Determining importance

Good readers can decide what matters most and therefore what is worth remembering.  Fiction and nonfiction texts differ in what is determined to be important and how the author signals this to the reader. Oftentimes, one's purpose for reading helps determine what is important.

Proficient readers:

  • identify key ideas or themes as they read
  • distinguish important and unimportant information in texts
  • use text structure and text features to help determine important information

Sample Lessons:

Anchor Charts:



Narrative elements help students find
important information in narrative texts.


Nonfiction text features help the reader
determine what is important.


Some students benefit from visual reminders of text features.


This teacher created a poster for each feature and hung
them across the classroom wall for easy reference.


What's important to know about nonfiction and fiction text


Timelines help focus students on the most important events


An ongoing classroom collection of
important information about WWII

Forms and Resources:

Texts for Teaching Determining Importance:

  • I Can Read About... series by Troll Associates
  • First Discovery Books by Scholastic
  • Eyewitness Books by Knopf
  • Weekly Reader
  • Scholastic News
  • National Geographic for Kids
  • Zoo Books
  • Kids Discover

Comprehension Resources:

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