• CC-Basics



  • Identify the stated main idea

  • Gain information from textbooks and other educational material

Key Concept

  • Textbooks and other educational materials are instructional texts used in language arts, mathematics, science, social studies, and other fields of study.


Tier 2 Details
Main Idea
Tier 3 Survey
Topic Sentence
Test Words Classify

Writing Practice

  • Summarize Text

  • Analyze Visual Information

  • Critique Visuals

Before Lesson

Students have learned that informative texts contain facts and details. Ask students how these texts are organized. Offer suggestions, such as sequential organization. Explain that reading materials such as books, magazines, and newspapers usually have features, sections, and a table of contents. Explain what each of these elements are and have students find examples in classroom books.


Show students a classroom textbook and open it. Explain that textbooks include specific text features meant to guide students as they read. Using the textbook as a model, point out how the writers include titles and headings and how vocabulary words are set in boldface type as a guide for readers. Ask: How might reading a textbook without these features affect your learning? (Sample answer: I would have a harder time following the text.)

Guided Practice

  • Educational Materials

Core Skill

Summarize Text: Explain that summarizing requires understanding the main idea and the most important details of a piece of writing. Read the selection on page 88 with students. Have them point out the headings and the caption. Tell them to underline the topic sentence in each paragraph. After students write the main idea and summary in their notebooks, have them share their work in small groups and choose the work that best summarizes the selection.

Analyze Visual Information: Tell students that visual information is another way for writers to explain information. Point to the photo of hieroglyphics. Then ask students what its purpose is (showing an example of a writing system that the text describes). Read the table with students. Model reading across the rows and down the columns. After students have completed the assignment in their notebooks, have them explain to a partner what inventions and concepts are.


Read a Chart: Tell students that charts and tables hold information in an organized way. Have students look again at the chart on page 89. Have pairs of students create their own tables about a favorite topic, such as movies they like and dislike, places they would like or not like to visit, and so on.

Critique Visuals: Have pairs of students choose a chapter from a textbook and critique the visual elements. They should explain to the class why they think the sidebars, images, graphs, and so on are or are not effective. Have student pairs create their own visual element that they think would enhance the chapter.

Lesson Review

21st Century Skill: Global Awareness: If some students have not used a search engine, show them how to do so. Then pair them with students who have previously used search engines to research for an Internet newspaper article. After students have completed the assignment in their notebooks, have them read their main ideas aloud to the class.