Today I wanted to share a few strategies and supports that have worked for me when teaching  main idea in my special education classroom over the years.
MAIN IDEA is  finding the information that tells what the entire text or picture is about. It is the message or the point the author of the materials wants to convey.
When teaching main idea I use key words such as WHO and WHAT plus using ideas such what is the BIG IDEA of this story.

Being able to determine the main idea is one of the basic concepts of reading.
Being able to determine the main point of what read extends into almost every other subject we learn.

Picture Main Idea
Start at the picture level. Use an easy to understand pictures from magazines, photos, picture books or comic book.  These can be  extremely useful for main idea especially for those having difficulty with the concept.  When working with materials at the picture stage, be sure and include the use of key phrases to prompt the correct answer such as What is happening in this picture?  What is the boy/girl doing? Pictures depicting things familiar to the student are particularly  helpful at this stage such as the one below.

This picture doesn't contain distracting  details such as other people or even other equipment on the playground.
In my store - you will find 2 products regarding main idea. One is at the picture stage and one is at the picture/sentence stage.

Pictures and Word Sequencing
Once the student is successful at main idea in  pictures, try incorporating words that correspond with the pictures. Using a very basic sentence that tells only basic information about the picture give an easy sentence for the student to read and then then tell what is happening in the picture.

As the students skill increases, the sentences can be augmented to include more details.


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