School Improvement in Maryland

Using the State Curriculum: Reading/ELA, Grade 2

Reading/ELA | Informational | Literary | Writing | Language | Listening | Speaking

Clarifications: Each clarification provides an explanation of an indicator/objective to help teachers better understand the skills and/or concepts.

Standard 3.0 Comprehension of Literary Text

Indicator 6. Determine important ideas and messages in literary texts


To show proficiency of the skills stated in this indicator, a reader will express an understanding of the key points or thoughts in a literary text which are the important ideas and messages. Sometimes these points are stated directly in the text. For other more complex texts, a reader must determine an implied, important idea or message by synthesizing ideas across the text.

To recognize the main idea or message of the text, a reader must understand what is meant by main idea or message. Main idea can defined as what the story or media is mostly about. This big idea is supported by other details in the text. In literary text, the author may express the “big idea” in the form of a message for the readers. For example, “a friend sticks by you even when things are tough”. The main idea or message may be directly stated or implied and may appear in any portion of a text.

To recognize a similar message in more than one text, a reader must first identify the author’s message in each literary text. Once the author’s message for each text is established, comparison between or among the texts can begin. A reader may focus on morals or lessons learned by characters contained in multiple texts. For younger readers, multicultural renderings of the same fairy tale are common. The conclusions drawn from similar texts are text-specific and based on many supporting details from each text.

To retell the text or a part of the text, a reader must share the story in his/her own words, keeping story events in order.

To summarize the text a reader synthesizes the whole or identified portion of text and expresses only the essential elements (the setting, characters, problem, important story events, and resolution) in his/her own words.

To identify personal connections to the text, a reader must consider all elements of a literary text: setting, character, story events, mood, tone, and theme. Next, a reader must consider his/her personal experiences and relate them to one or more elements of a text. A reader might consider himself/herself or a friend or family member to be like a character from a text. A reader might discover that his/her attitude toward a particular subject mirrors an author's tone toward the same subject. A reader might hold the same belief revealed in a theme statement or find himself/herself in direct opposition to the idea in a theme. Once this connection is established, a critical reader is able to define how this connection is made and to construct meaning from a text, citing both text and personal details.