Main Idea Worksheets

Read all the passage and find the main idea for us. This is a pivotal skill at all levels. Make sure to bookmark this page because we will have many more for you shortly.

Main Idea In Three Sentences
A quick and short one. These are very commonly found on many ELA tests. We give you a very short passage and ask you to choose the best main idea that sums it up for you.

Finding the Main Idea In Paragraphs
We move up to complete paragraph length. We increase the length of each reading passage by a sentence or two to make a full paragraph. We also add an extra choice.

Finding the Main Idea In Mid-Sized Passages
The passages continue to increase in size. The paragraph consists of roughly 10 sentences now as we begin to test your reading endurance. Don't forget to outline as you read.

Finding the Main Idea In A Fiction Mix
This is a very interesting worksheet, you'll see what we mean. We mix fiction with nonfiction to see if students have trouble across content. Please note most new assessments and the CORE to some extent, are focusing more on nonfiction now.

Find the Main Idea Hockey Themed
This longer passage has a theme attached to it. We have a good time learning more about professional Ice Hockey and the history behind it.

How to Determine the Main idea of What You Are Reading

Finding the main idea of what you are reading is one of the most important reading and comprehension skills you need to master. In incomprehension tests, students are often asked about a passage's "main idea." It can be difficult for students to attempt these questions if they don't understand the main idea of what they are reading.

The main idea of a paragraph is the author's message behind what has been written. The main idea can be expressed directly, or it can be implied.
Identifying the main idea is a skill you would require in English Language class and all subject areas.

Finding the main idea can be a challenge, especially if you don't know where to look. However, you need not worry. You can identify and understand the main idea behind a passage easily by following a few simple tips and tricks that we have put together for you.

What Is the 'Main Idea' of What Your Reading?

Before we get into how we can determine the main idea, you should understand what the term means. The paragraph's main idea is the primary message, concept, or idea that the author is trying to communicate or put across to the reader in their writing.
The writer can express the main idea directly in the 'topic sentence' or the 'thesis statement.'

The topic sentence is the most important in a paragraph. It can also be referred to as the focus sentence and is often found at the beginning of the paragraph and attempts to sum up or structure the paragraph's main idea. It gives you an overarching idea of the main idea, and you can find details in the subsequent sentences to support it.
If a piece of writing has multiple paragraphs, you can find the main idea in the thesis statement, which attempts to introduce your topic briefly. You can usually find it near the end of the introductory paragraph, and small individual points later support it.
To understand the main idea while reading, you must think of it as a short or brief summary of what you are reading. The main idea covers the entire reading in a generalized manner, without including any specifics. The specifics come later in your reading, and they add relevant details and context to support the main idea.
It is often difficult to reduce whole chapters or books to one single idea. Hence, paragraphs are a more suitable way for students to learn how to identify the main idea.
Let's look at some tips and tricks for improving your main idea identification skills without further ado.


The writer may not always express the main idea directly. You would have to make a conscious effort to identify it by paying attention and analyzing details that might be pointing toward the main idea. Here are some tips that you can follow to be a pro at identifying the main idea. Keep in mind that practice makes perfect.

1. Identify the Statement of the Main Idea

Successfully finding the main idea of what you are reading is critical to understanding. The main idea will not only help you fully grasp the topic but will help you make sense of the relevant details.

The main idea also provides you with a framework for remembering the contents of what you are reading. This helps you in preparing for examinations as well.
Developing the statement of the main idea is the first step toward determining the main idea of what you are reading. The key to identifying this is to pay while reading. To develop this statement, students must identify all the relevant details and use them to draft a statement about their perception of the main idea.

To compose the statement of the main idea, you can start by asking a few questions about what you are reading. It is important to note that all of these questions may not apply to every text, but you can use them as a starting point to identify and understand the main idea.

The questions you must ask are as follows:

Who? - Who is being discussed in the passage? Identify the person or group of being that are being discussed.
Why? - Identify the reason or explanation for why something happened.
Where? - Identify where the events took place.
When? - identify the period when the events took place.
How? - identify the method or theory in the passage.

Answering all these questions will help you draw out a statement that defines the main idea of what you are reading.

2. Summarize and Paraphrase

Read the passage thoroughly and then summarize or paraphrase it in your own words. Keep it lean, and imagine you only have 10 to 15 words to explain the passage to someone so use the words carefully. Be concise and to the point! Ask yourself, if you were to these those words, would you understand what the passage is about?

3. Identify and Analyze the First and Last Sentences of a Paragraph or Passage

Isolate the first and last sentence of what you are reading, as it is common for authors to put the main idea there. Look out for words such as but in contrast, nevertheless, etc. They often negate the first sentence, which means that you will find the main idea in the sentence following it.

4. Identify Ideas that are Being Repeated

If you cannot summarize the passage after reading it, you can look for repeated words, phrases, or related ideas. Identify what the passage is consistently talking about.
You may have to read the passage a few times. Once you notice something that the author keeps talking about, that's the main idea!

To Wrap Up

In conclusion, identifying the main idea of what you are reading will help you fully understand what the author is talking about. Keep practicing, and you'll master this skill in no time! Whether the main idea is expressed directly or indirectly, you can identify it by following the tips mentioned above. Happy Reading!