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Lesson Plans
Reading for Details
1st–2nd Grade

CCSS Reading/Informational Text:
Key Ideas and Details (RI.1.1, RI.1.2, RI.2.1, RI.2.2)
  • Ask and answer questions about key details in a text.
  • Identify the main topic and retell key details of a text.
  • Ask and answer such questions as who, what, where, when, why and how to demonstrate understanding of key details in a text.
  • Identify the main topic of a multiparagraph text as well as the focus of specific paragraphs within the text.
Integration of Knowledge and Ideas (RI.1.7, RI.2.7)
  • Use the illustrations and details in a text to describe its key ideas.
  • Explain how specific images (e.g., a diagram showing how a machine works) contribute to and clarify a text.
Materials Needed

Explain to students that as they read about the ways animals build their homes, they can be “reading detectives” who discover the main topic and important details! To do this, they must read carefully, examine the text and pay close attention to illustrations that will help them find the answer to the following important questions: Where? When? How? Why?


  1. Give each student a copy of the Reading for Details graphic organizer.
  2. Provide each student with a copy of the “Animal Homes” reading passage and have students read the passage aloud together.
  3. Encourage students to use the illustrations and text in the passage to read for information, pulling out important details and filling in the information on their graphic organizer—just as detectives do when they are solving a mystery! For example, in the passage “A Hornets’ Nest: Fit for a Queen,” the queen hornet starts making the nest with tree bark and lays eggs in it. Then the eggs hatch, and the baby hornets help build the nest. Guide students through the text and the chart, modeling how to use the chart to find and record pertinent information. (If desired, you can use a document camera or whiteboard to display the passage and/or graphic organizer to model the activity, highlighting the key evidence from the text.)
  4. As students fill in the graphic organizer, invite volunteers to point back to the text to show where they found the answer, highlighting the key details.
  5. Once the graphic organizer is complete, review the text. Have students share the main topic of the reading passage and support it with evidence from the text.

  1. For further reinforcement, set up a learning center for students to practice their skills in reading for details.
  2. Print out two or three copies of the “Our Closest Star” reading passage and a corresponding number of question frames. (You will need to cut out the rectangular piece beneath each question. These will serve as a “window” for students to frame each answer when they find it in the text.)
  3. Challenge students to read the passage once and then use the question frames to search for the main topic and important details.

View the 1st–2nd grade lesson plan. (Includes all printable materials.)
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