Stage 3 reading - Main idea

Learning intention

Students will learn to find the main idea in persuasive, imaginative and informative paragraphs, text sections and whole text. Students then identifying vocabulary and key details to determine an overall main idea.

Syllabus outcome

  • EN3-RECOM-01: fluently reads and comprehends texts for wide purposes, analysing text structures and language, and by monitoring comprehension

National Literacy Learning Progression

Understanding texts

  • UnT8: reads and views some moderately complex texts (see Text complexity) (comprehension); accurately retells a text including most relevant details (comprehension); identifies main idea and related or supporting ideas in moderately complex texts (see Text complexity) (comprehension); skims and scans texts for key words to track the development of ideas (process)
  • UnT9: identifies the main themes or concepts in complex texts by synthesising key ideas or information (comprehension); summarises the text identifying key details only (comprehension); draws inferences, synthesising clues and evidence across a text (comprehension); selects reading/viewing strategies appropriate to reading purpose (e.g. scans text for evidence) (process); judiciously selects texts for learning area tasks and purposes (process)
  • UnT10: reads and views complex or some highly complex texts (see Text complexity) (comprehension); integrates automatically a range of processes such as predicting, confirming predictions, monitoring, and connecting relevant elements of the text to build meaning (process)

NAPLAN item descriptors

The relevant NAPLAN item descriptors are included in the resource, available for download on this page.

Task outline

Full task descriptions are included in the resource, available for download on this page..

A picture paints a thousand words

Students predict what might be happening in a range of images.

Topic, main idea and theme

Students skim and scan texts to identify the topic, main idea and theme.

Determining topic and main idea

Students predict the main idea using images to support their understanding.

Identifying main idea in a paragraph or section of text

Students use a range of paragraphs and sections of texts to identify the vocabulary, details and main idea.

Finding main idea in a whole text

Students categorise the main idea, supporting details and vocabulary using film clips.

Identifying main idea in informative texts

Students apply the ‘Gather, Identify, Summarise, Top and tail’ (GIST) process to identify the main idea in a range of informative, persuasive and imaginative texts.


  • Teaching and learning

Business Unit:

  • Educational Standards
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