Text Analysis - Author’s Purpose and Main Idea Louisburg, December 5, 2007 -Group B Kristi Orcutt, Literacy Specialist
Defining Good Readers • “The ability to analyze the author’s purpose and perspective is just as essential as literal and inferential comprehension.” -Gwynne Ellen Ash
Text TYPE = Author’s Purpose T-Technical(to inform, instruct, tell how) Y-Your Story-Narrative(to entertain) P-Persuasive(to persuade, convince) E-Expository(to inform, tell about, explain)
Question Stems - Author’s Purpose • The main purpose of this passage is to- (explain, persuade, entertain, describe…) • What is the author’s main purpose for writing this passage? • What is the author of this passage trying to persuade you to do/believe? • With which statement would the author most likely agree? • The web site was created mainly to-
Expository Text “Informational text is the most complicated type of nonfiction because the purposes are so varied. The purpose of informational text dictates the structure. Not all informational texts have the same structure.” - Buss & Karnowski, Reading & Writing Nonfiction Genres
Identify Author’s Purpose/ Text Type • Skim the sample passages • Mark places you think might cause confusion • Identify the main text type of each passage • Narrative • Expository • Technical • Persuasive
Possible Confusions • Two major text types - fiction and nonfiction - have been re-categorized as four • Author’s may have had more than one purpose in mind • Engaging text often contains multiple types • Students are not generally asked to compare text types • Students are not generally asked to identify and analyze the author’s purpose - only read to gain content knowledge
Possible Confusions • Both Narrative and Expository elements in one passage • Use a wide angle lens • Overall, how much is narrative and how much is expository? • Is the introduction a “hook” to engage readers? Example: “Raising Royal Treasure” pages 12-13
Possible Confusions • Persuasive and Technical are also always Expository! • Use a zoom angle lens Expository to explain, inform Persuasive to persuade, convince Technical to explain, describe steps
Identifying Persuasive Text 1. Are TWO sides presented? If NOT… 2. Is there another side/perspective? • Whose story is being told? • Whose story is NOT being told? • Why? Would some people disagree with the writer’s beliefs or arguments? 3. Do you agree or disagree with the things the writer would like you to believe? Why?
Topic, Main Idea, Supporting Details • Which of the animals in this passage are considered dangerous? • Which of the following materials are needed to make a sundial? • What is the main idea of this passage? • What is the main purpose of the information in the textbox? • Which detail from the passage best supports the main idea? • What information in this passage supports the idea that roller coasters are safe? • Which characteristic of sloth bears is most important for climbing and digging? • Another title for this passage might be –
Topic, Main Idea, Supporting Details • Distinguish between specific and general words • Distinguish between specific and general sentences • Identify the topic of a paragraph • Identify the controlling thought in a paragraph • Identify the topic sentence in the paragraph • Infer the main idea when a topic sentence is absent • Paraphrase the main idea • Identify supporting details in a paragraph • Use transition words to help understand the organization of the paragraph
Topic, Main Idea, Supporting Details • TOPIC:the subject of the whole paragraph • MAIN IDEA:the point that the whole paragraph makes • SUPPORTING DETAILS:the sentences that explain the main idea Identifying Main Ideas
What is a topic? "A topicis a word or phrase that tells what the author is writing about in a paragraph." (from Opening Doors, p.191) "The topicof a passage is a word or phrase that labels the subject but does not reveal the specific contents of the passage." (from Bridging the Gap: College Reading, p.124
What is a stated main idea? "A stated main idea is the sentence in a paragraph that contains both the topic and the author’s singlemost important point about the topic." (p.172, Opening Doors) "The main idea of a passage is the central message that the author is trying to convey about the material." (p.122, Bridging the Gap: College Reading)
To find the main idea of a paragraph or passage, ask yourself: What is the most important point the author wants me to understand about the topic?
