Lessons & Units :: Main Idea 2nd Grade Unit

Lesson 1: Using Headings to Determine the Main Idea (Nonfiction)

Lesson Plan

The Shark: Silent Hunter | 890L

The Shark: Silent Hunter
Learning Goal
Identify and describe the main idea of a nonfiction text using section headings and textual details.
Approximately 50 minutes
Necessary Materials
Provided: Direct Teaching Example Chart, Independent Practice Worksheet
Not Provided: The Shark: Silent Hunter by Renée Le Bloas-Julienne, chart paper, markers, copies of sections of The Shark or other nonfiction books from classroom or school library
  • Teacher Modeling

    will discuss how headings in nonfiction can help us determine the main idea of that section of the book. I will choose a section in The Shark: Silent Hunter by Renée Le Bloas-Julienne. I will read the heading and think aloud about what the main idea of this section is. I will read the section and identify the main details in the text. I will use those details and the section heading to determine the main idea of the section. (See Direct Teaching Example Chart provided in Teacher and Student Materials below.)

  • Think Check

    Ask: How did I determine the main idea of the section? Students should respond that you looked at the section heading and thought about what the section may be about. You then read the section and paid close attention to important details. Finally, you used the text details and the section heading to determine what the section was mostly about.

  • Guided Practice

    will choose another section from the book to read. We will discuss the heading and what we think the main idea is. We will read the section, determine the important details in the text, and use the section heading to help us identify the main idea of the section.

  • Independent Practice

    will choose another section of the book to read and determine its main idea. You will explain how you identified the main idea. (Student Independent Practice is provided below.) Note: Teachers will need copies of sections of this book for students or other nonfiction books from the library.

    TIP: If you decide to have students use other nonfiction books for the Independent Practice, make sure to review them before the lesson to ensure that the headings are very clear and explicitly inform students of the main idea.

Build Student Vocabulary extinction

Tier 2 Word: extinction
Contextualize the word as it is used in the story The Gray Nurse Sharks were almost hunted to extinction, but their numbers are increasing.
Explain the meaning student-friendly definition) Extinction means death or loss. When a type of plant or animal is near extinction, it means that there are only a few of that type of animal or plant left in the world. If those few die and no others are born, that type of animal or plant will died out and become extinct. There will be no more left. The book explains that nurse sharks almost all died off.
Students repeat the word Say the word extinction with me: extinction.
Teacher gives examples of the word in other contexts Dinosaurs became extinct. Some animals, like eagles and wolves, were close to extinction, but people were able change conditions so that there are more of these animals.
Students provide examples What is something that people can do for animals facing extinction? Tell me about it by saying “To prevent animals from becoming extinct, people can ____________.”
Students repeat the word again. What word are we talking about? extinction
Additional Vocabulary Words accelerate, massive

Build Student Background Knowledge

Stop after reading page 22 of the section, "Extinction." Explain to students that not only are sharks in danger of extinction, but coral reefs are in danger as well. Show students a photograph of a coral reef. Coral reefs are one of the oldest ecosystems in the world. Ecosystems are places with plants and animals that depend on each other in order to survive. Explain that the coral reef is an ecosystem that is home to 25% of the world's fish.

Texts & Materials

Standards Alignment

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User Comments

Thank you for a great lesson to model after

Great scaffolded lesson in identifying main idea in a non-fiction text. May have to read text for most second graders on the independent part of the lesson since this book is a level Q, which is well above an end of year second grade reading level.

Thank you for this fantastic resource. I recommend it all the time.

Do you have for bilingual students? Are any of the activities in spanish for bilingual classrooms?

Thank you for asking. At this point in time, we do not have any activities or articles in Spanish. We are focused on improving and expanding our English reading comprehension curriculum.

I truly love your website! It is extremely helpful!

This was a very helpful guide in helping me create other lessons.
Thanks a million!

Thank you so much for this website. It truly is a blessing. My school district doesn't have an adopted ELA series. Finally, I feel as though I am able to give my students "rock solid" materials! Thanks

This looks like a great lesson, but the availability of the book is quite limited. Amazon has it used for $65! Our library has it, but it has a long wait list. Has anyone used a similar book instead?

Hi Kristy! Thanks for your comment.

We are aware that unfortunately some of the books have gone out of print and/or are exorbitantly priced via Amazon.

When that is the case, we suggest modifying the original lesson to use one of our alternate books. You can find the alternate book list at the unit page level. For instance, if you go to the unit page for 2nd grade main idea, you will see a section called "More Books for Teaching Main Idea." www.readworks.org/lessons/grade2/main-idea

Great lesson plan ideas for informational text!

This lesson plan is very helpful to my stdunets with disabilities. Thank you so much!

So excited to begin this with my kiddos. It totaly aligns itself with common core. I can't wait to see the outcome after regular use.

Very well organized and great structure! Well done!!!!

Thank you ! This is great.. I love that it is already aligned to COMMON CORE.. unlike our reading series!

great lessons on this website.