When writing essays, position papers, reports, and stories, authors must present their main idea clearly. Everything within the story or essay must sustain the central topic of thought, from the setting and the characterizations to the supporting arguments and evidence. Readers must be able to identify the main thoughts in order to fully enjoy a story or be swayed by an argument. The following collection of worksheets gives students short reading passages and asks them to identify the main idea, central theme, and cause using context clues.
Project idea: Have your students write a short passage and change small details to establish different central themes. This will help them understand what goes into conveying the concept of the main idea of a body of work. For example: Goldie is: 1) a dog, 2) a cat, or 3) a fish.