This latest product has been such a labor of love.  I originally had the idea because the child I am tutoring needed to work on finding the main idea and use using nonfiction text features. So I decided to get crackin’.

And then I saw this you tube clip about the woman feeding an alligator and calling it puppy.  

It was actually kinda sad.

But it planted an idea.  And here is the result.

The pack includes an informational article I wrote about the American Alligator.  According to Lexile it is an 820L, but the second grade child I am working with read it with support similar to guided reading. According to CCS, 820L fits in the 2nd-3rd grade band.

The pack includes three vocabulary cards with real photographs that we went over before reading. We also completed a circle map to activate prior knowledge.
Then we started reading the article.  The child loved it!! I tried to incorporate lots of text features.  It pretty much has everything, but a graph!
After reading the article, the child completed the main idea questions. The questions all focus on finding the main idea of each section, except for one question that focuses on a text feature (the chart).
I also made the child go back and underline in the article text evidence for the main idea. It was a huge success!
The pack also includes a graphic organizer (which include finding supporting details) for each heading in the article or the main idea of the entire article.  Since second grade doesn’t include supporting details in the CCS and the child needs work on just finding the main idea, I stuck with the questions.
We also started on the next part of the pack: a text feature hunt! I shrunk the article to all fit on one page so students could cut it up examples of the text features and glue in the book.  I also included definitions that students can cut up and glue onto the page as well. 
We just started the book, so there is not much done…yet. 🙂
Here is a preview of the 29 page product.
It is available in my store for only $3.75!! This is the first in a series (I have a WHOLE bunch of ides!).  Next up is the honey bee!

Published by Mandy Gregory

Mandy Gregory is a 2007 and 2012 Teacher of the Year. She has taught 4th, 3rd, and 2nd grade in both the general education and inclusion setting. She is the owner and creator of the Teaching Tips website ( and has over 10 years of experience. She is married with two beautiful children.

One reply on “Animal Bites Series: Teach Main Idea and Text Features Using an Informational Article (American Alligator)”

  1. Impressive! This is an awesome creation. I love the excellent content and informational text teaching ideas. Kids LOVE reading about animals so much and are happy to do any activities associated with them. Can't wait to see more of these.
    Your blog is one of my favourites. You have great ideas and sound, practical advise.
    Thanks for sharing.

    Debbie Krueger at Always Primary

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