You may already be familiar with the idea of Information Pyramids. It’s a favorite strategy for getting students to summarize a main idea and to include some specific supporting details. Many teachers have enjoyed success using this with their students. So if you’re struggling to teach main idea, consider trying it.

Main idea asks students to step back from the reading and to identify the gist of what something was about. What’s the point? What’s the big picture topic? Using the Information Pyramid, students are forced to think more inferentially and not to look for literal answers in the text.

Here’s the template:

Template for Summary Writing Pyramid

Here are some of the Information Pyramid examples teachers have shared in the past:

Summary Pyramid Example Early Americans & Martin Luther King, Jr.

But it can also work for language arts and fiction. Use the original pyramid template to summarize each chapter in a novel. Or, revise the categories of each tier to incorporate story elements. For example:

Template Literature Summary Pyramid

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