School Improvement in Maryland

Using the State Curriculum: Reading/ELA, Grade 2

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

Lesson Seeds: The lesson seeds are ideas for the indicator/objective that can be used to build a lesson. Lesson seeds are not meant to be all-inclusive, nor are they substitutes for instruction.

Standard 2.0 Comprehension of Informational Text

Indicator 3. Develop knowledge of organizational structure of informational text to understand what is read

Objective g. Recognize and use main idea and supporting details


Select an informational book that has chapter titles and/or headings. Explain to the students that an author organizes the information about a topic into main ideas about the topic and details that support that main idea. In simple informational text, chapter titles or headings may help us identify these important ideas about the topic. One example of this kind of text is Space Walks by Kathleen W. Deady. The author has divided this simple text into chapters that are one page in length. The title of the chapter does not directly state the main idea but helps us determine the main idea. For example, the first chapter of the book is "Space Walks". In the sentences of this chapter the author explains to the reader what is meant by the term space walks. The main idea or important idea to remember is that a spacewalk is when an astronaut floats outside of the spacecraft in order to do his/her job. The teacher may want to capture this on a class chart. The teacher would then help the students identify the details in the chapter that support that main idea. Sometimes students and teachers find it easier to list the supporting details and then determine the main idea.

Chapter Title Main idea Supporting Details
"Space Walks", p. 5 A spacewalk is when an astronaut floats outside of the spacecraft in order to do his/her job.
  • Time outside of spacecraft
  • Float, don't walk
  • Fix spacecraft or launch satellites
  • Astronauts call it EVA - Extravehicular Activity
"First Space Walk", p. 7 A Russian astronaut made the first space walk in March of 1965.
  • Alexei Leonov from Russia
  • Spent 12 minutes outside of spacecraft
  • March 18, 1965
  • Tied to spacecraft with a tether
"First U.S. Space Walk", p. 9 The first U.S. space walk was made by Ed White in June of 1965.
  • Ed. White first U.S. astronaut to make space walk
  • Spent 23 minutes outside of Gemini 4 spacecraft
  • June 3, 1965
  • Tether carried oxygen for him to breathe and water to keep his space suit cool
"Weightless Walking", p. 11 Astronauts feel weightless when they walk in space.
  • Float in any position
  • Gravity doesn't pull them down toward Earth
  • Feels like swimming underwater
  • Makes some feel carsick

The previous chart can serve as a model for getting started with this text. The teacher should model at least the first two chapters and then have students help provide the information for the third chapter. Student pairs could try the 4th chapter. The teacher should allow for sharing and give immediate feedback on paired response to this chapter. The student pairs may work together on the 5th chapter and following feedback work independently on the 6th and 7th chapters. This text has nine simple chapters that would provide enough opportunities for modeling, guided practice and independent practice as needed by the teacher's whole class or small group. The fact that the entire chapter is on one page would make it a great choice for display using a document camera. A similarly formatted text to use for reteaching or as an alternative text is Bees by Kevin J. Holmes. It has 8 one page chapters that can be developed in the same way as above.