"Understanding the main idea from a text"


Are you good at summarizing stories? And not any kind of story but love stories? Well, if you are not, you are about to read an ordinary girl’s story: Bridget’s. She is just like you or just like me but with huge self-confidence and self-esteem problems that do not let her move on to find love. However, this new year that is starting has different plans for her. What is her life like? How does she feel? That is what you will find out on the pages of the first chapter of her diary and you will also be able to extract the essence of her narratives!


You are about to get into Bridge’s life. An ordinary girl who has wonders why love does not come into her life. the first month of the year, January, seems to have much more than she thinks. Your job is to find the primary ideas of what she writes down on her diary during this month.


By reading the part “New Year’s Resolutions”

What words are new for you? Highlight them. Then classify the words according to their category: nouns, verbs, adjectives or adverbs. (if you do not remember what they are, visit this page:https://www.english-grammar-revolution.com/parts-of-speech.html)

Have at least, 10 words for each column.

Download the chart from here: https://drive.google.com/open?id=1D1BUF49aGmQwvzCE7mH_u6C2c6DDZTa8





Go through the pages of the text.

Highlight and identify the titles, subtitles, words written in bold or italics, read the first paragraph; read the last sentences of other paragraphs; read the last paragraph.

Finally, answer these questions:


  • What will this chapter be mostly about?
  • Do you think Bridget is a young girl or and old lady?
  • How do you think Bridget feels like: happy, sad, bored, excited, etc?
  • what words do you consider as important?

NOTE: The instructions and questions above are part of an important reading strategy called skimming.




Read the first entrance of Bridget’s diary. Read all the text and do not stop if you come across with a word you do not recognize, just keep on reading. Then ask yourself:


  • What is this passage mostly about?


 In your own words, explain the answer in one short sentence.

Do not include details or examples from the text. Do not extend your idea beyond what is written in the text, even if you know a ton about the topic. It does not matter for this exercise.

Look for a sentence in the text that most closely fits with your brief summary.


NOTE: If the idea you found follows this model, it is called a stated idea.

BUT…What happens if you cannot figure out the main idea of what Bridget wrote?


Try this:

  1. Read again the passage of text
  2. Ask this question to yourself: "What do each of the details of the passage have in common?"
  3. In your own words, find the common bond (relationship) among all the details of the passage and the author's point about this bond.
  4. Compose a short sentence stating the bond and what the author says about it.
  5. Once you've figured out what the common bond is among each of the items, you'll be able to summarize the passage in a snap.

NOTE: If the idea you found follows this model, it is called an implied idea.



In order to help you organize the details in a better way and find the main purpose of each entrance, use the “detective text” template not to dismiss any valuable piece of information that might guide you to the main idea.

CLICK HERE TO DOWNLOAD IT. https://education.nsw.gov.au/teaching-and-learning/student-assessment/smart-teaching-strategies/media/documents2/literacy/reading/activity-1-text-detective-word-scaffold.pdf

Is it too hard? DO NOT WORRY!

With a little bit of practice, you can master the techniques to extract main ideas of texts. Access to the links below so you can download different passages to work with before you read Bridget’s diary.

Bear in mind to apply the suggested strategies.


  • What is the topic?
  • What is the writer’s opinion about the topic?



Answers: https://0.tqn.com/z/g/testprep/od/readingtesttips/l/Finding_Main_Idea_2_Answers.doc.pdf


On this site, you will find three more exercises to practice the main-idea strategies as well as its answers.



Use of strategies to:





Accomplished 3




Classify 4 parts of the speech.

Gives six or less examples for each category.

Most of the examples given are incorrect.

Gives seven or eight examples for each category.

Most of the examples given are slightly incorrect.

Gives nine or ten examples for each category.

Most of the examples given are correct. 

Gives ten  examples for each category.

All the examples given are correct. 


Skim the text

Applies only one strategy in the text.

answers one guide question. 

Applies all the strategies given.

Answers two guide questions.  

Applies all the strategies given.

Answers three guide questions.  

Applies all the strategies given.

Answers the four guide questions.  


Figure out a stated or implied idea

Answers at least one recommended exercise to practice; the answer is right.

Uses words taken from the text to answer the question: "What is this passage mostly about?"


Answers two recommended exercises to practice; the answers are right.

Uses more words taken from the text than from his/her own to answer the question: "What is this passage mostly about?"


Answers three recommended exercises to practice; most of the answers are right.

 Uses more his/her own words than words taken from the text to answer the question: "What is this passage mostly about?"


Answers four recommended exercises to practice; most of the answers are right.

Uses his/her own words to answer the question: "What is this passage mostly about?"



Organize information in more detail with chart.

Completes a chart for at least three diary entrances. 

Completes a chart for at least six diary entrances

Completes a chart for at least nine diary entrances

Completes a chart for the twelve diary entrances





Tremendous! That’s the right way to find out the main ideas of a text. It is not an easy job but with discipline and dedication you have accomplished it. Now, put all the main ideas you founded and ask yourself: What do you think the main idea of “Bridget’s diary Chapter 1” is? And in the rest of the chapters?


With particular thanks to Dr. Raquel García for presenting this new and quite interesting topic of Webquests.




Bridget Jones's Diary (2001) (2nd time). (2013). [Image]. Retrieved from http://mylatestoscarfilm.blogspot.com/2013/01/bridget-joness-diary-2001-2nd-time.html


FIELDING, H. (1996). Bridget Jones's Diary [Ebook] (1st ed., pp. 6-23). London: Picador. Retrieved from http://www.kkoworld.com/kitablar/Helen%20Fielding%20-%20Bridget%20Jones%27s%20Diary.pdf


How to Find the Stated Main Idea. (2019). Retrieved from https://www.thoughtco.com/how-to-find-the-stated-main-idea-3211740


Kay, B. Reading Comprehension Strategies Webquest: Introduction. Retrieved from http://www.questgarden.com/10/74/8/051126175235/index.htm


Loving, L., Soncini, M., Maduka, S., Tran, H., Williams, E., Collins, E., & Russell, B. (2019). Teaching Main Idea so Students Actually Understand. Retrieved from https://teachingmadepractical.com/teaching-main-idea/


Szabo, B. Dinosaurs Before Dark: Introduction. Retrieved from http://questgarden.com/52/36/4/070612201403/index.htm


Worksheets and Practice That Can Help Students Find the Main Idea. (2019). Retrieved from https://www.thoughtco.com/find-the-main-idea-worksheets-3211754


Teacher Page

This webquest was designed for teachers who want their students to improve in reading skills. Specifically at getting the principal idea from a text. An easy-going text has been chosen in order to practice and develop strategies to get explicit and implied main ideas. Also, there is a wide range of extra activities just in case the student struggles with understanding. 

The questions presented along the process will guide the student to determine the features of a main idea. 


Hope you can enjoy as much as I did designing it!