Here you will find a cool collection of free printable main idea graphic organizers that helps students visualize the most important information from a book, video, or spoken word.
When reading, knowing how to find the main idea is crucial to understanding what’s read.
The main idea connects all the key points in a book, helping the reader to make sense of the text and its purpose.
Students need to learn this skill not just for the sake of scoring well on standardized tests but because understanding the main idea is a skill they will utilize in every subject area.
It’s also a life skill in that the ability to write and speak concisely affords students the opportunity to communicate their ideas clearly and quickly without losing engagement from the listener.
This is helpful for many situations in life.
Teaching the main idea is no easy feat.
However, there are resources like main idea graphic organizers that help students to practice this essential skill.
Main idea graphic organizers are helpful tools that help students visualize, organize, and clarify complex information.
They make a great addition to your stash of main idea activities.
Following you will find engaging graphic organizers for teaching the main idea of fiction and nonfiction that will boost students’ reading comprehension.
9 Fantastic Main Idea Activities (With Printables)
Main Idea Graphic Organizers
Following you will find various examples of graphic organizers for finding the main idea.
1. Puzzle Pieces Main Idea Graphic Organizer
This graphic organizer can be used with any text. Students record the main idea at the bottom of the page and then brainstorm one supporting detail for each of the puzzle pieces.
2. Rain Drops Main Idea Graphic Organizer
Using a cloud and raindrop analogy, students write the main idea on the cloud and one detail on each raindrop.
3. Ladybug Main Idea Graphic Organizer
This cute graphic organizer is simple yet effective. Students write the main idea on the ladybug’s head. Then they write one detail on each of her three dots.
4. Ice Cream Sundae Main Idea Graphic Organizer
Students will love this organizer! They write the main idea on the dish, and the details are noted on each of the scoops.
5. Christmas Tree Main Idea Graphic Organizer
Though this is a themed graphic organizer, it can be used all year long! Visually, it helps students with the process of constructing a paragraph.
To use, students write the main idea on the stem/trunk. If they feel there isn’t enough room there, they can write in the space to the right or left of the trunk.
Afterward, they write on each tree layer a detail that support’s the main idea.
6. Butterfly Main Idea Graphic Organizer
The butterfly graphic organizer has space for four details. First, students tell the main idea in the body part of the butterfly.
They then write two details on each wing, a detail on the upper part of the wing and one on the lower part.
7. Concentric Circles Main Idea Graphic Organizer
The concentric circles graphic organizer is very versatile.
It works well for longer text selections since it has space for up to eight supporting details.
- One way to use it is to have students write the main idea in the center of the circle, with the supporting details written around it.
- Another way it functions well is to have students sketch/draw the supporting details.
- You could also provide students with four details and then have them come up with four more plus the main idea.
8. Three-Legged Table Main Idea Graphic Organizer
Learners write the main idea on the top of the table and the details on each of the legs.
9. Hand Main Idea Graphic Organizer
This organizer is great for students learning how to write a summary or practicing the skill of retelling.
First, instruct students to use the 5Ws. They will write, Who?, What?, When?, Where?, and Why? on each finger, respectively.
During and/or after reading, they will note their answers to these questions on the fingers.
Finally, students will write the main idea in the palm of the hand.
10. Rainbow Main Idea Graphic Organizer
On the four clouds, students record one detail each. The main idea is written on the sun.
11. Flower and Petals Main Idea Graphic Organizer
Students write the main idea in the center part of the flower. Then they write one detail on each of the petals.
12. Three Columns Main Idea Graphic Organizer
One of the most common main idea graphic organizers, this one is easy for students to follow. Students write the main idea in the top row and the details in the bottom squares.
This organizer is great for helping students to organize their ideas plus writing drafts during and after reading.
13. Pepperoni Pizza Main Idea Graphic Organizer
Students write the main idea somewhere on the pizza crust. Then they record three details… one detail on each of the pepperoni slices.
14. Watermelon Main Idea Graphic Organizer
Students record one supporting detail on each seed. The main idea is written on the rind.
Teachers have observed that this graphic organizer is well-suited for students with learning disabilities.
15. Triple Scoop Main Idea Graphic Organizer
For the triple scoop graphic organizer, students write the main idea in the cone part and the details on the scoops.
16. Tree Main Idea Graphic Organizer
Students write the main idea on the trunk of the tree and one detail on each of the three treetops.
17. Rows Main Idea Graphic Organizer
This graphic organizer is great for helping students to plan out paragraphs before constructing an essay.
Students first write the topic of what they’re reading and afterward, record the main idea plus supporting details.
Main idea graphic organizers serve to help students structure, visualize, and break down complex topics so that they understand information more easily.
Using these graphic organizers, students will be more engaged in the lesson, and most importantly, their reading comprehension skills will skyrocket.
They will now be able to confidently tackle finding the main idea of any reading passage they encounter.
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