Last updated on: 2/27/2015 | Author:

Implicit vs. Explicit Statements – Lesson Plan Idea


Implicit vs. Explicit Statements – Overview


Use the Background section from a issue to practice identifying main ideas in informational text and distinguish between explicit and implicit statements.

Grades: 5-10

The Activity


Assign students to read a portion of the selected Background section, looking for sentences or phrases that express the main ideas (often referred to as “key statements” in the Common Core standards). Have students record each main idea on’s “What’s Unspoken?” graphic organizer worksheet where they explain what the main idea said explicitly, what it implied, and how they knew. This assignment allows students to practice identifying main ideas, analyze their own thinking, and express implications that they perceive.

——————————– Topics: Cuban Embargo, Animal Testing, Cell Phones, Churches and Taxes, Obesity, or any of the other “Micro” topics listed at /debate-topics/

Subjects: ELA / English, Writing / Composition, History / Social Studies, Science

Common Core Anchor Standards: CCRA.R.1, CCRA.R.2, CCRA.R.10, CCRA.W.4, CCRA.W.9

Common Core Content Standards: RI.1, RI.2, W.2, W.9, L.6, RH.2, RST.2, RST.4


Make the lesson easier 

  • Before assigning students to work on their own, model using the graphic organizer, narrating your thought process as you choose the main idea. Engage in a group brainstorm about what the explicit and implicit messages are.
  • Read the portion of the Background section you’ve chosen while the class follows along using their own copy. Pause periodically to check for understanding by asking basic comprehension questions.
  • Have students underline or electronically highlight in 3 different colors as they read: one color for possible main ideas, one for statements that spark a question, and one for statements they found surprising. Ask students to share and explain some of their highlights before beginning the graphic organizer.

Make the lesson harder 

  • Have students fill out one organizer from the selected background section and another one from one of the sources quoted in the background article.
  • Ask students to use their collected key idea quotes to write a 3-sentence synopsis of the Background section.
  • Have students collect quotes and then trade papers to identify the implicit statement of a quote they did not choose.
Related Links


  1. Lesson Plan Ideas with Common Core Correlations
  2. Teachers’ Corner