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Main Idea Picture Cards and Worksheets Free to Print

Michele Meleen
Kindergarten Boy Holding Picture Card

Free main idea worksheets and picture cards help you teach the concept of a main idea and details to younger kids in preschool and kindergarten. These printable activities for teaching main idea and details are also great for ESL (English as a second language) learners. Click on the printables you want to use, then download and print using the troubleshooting guide if needed.

Free Main Idea Picture Cards to Print

You can incorporate main idea picture cards in any main idea lesson plans as an early years teaching strategy. This picture card PDF set of 24 picture cards includes 12 cards illustrating common subjects of picture books and 12 cards illustrating common actions in picture books. Together, they can help kids show the main idea of any story.

Common Picture Book Theme cards

Ways to Use Main Idea Picture Cards

You can print just the subject cards, just the action cards, or print them all.

  • Laminate the cards so they last longer.
  • Print a full set of cards for each student and use them any time you read a passage or book together.
  • Group a few images together and have the child create a main idea sentence out of them.
  • Read any picture book out loud or together, then ask the child to choose one or more cards that illustrate the main idea.
  • Put images around your school area, then randomly ask your child to find a main idea image for any given assignment they're working on at the time.
  • Older kids can create main idea posters by writing their main idea on a piece of poster board, adding picture cards that illustrate it, then adding captions.

Main Idea Picture Prompt Worksheet

This worksheet features three short stories that beginning readers can read on their own and asks kids to find the main idea. Next to each short story is an empty box where kids can illustrate the main idea of each short story.

Find the Main Idea Worksheet

Ways to Use the Worksheet

Printable preschool worksheets and free kindergarten worksheets like main idea picture prompts work great for individual and group lessons. Put the worksheet in a dry erase pocket so you can use it in multiple ways.

  • Read each passage to the child, then have him choose one picture card that best represents the main idea. He can set the image on the empty box next to the passage.
  • Place main idea cards for each passage in the wrong empty box and ask kids to draw a line between each passage and its correct main idea card.
  • Ask the child to read each passage on her own, then draw an image of the main idea in the empty box.

Illustrate the Main Idea Worksheet

Help kids understand main idea and supporting details with a variety of main idea examples. This worksheet allows you to present either the main idea or the supporting details and have kids figure out the other part.

Illustrate the Main Idea Worksheet

Ways to Use the Worksheet

If you add the worksheet to a dry erase sleeve, your child can use it for a variety of activities.

  • Write the main idea of a story for your child on the worksheet, then ask them to find details from the passage and add a picture card to each empty box representing that detail.
  • Add four picture cards to the worksheet in each empty box. Have your child write the main idea, or thing that unites those four images.
  • Have kids create an original story by writing in their main idea first, then drawing the four-part story using the empty boxes as a storyboard activity.
  • As you read a passage or story, have your child add picture cards to the empty boxes that represent important elements of the story. They can write in the main idea at the end.

Teaching Main Idea Through Pictures

Understanding what a main idea is and how to identify the main idea is a real challenge for many little kids. Try teaching the main idea and supporting details using images to help kids grasp this difficult reading comprehension concept. Even before kids can read on their own, they can learn about the main ideas of their favorite stories.

Main Idea Picture Cards and Worksheets Free to Print