How to Teach Main Idea in a Warm-Up
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Best Main Idea (Animated Reading Comprehension)

When we say animated reading comprehension, we’re not talking about cartoons or watching YouTube. We are talking about an animated text that:

  • drives fluency,
  • builds schema,
  • sets a purpose for reading, and
  • scaffolds reading comprehension.

The activity Best Main Idea is an example of animated reading comprehension, and in this post, you’ll find a few tips to make it a highly engaging and successful warm-up activity,

What is Best Main Idea?

Students follow a timed sequence of literacy tasks:

  1. Read Keywords From A Text. The key words are animated and disappear, so they force a reading rate…but it’s not too fast for grades 2-5 “on-level” readers.
  2. Timed Silent Reading. The text is one leveled paragraph from a variety of genres. The text appears and disappears at different reading rates depending on the literacy sequence.
  3. Peer Talk. Students have 20 seconds to recall details from the paragraph.
  4. Comprehension Question. This comprehension question asks students to choose the best main idea. It’s scaffolded by offering only two choices and should easily affirm their understanding.

There is a bonus that comes with the animated comprehension review! There is one task card projectable that asks the main idea. However, the task card is more complex than the animated text, and it stretches into grade level rigor.

Teaching Tips for Best Main Idea

Here are a few teaching tips to help you get the most from the Best Main Idea activities.

1) Prompt Students

The animated texts have sound effects to prompt students when to read and when to speak. However, they are subtle and in most classes, students love to talk!

So it may help to ring your own bell after the talking segment is over and verbally direct students to the question when it appears.

2) Four Corners with Task Card Projectable

After answering the task card (dry erase on the desk, in a notebook, or on an index card), students will walk to the four corners of the room to represent their chosen answer. Each corner is labeled with either an A, B, C, or D.

The best part of this activity is the formative assessment feedback you receive. You can quickly see which answer choices created confusion and give feedback to reteach this.

Here are some other great ways to use the task card projectables.

Main Idea Warm-Ups, No Prep

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I hope you enjoyed the quick overview of Best Main Idea and the teaching tips. If you enjoyed it, I invite you to share with a friend.

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