Importance Line

Education Services / L’équipe des services d’éducation
25 January 2012

Download the .pdf version

What is an Importance Line?

This is an individual and whole class strategy which combines reading/viewing comprehension skills with critical thinking skills. Students will identify then rank the ideas in a text or video from least to most important and place the ideas on an Importance Line.

Why use it?

  • To determine the relative importance of ideas in a reading or viewing selection
  • To consolidate learning after reading or viewing new material
  • To make judgments and justify thinking about a text or video

How do I use it?

Importance Line Template
  • Provide each student with a blank Importance Line Template (see image at right).
  • After reading or viewing the article/video, have the class brainstorm what they think are the key ideas in the text/video. Each student can record these on the lines on the Importance Line Template.
  • Using this class-generated list, students can then individually rank the ideas from least to most important and place the LETTERS which represent the various ideas along the arrow (Importance Line).
  • Afterwards, students can share and explain the rationale for their rankings with a partner and/or the class.

Tips for success

  • The students do not need to find ten ideas; any number of ideas is fine.
  • Use this strategy before a consolidation strategy such as the Key Ideas Round Robin strategy so that students can develop skills required for identifying key ideas in a text or video.
  • Provide guidance as to where to find key ideas such as in the first or last sentences in a paragraph and in the first or last paragraphs on a page.
  • What is important to a reader/viewer is based on experiences. It is acceptable for students to rank the ideas differently as long as they can justify their ranking with supporting evidence, connections to other texts, etc.


  • Take the students’ responses and compile a class Importance Line. Was there any agreement on which statement was the most important?


Ontario Ministry of Education. (2003). Think Literacy Cross-Curricular Approaches, Grades 7-12. Toronto, ON: Ontario Ministry of Education.

Create-Your-Own Importance Line

  • Importance Line Template [.doc] [.pdf]

Completed Importance Line Sample

  • On Cloud Nine [.pdf]

CurioCity content this strategy could work with:

Education Services / L’équipe des services d’éducation

This content is provided through Let's Talk Science's Education Services team.

Ce contenu est fourni par l'équipe des services d'éducation de Parlons sciences.

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