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Reintroduce: Identifying Details

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Lesson Type: Reintroduce
Grade: K, 1, 2, 3
Group Size: Small Group, Large Group, Whole Class
Length: 15 minutes
Goal: Given a book, students will be able to identify important details and use them to summarize it.

Materials: A nonfiction book to read out loud, chart paper or board, copies of the Main Idea/Detail graphic organizer (print here) for each student

What to Do


Choose a book that appeals to early readers. Make copies of the Main Idea/Detail graphic organizer for each student. Make a large version of the Main Idea/Detail graphic organizer on the board or chart paper.


1. Review what supporting details are and why it is important to identify them.

Who can remember what identifying supporting details means?

2. Record students’ answers on the chart paper or board and clarify the term’s meaning as necessary.

Identifying supporting details means finding the important ideas that give information about the main idea.

3. Explain why identifying supporting details is useful to readers.

Good readers are able to locate important details when they are reading. They think about what information is most important. They use important details from the book to help figure out the main idea.

4. Show the cover of the book.

Today we will be reading _________________________ by __________________. Without talking, think for a minute about what you think this book is about.

5. Direct students to the large copy of the Main Idea/Detail graphic organizer.

We are going to write down three important details from the book on this sheet. Then, we are going to use those details to write a short summary of the book.

6. Read the book, stopping at an important detail.

In the first box, we will write down an important detail.

Call on students and record their answers on the chart that you’ve drawn on the board or chart paper.


7. Direct students to their copies of the Main Idea/Detail graphic organizer.

You are going to write down two more important details in the boxes on your sheets.

While I read the book, listen carefully for important details. By writing important details, you are focusing on what the book is about. I will pause to give you time to write down the important details.

8. Read the book, pausing to allow students to write down important details on their graphic organizers.

9. Write a summary.

You can use the details to write a short summary of the book. Thinking about the important details that you wrote down, write a one-sentence summary at the bottom of the page.

10. Ask students to turn to partners to share their summaries.

Now we will share with a partner. Turn to a partner and take turns telling your partner the summary that you wrote and the details you used to help you write your summary.

11. Hold a class discussion about how identifying important details aids comprehension.


For Advanced Students:

Ask these students to identify more than three details and explain why each is important.

For Struggling Students:

Some students may struggle with using important details to help them write a summary. In this case, have these students concentrate on identifying details and do not make them summarize, since summary is not the focus of this lesson. Ask questions like the following:

What is something interesting from this book? What information supports the main idea? What is the most important information in this book? What did you learn from this book?

For ELL Students:

Before reading the book, explain the meaning of any key vocabulary or concepts. Focus their attention on finding three important details by using the questions above. Provide answers to the questions if necessary.

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