Cultivating Close Reading : Central Idea

Newsela Anchor Standard

  • Determine central ideas or themes of a text and analyze their development; summarize the key supporting details and ideas.

Newsela PRO Applications

5W’s + How

 Tip: Highlight 5W’s in GREEN. Annotate to explain connection.

  • Submit summary as Write prompt.
  • Complete Quiz.

Resource: Adapted from Teaching Basic Writing Skills by Judith Hochman.

3 Step (Re)eading

  • Gist - First time reading ask question and draft summary.
  • Little Deeper - Reread for clarification and discussion.
  • All Together - After another reading, students will reflect on inferences and make personal connections or to a unit of study.


  • Gist. Highlight unknown words or phrases in RED. Highlight 5W’s in GREEN.
  • Deeper. Re-read and Annotate unknown words for meaning and explain 5W’s. Reply to teacher Annotations in YELLOW.
  • All Together. Highlight connections to our unit of study in BLUE and Annotate to explain your reasoning.

Varied Classroom Settings

  • Scaffold Annotations and questions for independence.
  • Group students with similar reading levels.
  • Read aloud and project Annotations for full class participation.

Community Strategies

  • Graphic Organizers: KWL, Mind Maps, Venn Diagram
  • Student Discussion with Turn and Talk or Think-Pair-Share
  • “10 Cent” Summary - Create a summary with a limited amount of words
  • Central Idea Formula - Subject + “What about it” = Central Idea
  • Bloom's Taxonomy - Develop higher order questioning
  • Costa’s Levels of Questioning
  • Reading Protocols

Text Set

For examples of each Newsela  strategy, download the attached PDF. 

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