What the Text Says: Teaching Tips and Reading Strategies


Tip 1: BIG vs. small

  • There are a lot of ideas in an article. It can be challenging to figure out what the main ideas are, and how the specific details connect.
  • Use the highlighting feature to mark BIG ideas in GREEN and SPECIFIC details in RED.
  • Add notes that explain what the details show. Your notes can start with, “This shows…”.
  • Doing this close reading will help you connect the details to the big ideas in an article.

Tip 2: Debate it! What’s really important, here?

  • Pick the two most important specific details from the article. Ask, "What idea does that detail prove or show?" and “Why is this detail important to the entire article?”
    • To start, you can generate a long list of specific details from the article with the class. Have them share as many details as they can find.
    • Once you have the list, tell students that now they need to pick just two.
  • Debate with a partner or with the class which 2 details are the most important.
  • These conversations will help you see the importance of the specific details, and their purpose to the article overall.

Tip 3: Get to the point!

    • Pretend a student three years younger than you just asked you what the article was about. Write out your explanation to them.
    • Younger students don’t have a long attention span. They need you to explain it quickly! Use these steps to get to the point.
    • Write the big “take away” from the article.


  • This article was about _____


    • Explain why this is important or interesting.


  • This is important/interesting because____


  • Explain a detail that proves the big idea or shows why it is important.

To show__idea___, the author included the evidence __evidence___.

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