Unlocking Reading Comprehension: Empowering English Language Learners through Main Idea Identification Strategies


  • Yohanes Heri Pranoto Universitas Katolik Musi Charitas, Indonesia
  • Anselmus Inharjanto English Language Education Study Program, Musi Charitas Catholic University, Palembang, Indonesia
  • Florentinus Heru Ismadi Management Study Program, Musi Charitas Catholic University, Palembang, Indonesia
  • Catharina Clara Management Study Program, Musi Charitas Catholic University, Palembang, Indonesia
  • Ega Leovani Management Study Program, Musi Charitas Catholic University, Palembang, Indonesia


Main Idea Identification, Reading Comprehension


English reading can be challenging for language learners, as they often require a high level of comprehension and critical thinking skills. Developing a strategy for identifying the main idea of each paragraph can be a helpful tool for improving reading proficiency. This study investigated the effectiveness of teaching students to identify the main idea of each paragraph in order to empower their English reading skills. The study employed an experiment with a pre and post-test design, with 22 students from St. Paul Minor Seminary participating in the study. The pre and post-test design was used to measure the effectiveness of the intervention. The pre and post test results were analyzed with a dependent sample t-Test to determine if there was a significant improvement or not. The study found that identifying the main idea can be helpful in improving reading comprehension and motivation, as the students are better able to understand the plot. Overall, the study provided valuable insights into the use of specific strategies for enhancing reading skills in language learners.


Antunez, B. (n.d). English language learners and the five essential components of reading instruction. Reading Rockets. https://www.readingrockets.org/topics/english-language-learners/articles/english-language-learners-and-five-essential-components

Balcı, Ö. (2017). The effects of learning-style based activities on students’ reading comprehension skills and self-efficacy perceptions in English foreign language classes. Higher Education Studies, 7(4), 35-54. http://doi.org/10.5539/hes.v7n4p35

Breiseth, L. (2021). Background knowledge and ELLs: What teachers need to know? Colorin Colorado. https://www.colorincolorado.org/article/background-knowledge-and-ells-what-teachers-need-know

Hamouda, A. (2021). The effect of lexical inference strategy instruction on Saudi EFL learners’ reading comprehension. Education Quarterly Reviews, 4(1), 96-112. http://doi.org/10.31014/aior.1993.04.01.177

Hendricks, E., & Fuchs, D. (2020). Are individual differences in response to intervention influenced by the methods and measures used to define response? Implications for identifying children with learning disabilities. Journal of Learning Disabilities, 53(6), 428-443. http://doi.org/10.1177/0022219420920379

Henry, C. C., & Mohamad, M. (2021). The use of mobile technology in enhancing the critical reading skills of pre-university ESL students. Creative Education, 12, 678-695. http://doi.org/10.4236/ce.2021.123047

Logsdon, A. (2022). What is reading comprehension disorder?. Verywell Family. https://www.verywellfamily.com/learning-disability-in-reading-comprehension-2162449

Marve, S. (n.d.). How to find the main idea: 7 strategies that work. The Stellar Teacher Company. https://www.stellarteacher.com/blog/how-to-find-the-main-idea/

Misunderstood Minds. (n.d.). Difficulties with reading. https://www.pbs.org/wgbh/misunderstoodminds/readingdiffs.html

Nguyen, N. (2022). Critical reading skills in ESL students: Challenges and pedagogical recommendations. https://files.eric.ed.gov/fulltext/EJ1345235.pdf

Powell-Smith, K. (2020). Problem-solving the complexities of reading comprehension. NASP: The National Association of School Psychologists. https://www.nasponline.org/professional-development/a-closer-look/problem-solving-the-complexities-of-reading-comprehension

Pranoto, Y. H. (2020). The effect of the TOEFL preparation program on reading skills and structure mastery of prospective students. Journal of English Teaching, 5(1), 77-88. https://doi.org/10.36456/jet.v5.n01.2020.2345

Pranoto, Y. H., & Levinli, V. F. (2022). Ecological content analysis in Bohlke’s skillful reading and writing. UC Journal: ELT, Linguistics and Literature Journal, 3(2), 145-155. https://doi.org/10.24071/uc.v3i2.5390

Shelton, A., Lemons, C. J., & Wexler, J. (2021). Supporting main idea identification and text summarization in middle school co-taught classes. Intervention in School and Clinic, 56(4), 217-223. https://doi.org/10.1177/1053451220944380

Stevens, E. A., Park, S., & Vaughn, S. (2019). A review of summarizing and main idea interventions for struggling readers in grades 3 through 12. Remedial and Special Education, 40(3), 131-149. https://doi.org/10.1177/0741932517749940

Unversidad Technologica De La Mxteca. (2016). TOEFL module 1: Reading. Unversidad

Technologica De La Mxteca: Oaxaca.

Wexler, J., Reed, D. K., Barton, E. E., Mitchell, M., & Clancy, E. (2018). The effects of a peer-mediated reading intervention on juvenile offenders’ main idea statements about informational text. Behavioral Disorders, 43, 290–301. https://doi.org/10.1177/0198742917703359




How to Cite

Pranoto, Y. H., Inharjanto, A., Ismadi, F. H., Clara, C., & Leovani, E. (2023). Unlocking Reading Comprehension: Empowering English Language Learners through Main Idea Identification Strategies. Wacana Akademika: Majalah Ilmiah Kependidikan, 7(2), 264–270. Retrieved from https://jurnal.ustjogja.ac.id/index.php/wacanaakademika/article/view/16121




Citation Check