Ch 6: Analyzing Main Ideas: CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.SL.7.2

About This Chapter

Get your students up to speed on extracting the central themes in written and spoken word with these videos supporting the Common Core standards for listening and speaking. Use the activity suggestions for fun ways to introduce this chapter into the classroom.

Standard: Analyze the main ideas and supporting details presented in diverse media and formats (e.g., visually, quantitatively, orally) and explain how the ideas clarify a topic, text, or issue under study. (CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.SL.7.2)

About This Chapter

Students who have gained proficiency in the skills taught in this chapter will be able to identify and describe the meat of informational material presented in speech and multimedia. They will be able to use that information in support of their own arguments in written and spoken formats. The topics included in this chapter describe:

  • Implied main ideas
  • How to listen for a main point
  • Methods for identifying themes and central ideas
  • Supporting details
  • How to analyze and apply conclusions drawn from research

When your students strengthen these skills they will demonstrate competency as they provide accurate descriptions and notes from audio and visual research materials. They will be able to synthesize the main and supporting details into their unique analysis, making plausible and applicable connections between the source material and their own copy.

How to Use These Lessons in Your Classroom

Here are a few ideas to get you started with using these videos in class.

Homework assignments

Have your students watch each video and complete its short quiz as daily homework. They can practice the very skills described here by taking notes on the content and brainstorming ways they could use it in their journals. Complete the chapter test in class to see how well your students have grasped the key information.

What's the big idea?

After watching the videos, watch or listen to brief speeches given by dignitaries and political representatives. Discuss as a class what message the speaker was trying to get across to the audience and how students would use that information in their own material. Ask whether it would be a positive or negative reinforcement of their own messages.


Various media formats and venues have specific rules on where the main point should be, while others have more freedom in where the author may put it. Discuss where the main point is likely to be found in news articles, opinion pieces, academic works, speeches, and more. Why do the authors and editors place the central ideas where they do? Does the format benefit the reader/listener?

Chapter Practice Exam
Test your knowledge of this chapter with a 30 question practice chapter exam.
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Practice Final Exam
Test your knowledge of the entire course with a 50 question practice final exam.
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