Teaching Relevant vs Irrelevant Details in Speech Therapy

Do you have students who struggle to find the appropriate evidence in a text when answering higher-level thinking questions? Do you have students that underline everything under the sun when it comes time to take notes or look for key details?


Today we are going to be talking all about how to explicitly teach relevant and irrelevant details in speech. Whether you are working on main idea, attending to significant details, or summarizing your students are first going to need to know how to determine what the relevant details are and how to find them. So here are a couple of quick and easy ways to work on this!


With Jamboard, you can find any picture that may be relevant to your students and have them sort “Relevant” and “Irrelevant” details. I like to scaffold this process for my students by giving them all the details on sticky notes and then all they have to do is sort. I like to tell my students “If I were an alien who had never been in this situation in the picture, what would be important for me to know?”

Once your students understand the framework with a picture of sorting the irrelevant and relevant details, you can move to a simple text.


News Report

Another way I like to introduce this concept is to have my students watch a News Broadcast and identify what important details were given in the Up Next preview as compared to the full story. News reporters don’t want to give too many details that are not relevant or that don’t get the main idea across to the audience in the short time period that they have.



This website has a quiz called identifying irrelevant sentences in a passage that makes for good practice for your students and it's already done for you so you don’t need to prep anything. The more and more exposure our students have to this concept, the better they are going to get at it.



I love Kahoot because you can make your own interactive games for your students or you can search for ones that are already made which saves me soooo much time! In this Kahoot, it will show a picture and then the students will have to answer which detail is important from each picture. I like to pause in between each picture and ask my students more questions like “why is that the important detail?” or “why are the others not important?” It is such a fun and engaging way to work on this skill and your students won't even realize they are learning.


Relevant vs. Irrelevant Details TPT Resource

This resource comes in a paper version or a digital boom card version and it uses the same strategy as I have mentioned above in a text form. This resource comes with short passages where your students can practice determining the main idea and relevant and irrelevant details by dragging and dropping preselected sentences to the appropriate spots.

I hope you found these ideas helpful and your students will be able to determine relevant vs irrelevant details in no time. To learn more, check out the video below and grab that resource here.