I've had many a student struggle with identifying the main idea in a passage let alone a sentence. Upon closer examination, I usually find that students have difficulty identifying the main idea BECAUSE they have difficulty deciding what the key words are! We spend some time learning how to identify key words, which involves a discussion regarding which words are "important" and which are "not important." To accomplish this, we cross out the words that are "not important," leaving us with the key words. I created an activity called Unlock the Key Words, which focuses on identifying key words in 1 and 2 sentences.
Each “key” card has 1 or 2 sentences. After students find the key words, they search for the “lock” card that matches each sentence. If students are more advanced, SLP can remove “lock” cards. Answer key is included, so students may check their own answers.
Red Outline cards: 1 sentence (42)
Purple Outline cards: 2 sentences (42)
*84 cards total*
This is how I typically have students identify key words:
"What's a KEY Word?" visual included in packet:
Answer Key included, student can self-check answers if you are working in groups:
1 sentence "key" strips are red (42 total):
1 sentence "lock" cards with key words:
2 sentence "key" strips are purple (42 total):
2 sentence "lock" cards with key words:
Simple game board is included if your students enjoy playing games:
You get a total of 84 different sentence strips, which gives you a nice variety. If your students become adept at identifying the key words, you can remove the "lock" cards altogether. A fun extension activity might be to bring in a bunch of actual locks and keys and take turns figuring out which keys work in which locks!
You can get this activity HERE!