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EOC TUTORIAL. The Reading Process Lesson 2 – Main Idea and Supporting Details Nine Tips. Lesson 2 – Main Idea and Supporting Details. Main idea is what the book, story, or passage is mostly about. It can be supported by more than one detail. Supporting details help explain the main idea.

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Eoc tutorial

EOC TUTORIAL

The Reading Process

Lesson 2 – Main Idea and Supporting Details

Nine Tips


Lesson 2 main idea and supporting details
Lesson 2 – Main Idea and Supporting Details

  • Main idea is what the book, story, or passage is mostly about. It can be supported by more than one detail.

  • Supporting details help explain the main idea.

    This lesson will give you tips for answering questions about main ideas and supporting details in different kinds of texts:

  • Expressive texts describe an author’s reflections on a topic and include diaries, short narratives, and memoirs.

  • Informational texts offer information on all kinds of topics.

  • Argumentative texts try to persuade the reader to agree with its ideas.

  • Critical texts, such as book and movie reviews, describe the author’s opinion about topic.

  • Literary texts include all kinds of fiction writing, such as short stories, novels, plays, and poems.


Lesson 2 main idea and supporting details1
Lesson 2 – Main Idea and Supporting Details

Before we study the tips in this lesson, read the following informational passage:

Cabeza de Vaca’s Travels

As you read, stop and think about how you would briefly describe what the passage is mainly about.


Lesson 2 main idea and supporting details2
Lesson 2 – Main Idea and Supporting Details

TIP 1: Summarize the selection by putting together the main idea and most important details.

  • Now underneath the passage, write a one sentence summary of what this passage is mainly about. Be sure it is a statement that could be supported by more than one detail in the passage.


Lesson 2 main idea and supporting details3
Lesson 2 – Main Idea and Supporting Details

Let’s see how you did by answering the following question about the passage…

2. What is the main idea of “Cabeza de Vaca’s Travels?

  • Pizarro and Cortes carried out violent conquests of Native American civilizations.

  • The population of Native Americans mysteriously decreased after the Spanish arrived.

  • The Aztec civilization was one of the greatest and most powerful in history.

  • Cabeza de Vaca’s experience was very different from those of other Spanish explorers.

    Correct answer: D


Lesson 2 main idea and supporting details4
Lesson 2 – Main Idea and Supporting Details

TIP 2: The main idea is supported by details throughout the selection.

A main idea statement tells what a passage is mostly about. It considers the key details of a passage and brings them together to make a statement about the main idea of a text.

3. Now, go back to the passage and underline words, phrases, or sentences that support the answer you chose for the previous question.

Cabeza de Vaca’s experience was very different from those of other Spanish explorers.


Lesson 2 main idea and supporting details5
Lesson 2 – Main Idea and Supporting Details

TIP 3: When answering multiple-choice questions about the main idea, look out for details disguised as main ideas.

Remember, you are looking for a statement that describes the major focus of the entire selection. Incorrect answer choices often look good because they are details stated in the selection. Just because you can find an answer choice in the selection, it doesn’t necessarily mean that answer choice is the main idea.


Lesson 2 main idea and supporting details6
Lesson 2 – Main Idea and Supporting Details

Let’s look at the question and answer choices again…

What is the main idea of “Cabeza de Vaca’s Travels?

  • Pizarro and Cortes carried out violent conquests of Native American civilizations.

  • The population of Native Americans mysteriously decreased after the Spanish arrived.

  • The Aztec civilization was one of the greatest and most powerful in history.

  • Cabeza de Vaca’s experience was very different from those of other Spanish explorers.

  • Look at choice A. The selection tells us that Pizarro and Cortes did conquer the Native Americans they encountered. This is an important part of the selection, but is it the main idea? Or is it a detail that supports the main idea?

  • Look at choice B. The selection says that the population of Native American tribes did decrease after the Spanish arrived, but is this the focus of the selection? Also, the author gives several causes for the population decrease. There is nothing in the selection to suggest there was anything mysterious about the disappearance of the Incas and the Aztecs.

  • Look at choice C. The selection does describe the Aztecs as a “great nation.” But is this what the selection is mostly about? Or is this a detail that supports the main idea?

  • Look at choice D. This statement is a good summary of the selection because most of the information in the selection supports this as the main idea.


Lesson 2 main idea and supporting details7
Lesson 2 – Main Idea and Supporting Details

TIP 4: Be prepared to focus on one part of the selection.

You may be asked to look for the main idea of a single paragraph or group of paragraphs rather than the main idea of the entire selection. Be sure to go back to the selection and reread the paragraph(s) in question!


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Lesson 2 – Main Idea and Supporting Details

4. Which statement best summarizes the main idea of the first paragraph?

  • The Aztecs and the Incas were conquered by Spanish explorers in the sixteenth century.

  • The native population of the Americas was especially vulnerable to diseases carried by Europeans.

  • Spanish explorers conquered Native American populations with violence and brutality.

  • Most Native American tribes were not powerful enough to resist European conquerors.

    Correct answer: D


Lesson 2 main idea and supporting details9
Lesson 2 – Main Idea and Supporting Details

TIP 5: When answering multiple-choice questions about details, scan the selection for key words from the question.

