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Lesson Plan: Main Idea - Seals

Subject:  ELA- Reading

Grade: 4

Lesson Objective: To identify the main idea and the supporting details in a text about seals and to write a summary of that text

Common Core Standard:  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.




  • How do you know what you are reading about when you are reading an informational text?  (Allow the students to answer.)



  • One of the ways that you can figure out what you are reading about is by looking at the title, especially when you are reading an informational or nonfiction text.
  • If the title is, “All About Alligators,” what do you think you will be reading about?  (Allow the students to answer.)
  • The sentences that you read will then be about the topic that the title states.  Key details give us information about the topic.
  • If you were reading about alligators, some of the key details might be about where they live, what they eat and how many babies they have.
  • Raise your hand if you know what a summary is.  (Allow the students to answer.)
  • A summary is a few sentences that explain what the main idea and the key details of a text are.
  • For example, a summary about the alligator text would be, “Alligators are large reptiles that live in fresh water.  They eat fish, turtles and birds.  Alligators lay 20-50 eggs at one time.  They use their tail to move themselves through water.”
  • When writing a summary, you write the main idea and a few key details so that someone who hasn’t read the same text that you have would know what it was about.
  • Now, you are going to be reading about seals.  You will find the main idea and key details.  You will also be writing a summary of what you read.
  • Does anyone have any questions?



  • Who would like to share your answers?  (Allow the students to share and go over the answers.)

Written by Kimberly Greacen, Education World® Contributing Writer

Kimberly is an educator with extensive experience in curriculum writing and developing instructional materials to align with Common Core State Standards and Bloom's Taxonomy.

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