Central & Main Ideas

How to find them!

What is a Central Idea?

A Central or Main Idea is what the text is all about! The Details are the points or important information that support the Central or Main Idea.

Thinking about Central or Main Ideas!

Ask yourself:

What is the passage mostly about? The big idea?

What is another title for the text or selection?

What is an important Detail from this selection?

Which detail best supports the Central or Main Idea?

How can I find the Central or Main Idea?

1. Read the title and look at any graphics or pictures! Then, make a prediction about what you are going to read.

2. As you read, identify the important and unimportant Details! Make a list of the important information/details if you need to!

3. Use the important details to create a Central or Main Idea.

Graphic Organizer #1

+ 1. Detail

+ 2. Detail

+ 3. Detail


= Central or Main Idea

Graphic Organizer #2

Central or Main Idea =

Detail #1 + Detail #2 + Detail #3

Graphic and Info below From the


Every house must have a strong foundation. Without this foundation, the house would fall. It would have no purpose. In a text, the TOPIC is the foundation. The topic tells us what we will be reading and learning about. It is a short and sweet phrase that focuses us as readers and writers.

Every house must have a roof. A roof protects a house from things that do not belong. Just like a roof protects a house, the main idea protects a piece of writing. The main idea is what the author is trying to teach the reader, what the text is mainly about. If something doesn’t support the main idea, then it does not belong.

Lastly, the supporting details (or walls) hold up the roof. Without the walls, the roof would fall. Just like a house, the supporting details give a text body and purpose. Without these details, the main idea does not go anywhere.