Main Idea Glove and Book

I went to a seminar, years ago, and I can't remember the gentleman who shared this idea, but I've been using it ever since. And I have to say, administrators really like this lesson when they come in to observe, which is always a good thing. First you need a gardening glove, preferably white or light colored, and canvas. It's hard to write on the ones with plastic nubbies. With a sharpie, write the words in order starting at the thumb: who, what, when, where, why.   I use this with the nominees for the Nevada Young Reader Award, which is an award chosen by the citizens of Nevada. Anyone who reads all eight of the picture books, can vote for the one they like the best. I read all of them to my students, every year. When I start out, I read a book that was a previous winner, called Hoodwinked, by Arthur Howard. It's a very cute book about a young witch who wants a creepy pet but finally finds happiness with a cute and cuddly pet. It's an easy story to figure out the main idea. I put the glove on and I hold up my thumb and say, "Who is the main character?" Students will answer, "The girl!" For some reason they never pay attention to the names of the characters, so I will ask again or we can refer to the book. Then I hold up my index finger and say, "what did she finally do?" This is important, because the main idea covers the whole story, not just one event, so we have to figure out what she accomplished. Then I hold my middle finger (still holding up thumb and index finger, don't want to offend anyone ;)) and ask "When did she do it?" When is a tricky one, because many stories don't have a clear time frame. Sometimes we determine it's "one day", or "in the summer". Sometimes, it's very specific, like when we read One Giant Leap, which was nominated last year, and took place July 20, 1969. Then I hold up my ring finger, and ask, "Where did she do it?" Some stories have more than one setting, but we try to narrow it down by linking it to … [Read more...]