Where can the main idea appear? • At the beginning of the paragraph • At the end of the paragraph • Within the paragraph • Implied in the paragraph
At the beginning of the paragraph: "Beginning a new job is always exciting and sometimes intimidating. There is an invigorating feeling of a fresh start and a clean slate. You face new challenges and draw on a renewed sense of energy as you approach them. But you may also feel apprehensive . . . " (p.196, Opening Doors)
At the end of the paragraph: “. . .Most Anglo-Americans, for instance, see the extensive family obligations of Hispanics as a burdensome arrangement that inhibits individual freedom. Hispanics, in contrast, view the isolated nuclear family of Anglo-Americans as a lonely institution that cuts people off from the love and assistance of their kin. This tendency to view one's own cultural patterns as good and right and those of others as strange or even immoral is called ethnocentrism."(p.197, Opening Doors)
Within the paragraph: " Jim always seems to score well on tests. How does he do it? Jim offers these tips for successful studying. The first step is to decide what to study. Find out what topics will be covered on the test. Next, organize your notes and other materials on these topics. Third, make study guides to use as memory aids. Your final step is to review your notes and study guides until you feel confident about taking the test."(from Becoming a Confident Reader, p.200)
"All organisms must insure that their offspring have a reasonable chance to survive and begin a new generation. Plants, however, face special challenges. Plants do not have nervous systems, and they are not able to run away from predators or pests. Because nearly all plants live in fixed positions, they must also manage to find mates without being able to move around. Therefore they have evolved strategies for dealing with these problems that are essentially passive. An important part of such strategies is a reproductive pattern enabling each individual to produce large numbers of offspring." (Levine and Miller, Biology, 1991)
The main idea in a paragraph is a general idea. In contrast, the supporting information in a paragraph is made up of specific ideas and details. To improve your skill at finding main ideas, you need to practice distinguishing between general and specific ideas. The general idea includes all the specific ideas. General vs. Specific
See if you can identify the general word in each group. a) jealousy hatred emotion worry b) spiders cockroaches mosquitoes insects c) chemistry science physics biology Answers and Explanations a) The general idea is "emotions" because it includes all of the others as examples. b) The general idea is "insects" because it includes all of the others as examples. c) The general idea is "science" because it includes all of the others as examples. Check It Out…
Identify main ideas: • General ideas: broad ideas that apply to a large number of individual items • Clothing • Pies • Specific ideas or terms: more detailed or particular; referring to an individual item • Scarf • Apple, cherry, chocolate cream Identifying Main Ideas
Soda, coffee, beverage, wine Pounds, ounces, kilograms, weights Soap operas, news, TV programs, sports special Sociology, social sciences, anthropology, psychology Which are general? Identifying Main Ideas
The main idea is the most general statement about the topic: People differ in numerous ways. They differ according to physical characteristics, such as height, weight, and hair color. They also differ in personality. Some people are friendly and easygoing. Others are more reserved and formal. Which is the most general statement? Identifying Main Ideas
What is the topic of the following? Nutrition is the process of taking in and using food for growth, repair, and maintenance of the body. The science of nutrition is the study of foods and how the body uses them. Many North Americans define nutrition as eating a healthful diet. But what is healthful? Our food choices may be influenced by fads, advertising, or convenience. We may reflect on the meaning of nutrition while pushing a cart down a supermarket aisle, or while making a selection from a restaurant menu.
Finding the Main Idea • Locate the Topic --person, place, object, idea • Locate the Most General Sentence --the topic sentence • Topic Sentence First (usually) • Topic Sentence Last (second in frequency) • Topic Sentence in the Middle • Topic Sentence First and Last (last = emphasis) • Study the Details—all the sentences in a paragraph must relate/support/explain the main idea.
Inferring Unstated Main Ideas • Find the topic. • Decide what the writer wants you to know about the topic. • Express this idea in your own words. Identifying Main Ideas
Good Reading on the Web Content Area Resources Supplement classroom text with PERSUASIVE text!!
Individual/Team Planning Analyze an upcoming reading assignment. How will you teach: • Main Ideas & Supporting Details • Author’s Purpose How will you supplement current classroom text with additional persuasive passages? • Good Reading on the Web
www.essdack.org “Staff Blogs” • “Kristi Orcutt” • or Search for “Louisburg Resources” • PowerPoint • Good Reading on the Web • Content Area Resources