Learning Resource Type

Learning Activity

Finding the Details in a Text

Subject Area

English Language Arts




The purpose of this activity is to allow students to identify details in a text when the main idea is already identified. The "Rosa Parks" article provided through the Alabama Virtual Library will be used to locate details that correspond to the identified main ideas. Students will use the highlight tool to annotate the text. 

This learning activity was created as a result of the ALEX - Alabama Virtual Library (AVL) Resource Development Summit.

    English Language Arts (2021) Grade(s): 4


    Explain how relevant details support the implied or explicit main idea of a text.

    Unpacked Content



    • Implied main idea
    • Explicit main idea
    • Relevant details


    Students know:
    • The main idea is the most important idea presented in the text.
    • Sometimes an author will clearly state the main idea, while other times an author will merely suggest the main idea.
    • The supporting details explain the main idea or provide more information about the main idea.


    Students are able to:
    • Identify the implied or explicit main idea of a text.
    • Use relevant details to support the main idea of a text.


    Students understand that:
    • Most texts have a main idea, or most important message, and supporting details, which provide more information about the main idea.
    • An author can choose to state the main idea in the text or provide clues through details in the text to imply the main idea.


    Learning Objectives

    Learning Objectives

    Students will read an informational article and identify the textual details that support the main ideas identified in the article.

    Activity Details

    1. The students will independently read the Rosa Parks text. The students can access the text on digital devices, or the teacher can print the text for students. Students have the option to have the text read aloud through the Gale in Context platform. Teachers will need to make sure students know how to select this option prior to this step.

    2. The students will read the article for a second time with partner groups. The teacher will assign each student a main idea (see five bullet points listed at the beginning of the article). Students who are assigned the same main idea will form a partner group. Students will read this time with a focus on identifying details that support their assigned main idea. For the third read, students will use the highlight tool to highlight the details that support their identified main idea. If paper copies are being used, students can use a highlighter to highlight the supporting details.

    3. When all partner groups have finished, groups will share the details they identified that support the identified main ideas. Students will use Jamboard to share their ideas so that the class can stay engaged. If digital devices are not available, students can share their ideas using chart paper.  

    Assessment Strategies

    Assessment Strategies

    The teacher will assign another main idea from the list to each student (a different main idea than their original assignment). The student will highlight the details that support the newly assigned main idea. They will record these on a piece of paper or a digital word processing document to turn in to the teacher for assessment.


    Allow students an opportunity to explore Gale in Context after they finish the "Rosa Parks" article and locate another historical figure that is of interest to them. 


    Make sure students that may need assistance with some of the words in the article know where the read-to-me tool is in the article. Model locating a detail that matches one of the main ideas for these students so they know exactly what they need to do. Highlight a main idea using the tool and then locate a detail within the text that supports the identified main idea. Then, let students complete the others on their own. 

    Approximate Duration

    Total Duration

    31 to 45 Minutes

    Related Learning Activities

    Learning Activity (Before)

    Learning Activity (During)

    Learning Activity (After)

    Background and Preparation

    Background / Preparation

    Students need to complete the before activity located in the comments section and have general background knowledge of the main idea and supporting details. 

    Teachers need to be familiar with Gale in Context and the available tools for students to use when reading the article. Teachers will need a method to assign main ideas to students. Examples could be numbering them and assigning students a number or passing out papers with the various main ideas recorded on them. 

    Materials and Resources

    Materials and Resources

    Student Materials

    • Access to the "Rosa Parks" article (Through Gale in Context) for students (link needs to be placed in your Learning Management System or shared with students in some way so that they can use the highlight tool). 
    • Digital Device 
    • If digital devices are unavailable, the article can be printed for students to complete the activity.

    Teacher Materials


    • Projector and whiteboard


    Digital Tools / Resources