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Chapter 3: Locating Main Ideas. Active Reading Skills , 2/e Kathleen McWhorter Brett McWhorter Sember PowerPoint by Gretchen Starks-Martin. What is a Main Idea?. Topic = the one general subject a whole paragraph is about Main Idea = the most important point a whole paragraph makes.

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chapter 3 locating main ideas

Chapter 3:Locating Main Ideas

Active Reading Skills, 2/eKathleen McWhorter

Brett McWhorter SemberPowerPoint by Gretchen Starks-Martin

what is a main idea
What is a Main Idea?
  • Topic = the one general subject a whole paragraph is about
  • Main Idea = the most important point a whole paragraph makes
understanding general vs specific ideas
General:Cakes

Specific: chocolate

spice

angel food

General: Continents

Specific: Asia

Africa

Australia

Understanding General vs. Specific Ideas
identifying the topic
Identifying the Topic

Ask yourself:

What is the one idea the author is discussing throughout the paragraph?

tips for finding the main idea
Tips for Finding the Main Idea
  • Identify the topic.
  • Locate the most general sentence (the topic sentence).
  • Study the rest of the paragraph for the one idea that ties all of the other details together.
tips for locating the topic sentence
Tips for Locating the Topic Sentence
  • Topic Sentence First
  • Topic Sentence Last
  • Topic Sentence in the Middle
  • Topic Sentence First and Last
topic sentence first
Topic Sentence First

The author states his or her main point and then explains it.

Topic Sentence

Detail

Detail

Detail

topic sentence last
Topic Sentence Last

The author leads up to the main point and then states it in the end.

Detail

Detail

Detail

Topic Sentence

topic sentence in the middle
Topic Sentence in the Middle

The sentences before the topic sentence lead up to or introduce the main idea.

The sentences following the main idea explain or describe it.

Detail

Detail

Topic Sentence

Detail

Detail

topic sentence first and last
Topic Sentence First and Last

Writers put the main idea at the beginning of a paragraph and again at the end to emphasize the main point or to clarify it.

Topic Sentence

Detail

Detail

Detail

Topic Sentence

finding the central thought
Finding the Central Thought
  • The main point of a group of paragraphs appearing together as a unit is called the central thought or thesis statement.
  • It often appears in the first or second paragraph of a piece of writing.

Ask yourself:

What big, general idea is discussed throughout the selection?

learning more about paragraphs
Details are sentences that explain the main idea.

Writers use transitions (first, however, finally) to connect sentences.

Learning More About Paragraphs
evaluating your progress
Evaluating Your Progress

Use the “Main Idea-Main Woods” module in the Reading Skills section on the MyReadingLab Web site at http://www.ablongman.com/myreadinglab .

for more practice visit the companion web site
For more practice visit the Companion Web site.

http://www.ablongman.com/mcwhorter

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