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Sorting Important and Unimportant Information. From Reading Innovations. What is the difference between Important and Unimportant Information?. The important information in a paragraph or article is related to the main idea or topic.  .

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sorting important and unimportant information

Sorting Important and Unimportant Information

From Reading Innovations

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what is the difference between important and unimportant information
What is the difference between Important and Unimportant Information?
  • The important information in a paragraph or article is related to the main idea or topic.  
  • Unimportant information may be interesting or help make the writing more colorful, but it is not about the main idea or topic.

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why is sorting important and unimportant information a useful strategy
Why is sorting important and unimportant information a useful strategy?
  • When we read a story or article, it is impossible to remember every word we read.
  • We must decide what the important parts are that help us understand the main idea, and what parts we don’t need to remember.  
  • The important information should give us the “BIG PICTURE”.

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how do we sort important from unimportant information
How do we sort important from unimportant information?
  • The first step is to identify the main idea or topic of what we are reading.
  • Make sure to set a purpose for reading.  What will you learn from the text?
  • Then, as we read, we should think about how the details relate to the main idea.  
  • Important Information usually answers the questions:  who, where, when, what, how and why.

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modeled practice
Modeled Practice

Using the following passage, I will “think aloud” to decide what

information is the most important to remember from the text.

Wind Power

Wind can make electricity. Do you know what a wind farm is? Wind farms do not grow corn or wheat. Instead of crops, wind farms have wind turbines. They are giant windmills. Each one is taller than a 20-story building. Wind spins these turbines. That turning runs machines. The machines make electricity.

The United States powers about 4.5 million homes with wind power. Wind farms produce power without making air, land, or water dirty. That's not all. We'll never run out of wind! Article by Beth Geiger , National Geographic Explorer, Sept. Issue p. 18

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modeled practice6
Modeled Practice

Step 1: What is the main idea?

Wind Power

The title helps me

The first sentence helps me

Wind can make electricity.

Step 2: What is my purpose for reading?

The passage is about wind power, I learned how electricity is made from the wind.

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modeled practice7
Modeled Practice

Step 3: What are the most important details that support the main idea?

Wind can make electricity. Do you know what a wind farm is? Wind farms do not grow corn or wheat. Instead of crops, wind farms have wind turbines. They are giant windmills. Each one is taller than a 20-story building. Wind spins these turbines. That turning runs machines. The machines make electricity.

Let’s look at the first paragraph. What information should we remember?

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modeled practice8
Modeled Practice

Let’s look at the second paragraph. What information should we remember?

TheUnited States powers about 4.5 million homes with wind power. Wind farms produce power without making air, land, or water dirty. That's not all. We'll never run out of wind!

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modeled practice9
Modeled Practice

Step 4: Make a list of the most important details to summarize the text.

Wind makes electricity

Wind farms have turbines (windmills)

Turbines spin by wind to run machines

Machine makes electricity

U.S. powers 4.5 million homes

Wind power doesn’t cause pollution

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let s review the steps
Let’s Review the Steps
  • Find the main idea by looking at the title or other keywords. Look for a topic sentence at the beginning of the text.
  • Set a purpose for reading. What will you learn? What questions do you have about the topic? What do you already know about the topic?
  • Read each sentence and find information that supports the main idea of the text.
  • Finally, make a list of the important details to summarize the text.

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guided practice
Guided Practice

The Great Quake of 1906

Using the following passage, think about what the main idea

Is. Write down the important details that support the topic.

Think back to 1906. It was April 18 in San Francisco. A woman woke to something strange. Her house rocked. She later wrote, "I was wakened by the crash of falling furniture."

What started the shaking? Blame the San Andreas Fault. It lies below the city. It is 600 miles long. A fault is a crack between two plates. A plate is part of Earth’s surface. Plates fit together like huge puzzle pieces. The plates usually move slowly. Sometimes a plate makes a big move. One plate moved 20 feet that day. It was an earthquake.

The woman and her husband were fine. Then things got worse. The city caught fire! The woman saw flames everywhere that night.

Article by Beth Geiger , National Geographic Explorer, pages 10-17 of the April 2006 issue.

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guided practice12
Guided Practice

Find more details to support the main idea

The Great Quake of 1906 continued

People had to escape. They took what they could. Some left by boat. Many went to the edge of the city. They gathered in parks. San Francisco was almost destroyed by fire. Many people lost their homes. So did the woman and her husband. They stayed with friends whose houses were safe. What would they do next?

Some people felt hopeless. Many were glad just to be alive. Help came from all over the world. The U.S. Army set up camps in parks. They kept the camps safe. The city built thousands of green cottages. People rented them for a few dollars. Later, they bought them.

Article by Beth Geiger , National Geographic Explorer, pages 10-17 of the April 2006 issue.

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guided practice13
Guided Practice

Step 1: What is the main Idea?

When

Where

What

On April 18th 1906 San Francisco had an earthquake.

Step 2: What is my purpose for reading?

I learned what happened on April 18th when the

earthquake hit San Francisco.

Step 3: Go back and look for the most important details that support the main idea.

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guided practice14
Guided Practice

Step 4: Make a list of the most important details to summarize the text.

April 18th in San Francisco

On April 18th 1906 San Francisco had an earthquake.

San Andres Fault, 600 miles long

Moved 20 feet that day causing an earthquake

The city caught on fire

People had to escape and lost their homes

San Francisco was almost destroyed by fire

U.S. Army set up camps and built green cottages to help

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independent practice
Independent Practice

Using an article given to you by your teacher,

read the article through once, and then go back to sort

through the important information using the steps below.

Step 1: What is the main idea? Think about the Big Idea

Step 2: What is my purpose for reading? Think about what you learned

Step 3: What are the most important details that support the main idea? Think about the “W” questions

Step 4: Make a list of the most important details to summarize the text. Try to use your own words

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summary
Summary
  • The important information in a paragraph or article is related to the main idea or topic.  
  • The important information should give us the “BIG PICTURE”.
  • Important Information usually answers the questions:  who, where, when, what, how and why.

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online resources for important vs unimportant information
Online Resources for Important vs Unimportant Information

Find more information about this skill:

http://www.readinginnovations.com/Comprehension/ImportantandUnimportantInformation.html

Find great articles to use for practicing this skill:

http://magma.nationalgeographic.com/ngexplorer/pioneer/articles/

http://www.timeforkids.com/TFK/teachers/wr

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