Only one sentence is the main idea for the rest of the sentences. A) Babies usually learn to walk on average at 11 months. B) They also learn to crawl at 7-9 months. C) Babies can hold up their heads at about 3 months. D) Babies learn many things their first year of life. Circle the main idea.

(3)

The main idea of a paragraph is, “Birds are one of the smartest animals”. One of the following is not a supporting sentence. A) Some birds can actually repeat words their owners’ words. B) Birds can communicate with other birds. C) Baby birds cannot fly when they are born. Which sentence does not support the main idea?

(4)

Fill in the main idea for the following paragraph. ____________________________________________ Cactus are able to store water so they can survive without rain in the desert. Camels also keep water in their humps so that they live without water for months. Living without water can be tough on some of us, but some animals and plants have adapted to this way of life in the desert.

(5)

The following is an outline for a paragraph. Only the main idea is given, you fill in three supporting details.

  1. Birthday parties are fun!

1.

2.

3.

(6)

The following is an outline for a paragraph. Only three supporting details are given, you fill in the main idea..

  1. _______________________________________________________

1. First, we went in the water.

2. Then, we made a sand castle.

3.Finally, we sat under the umbrella and had lunch.

(7)

A paragraph in a book begins with, “I had a bad day at school!”. What would be a good supporting detail to match this main idea?

(8)

Only one sentence is the main idea for the rest of the sentences. A) We had a fun day at the park. B) First we went on the swings. C) Then we played tag. D) We also went down the slide. Circle the main idea.

(9)

The main idea of a paragraph is, “I baked cookies with mom today”. One of the following is not a supporting sentence. A) I learned to swim when I was three. B) I helped mom measure the ingredients. C) My favorite part was licking the left over cookie dough from the bowl! Which sentence does not support the main idea?

(10)

Fill in the main idea for the following paragraph. ____________________________________________ First we bought popcorn before we entered the theatre. Then we found good seats and watched the previews. Finally the movie started and we watched.

(11)

The following is an outline for a paragraph. Only the main idea is given, you fill in three supporting details.

  1. Exercise is good for you.

1.

2.

3.

(12)

The following is an outline for a paragraph. Only three supporting details are given, you fill in the main idea..

  1. _______________________________________________________

1. Too much candy can give you cavities.

2. Cupcakes and cookies are high in fat.

3. If you eat too much junk food, your body will not get the nutrition it needs.

(13)

A paragraph in a book begins with, “My mom is the best!”. What would be a good supporting detail to match this main idea?

(14)

Only one sentence is the main idea for the rest of the sentences. A) Fruits are a healthy snack. B) They are low in fat and calories. C) They contain many essential nutrients. D) In addition, fruits are part of a balanced diet. Circle the main idea.

(15)

The main idea of a paragraph is, “Playing sports are a good way to get exercise”. One of the following is not a supporting sentence. A) Most sports require some sort of movement. B) My favorite sport is baseball. C) They also burn a lot of calories. Which sentence does not support the main idea?

(16)

Fill in the main idea for the following paragraph. ____________________________________________ It tastes really good! My mom says yogurt is good for me. If I could have yogurt as much as I wanted, I would be one happy kid!

(17)

The following is an outline for a paragraph. Only the main idea is given, you fill in three supporting details.

  1. My favorite game is hide and seek.

1.

2.

3.

(18)

The following is an outline for a paragraph. Only three supporting details are given, you fill in the main idea..

__A. _____________________________________________________

1. I like to type on the computer.

2. I can also the computer to do research for a report.

3. I also like computers because I can play computer games.

(19)

What is a main idea?

(20)

What are supporting details?

(21)

Write a paragraph on the following topics. Make sure your paragraph has a main idea and supporting details.


your favorite sport

(22)

your favorite holiday

(23)

your favorite place

(24)

your proudest moment

(25)

your favorite subject in school

 

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