Key Ideas & Details Lesson Plan

Instructor: Sharon Linde

Sharon has an Masters of Science in Mathematics and a Masters in Education

Teach your students how to identify the main idea and supporting details of a passage with this lesson plan. Students practice identifying main idea and details along with the video lesson, then apply concepts to an activity.

Learning Objectives

After this lesson, students will be able to:

  • define the terms 'main/key idea' and 'supporting detail'
  • identify main idea and supporting details in text independently and with guidance


  • 1 hour


  • Copies of classic fairy tales or fables such as The Three Little Pigs and Goldilocks and the Three Bears or short reading passages suited to your students' independent reading levels

Key Vocabulary

  • Main idea
  • Theme
  • Plot
  • Supporting details

Curriculum Standards

  • CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RL.5.2

Determine a theme of a story, drama, or poem from details in the text, including how characters in a story or drama respond to challenges or how the speaker in a poem reflects upon a topic; summarize the text.

  • CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RL.5.10

By the end of the year, read and comprehend literature, including stories, dramas, and poetry, at the high end of the grades 4-5 text complexity band independently and proficiently.


  • Tell students a story about yourself, providing many details as you go. When finished, ask students to try to identify the main point of your story as well as list some details. Discuss how the details helped propel the plot and interest of the story.
  • Now tell students they will be learning how to identify the main idea of a story along with supporting details. Share prior knowledge and pre-teach or preview vocabulary words.
  • Start the video lesson How to Explain the Main Point through Supporting Details.
  • Pause at 1:25. Ask:
    • What is 'main idea?'
    • What is the relationship between main idea, theme, and plot?
    • How do authors relate their main ideas?
  • Restart the lesson and pause again at 2:55 to define terms. Discuss:
    • How do supporting details help identify the main idea?
    • What question should you ask yourself to help identify main idea?
  • Tell students to work alongside the video to identify main idea in the next sections. Restart the lesson and pause when necessary to give students time to participate.
  • Play the Lesson Summary and answer any remaining questions.

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