You will sometimes be required to answer questions about details in the selections you read. Sometimes these questions will be about a specific piece of information, an opinion, or an argument only mentioned once in the selection. If you don’t know the answer, you will have to go back to the passage to find it. When looking for the answer to a detail question, scan the selection for key words from the question. Key words are the most important words in the question. The ones most likely to help you find the answer.


Lesson 2 main idea and supporting details10
Lesson 2 – Main Idea and Supporting Details

Try this….

Circle the key words in the following question:

5. Why did Cabeza de Vaca sail to Florida with a fleet of 300 Spaniards?

Why did Cabeza de Vacasail to Florida with a fleet of 300 Spaniards?


Lesson 2 main idea and supporting details11
Lesson 2 – Main Idea and Supporting Details

Now answer the question…

5. Why did Cabeza de Vacasail to Florida with a fleet of 300 Spaniards?

  • He was second in command of a mission to discover and take over land for the king of Spain.

  • He wanted to show the king of Spain that the native population of Florida should be treated with kindness.

  • He had been hired to serve as a traveling merchant and healer for a Native American tribe.

  • He wanted to write a book recording the meetings between Europeans and Native Americans.

    Correct answer: A


Lesson 2 main idea and supporting details12
Lesson 2 – Main Idea and Supporting Details

TIP 6: The most important details are those that strongly support the main idea.

Every selection you read will contain many details. You can focus your thinking by paying attention to the details that support the main idea. Remember, details that support the main idea are called supporting details. Some questions on reading tests may ask you to identify which details are most important to the main idea of the selection you are reading.


Lesson 2 main idea and supporting details13
Lesson 2 – Main Idea and Supporting Details

Next we will be answering the following question…

Which of the following details is most important to the main idea of the selection?

But before we answer, let’s review what the main idea of the selection is…


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Lesson 2 – Main Idea and Supporting Details

Cabeza de Vaca’s experience was very different from those of other Spanish explorers.

7. Which of the following details is most important to the main idea of the selection?

  • Sections of Cabeza de Vaca’s book, La Relacion, describe battles between the Spanish troops and native tribes.

  • Cabeza de Vaca was able to survive in the New World because he saw the Native Americans as fellow human beings.

  • For a period of eight years, Cabeza de Vaca explored over 6,000 miles of territory in the New World.

  • By the end of the sixteenth century, the native populations of North and South America had been reduced to one million.

    Correct answer: B


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Lesson 2 – Main Idea and Supporting Details

TIP 7: Don’t expect the main idea to be stated directly.

Sometimes the main idea will be stated directly in the selection. More often, the main idea will be implied. When the main idea is implied, it isn’t directly stated and you will need to figure it out for yourself.

Read the excerpt from The Mill on the Floss by George Eliot.

Now write the main idea of the selection in your own words (one sentence).


Lesson 2 main idea and supporting details16
Lesson 2 – Main Idea and Supporting Details

Let’s see how well you did….answer the following question:

8. What is the main idea of the selection?

  • Maggie and her mother argue over which bonnet she will wear.

  • Maggie’s father goes in the gig to pick up Tom from the academy.

  • Maggie’s mother is brushing and curling Maggie’s long hair.

  • Maggie dips her head in water because she is angry with her mother.


Lesson 2 main idea and supporting details17
Lesson 2 – Main Idea and Supporting Details

TIP 8: Read every choice before selecting your answer.

Let’s look at the previous question again and all the answer choices.

8. What is the main idea of the selection?

  • Maggie and her mother argue over which bonnet she will wear.

  • Maggie’s father goes in the gig to pick up Tom from the academy.

  • Maggie’s mother is brushing and curling Maggie’s long hair.

  • Maggie dips her head in water because she is angry with her mother.

    Choice A may look attractive. We know that Maggie’s mother says a girl should not wear her best bonnet out on a wet day. Is another bonnet mentioned? What is the real source of Maggie’s disappointment?

    Choice B may be very tempting. We learn in the first sentence that Maggie’s father is going to pick up Tom from the academy. This is very important to the main idea, but does it describe what the selection is mostly about? What does this detail have to do with Maggie?

    Choice C may look good because the scene describes Maggie’s hair being brushed by her mother, and curls are mentioned as well. But is this the best summary of the selection? What happens when Maggie’s hair is brushed?

    Choice D tells what Maggie does, and why. Maggie is angry with her mother because she is not allowed to accompany her father to pick up Tom. To get revenge, she dips her head in water to prevent her mother from styling her hair. This is the best answer.


Lesson 2 main idea and supporting details18
Lesson 2 – Main Idea and Supporting Details

TIP 9: Evaluate the author’s development of the main idea and use of supporting details.

Things to think about…

  • Does the selection have a clear main idea?

  • Is the main idea touched on in every paragraph?

  • Do the selection’s details support the main idea?

  • Are there many details in the selection that aren’t relevant to the main idea?

  • How do the selection’s details contribute to the development of the main idea?


Lesson 2 main idea and supporting details19
Lesson 2 – Main Idea and Supporting Details

Now read the following passage:

“The Reluctant Hero”

Try these strategies while reading the passage:

  • Highlight important details

  • Look for the main idea of the passage

  • Make notes in the margin about what you think the word means

    Try these strategies while answering the questions:

  • Read each question carefully

  • Cross out wrong choices

  • Remember the Nine Tips when choosing your answer

    GOOD LUCK!!


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