Main Idea and Supporting Details Activities


A no prep resource teaching the process of identifying the main idea and supporting details with high interest reading passages.

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Are you having a hard time teaching your students how to find main idea of a story, paragraph, or passage? Many students struggle with this skill. They tend to get confused and caught up in all the little details. This reading activity doesn’t just teach main idea, it also provides a step-by-step process for finding supporting details. Students will love engaging with the short reading passages and using the graphic organizers as a guide. After years of trial and error, I have found that this solution works time and time again.


This PRINT & DIGITAL activity includes 20 high-interest nonfiction reading passages! Honestly, the topics will spark the interest of students and encourage active participation and learning. Each nonfiction passage comes with a graphic organizer that is easy to use and makes teaching how to find main idea simple for your students.

Main Idea Activity Scaffolded Approach

When teaching main idea, it’s important to start small and basic. With this resource, you can provide your students with short, easy-to-read paragraphs with an obvious main idea and easy-to-find supporting details to choose from. This strategy helps students get in the habit of focusing on what the text is mostly about. It also allows students to pinpoint key details that support and help describe the main idea. Lastly, the graphic organizers allow students to visualize the process.


This resource is the first in a series of main idea activities. This activity includes main idea found within the first sentence of the paragraph. Additionally, this is the perfect resource for beginners as they learn how to find main idea and supporting details of a non-fiction reading passage.

What’s Included:

  • 20 Printable Nonfiction Reading Passages with Graphic Organizers
  • Google Slides Digital Version
  • Teacher Answer Keys


Spark Learning with these Fun Topics:

  • The Wonders of Water
  • Preventing Cavities
  • The Mystery of the Honey Bee
  • Presidential Pets
  • Super Brain
  • Lost in Time
  • Carnivorous Plants
  • Bubbling Observations
  • Fishy Facts
  • Tourist Attractions
  • Germy Situations
  • Brothers in Flight
  • Pioneer Families
  • Survival Tools
  • Rattling Facts
  • Planet Earth
  • Rocks and Minerals
  • Tiny Parts
  • Test Taking Tips
  • George’s Teeth

Main Idea Activity Options:

  • individual printable worksheets
  • a printable practice packet
  • digital Google Slides assignments
  • a TpT Digital Activity


⭐ The digital version of this resource was created in Google Slides. Each reading passage comes with its own Google link so that you can digitally assign these activities individually to your students.


Ways to Use this Resource:

  • whole group instruction
  • morning work
  • small groups
  • independent desk work
  • assessments
  • early finishers
  • homework
  • sub plans, and so much more!


Depending on how much your students know about finding main idea will depend on how you use these non-fiction reading passages. Third-grade students may need modeling of the activity before completing one on their own. Fourth-grade students should easily be able to find the main idea and supporting details after a brief introduction. Fifth-grade students could use these passages to review third and fourth-grade skills in finding main idea and supporting details.


Teachers like you said…

⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐ My students loved using this resource! Main idea and supporting details is an area of growth for my students, so the extra remediation really helped! This can also be used in independent practice or small groups, which is what I used it for. Great resource especially for review of reading skills before an assessment! Thank you! – Charlene W.


⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐ I used this resource to progress monitor IEP goals for my student’s. This resource was easy for my students to figure out and use. I loved the variety in the texts. The texts were also the perfect length for my students and kept them engaged. We all learned something from each passage and they prompted some great conversations! – Kristan W.


⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐ These passages are high-interest and not too long or wordy. They made for great independent and partner review! The ones I have not assigned will make for a great spiral review later on. Highly recommend! – Hannah C.


⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐ This resource was amazing for my distance learners. It was so neat and organized with the passages on one side and the graphic organizer on the other. My students were able to highlight the main idea and key details using Kami and then write them out on the same worksheet in the bubbles. I would even use this in person too. It was perfect! – Lindsay L.


Main Idea Extension Activity:

RI.4.2 asks students to not only determine the main idea and supporting details but to also summarize the text. Once students have completed the activity, you could have them use their web including the main idea and three supporting details to write a summary of the text.


Bundle and save for a discount!

Purchase the Main Idea and Supporting Details Bundle to get this pack plus 4 more resources that build on the other! Each packet in the bundle gradually gets harder as scaffolded instruction takes place.


Supports Common Core Standards (CCSS):





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