Main idea is one of the toughest skills for kids to grasp, and we even begin with main idea in first grade! For first graders, we will limit main idea to short sections of text. In fact, with a gradual release model, you can even begin with photographs.
Begin with Discussing the Main Idea of Pictures
Modeling Main Idea with Animals in Winter
Once you’ve discussed a few photos, you can move to modeling with text. For this lesson, I chose the book, Animals in Winter by Henrietta Bancroft. I really liked that this book had a clear topic and four subtopics that I could use to work on main idea in increments. As I read it, we will turn and talk about the details and main idea of each subtopic offering multiple opportunities for learning.