I am a stickler for making sure that students understand what questions are asking them to do. When I work with students across grade levels, I spend part of the time on question comprehension. Understanding what a question is asking one to do is the first step. There are several ways to word a main idea question. These are the most common formats and also the ones that can be tricky for students.
I begin the unit with main idea manipulatives to help students conceptualize what main idea means. I use several manipulatives that I create using bean bags, puzzles, etc. After years of seeing so many math counters, fraction circles, etc., I started developing my own reading comprehension skill manipulatives. I have only posted main idea manipulatives so far and will soon be posting other skills. Click Here for Main Idea Manipulatives
As students read, they have to highlight information in the text that helps them to identify the main idea of a text.
To reinforce main idea and other Common Core reading skills, students complete quick, daily Common Core practice. I developed very short paragraphs with two Common Core questions for daily five minute review when students first enter the classroom. I have always used bell ringers and the math problem of the day I could not find anything like that for comprehension to keep skills sharp so I created my own for the different grade levels that I see daily.Click Here for Daily Common Core Reading Practice
When students rotate to their learning centers, they do main idea task cards. Since I work with so many grade levels and students vary in ability levels, I made differentiated task cards to cover all bases.Click Here for Differentiated Main Idea Task Cards