What’s the Main Idea: Free ELA Lesson Plan for Grades 6-8

Need some lesson plan inspiration to get you to winter break? Want to expand your cache of ELA lesson plans? We have you covered! We’ve put together a free 3rd-6th grade lesson plan that will help students understand the concepts of main ideas and supporting details. Read on to get the details and download the lesson.

As students work through the following lesson, they’ll learn to recognize main ideas and supporting details and explore related IXL language arts content.

Anticipatory Set

Students will brainstorm a list of reading strategies they already know and create a “What Good Readers Do” chart.

Teaching Strategy

Students will be introduced to the hands-on activity, Main Idea Bags, and discuss the thought process that goes into determining main ideas and supporting details. In small groups, they will rotate around the classroom to complete the activity. Then they will come back together as a whole class, share their experience, and reinforce the concepts they’ve learned.


Students will refer back to their “What Good Readers Do” chart and review takeaways from the Main Idea Bags activity.


For homework or additional support, students can work on IXL Language Arts skills like Organize Information by Main Idea, Determine the Main Idea, or Identify Supporting Details in Literary Texts.

The full lesson plans, including vocabulary and activity sheets, are available for download below:

Main Idea and Supporting Details Lesson Plan for Grades 6-8