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Main Idea

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Main Idea

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  1. Main Idea Chapter 3, part 1 Finding the Main Idea in the paragraph Identifying the Topic Sentence

  2. Due Next Class • Main Idea Lab and • Supporting Details Lab • Selection 12 Sections A and B • Test next class, Chapters 1, 2, and 3 • Bring your text book, Reading Across the Disciplines • Bring a Green Scantron and #2 pencil for the test.

  3. The Roof • Try to see the main idea as a roof. • It should be big enough to include everything in the reading passage. • But it shouldn’t be too big for the text.

  4. Finding the Main Idea   You are on your way to your Reading class, and your friend asks you about the movie you saw last night. Your friend doesn't have time to hear about the whole two hours of the movie, but you can tell you friend in a few sentences what the movie is about.

  5. If you can re-tell a movie in a few sentences, you can find the main idea in a story that you have read. The main idea is simply what the story is all about.

  6. What is the Main idea? • It is the author’s main point of the paragraph. • It is a general statement supported by most of the other information in the paragraph. • It is a complete sentence. • It is a statement, not a question • All the other sentences in the paragraph are supporting details that tell us more about the main idea.

  7. What’s it all About? The answer to this question is the main idea. The Main idea refers to what a paragraph or an article is about. "Main" means what is important, or key, the heart of the matter. "Idea" means the thought, the thesis or the topic.

  8. The main idea is a general one. The supporting ideas in the passage are specific ones. Which word is the most general: Potato or Vegetable? General Versus Specific

  9. What about the topic Sentence? • The topic sentence is the general subject of a reading passage. • To find the topic sentence , just ask yourself: “Who or what is this passage about?” • The topic can be expressed in a word or a phrase within a sentence. WHO? WHAT?

  10. The Topic Sentence • Many paragraphs have topic sentences that indicate what they are about. • Find the topic sentence in this paragraph: Homeless people have many problems. In winter, it’s hard to stay warm and it gets too hot in summer. It’s also hard to keep things safe without a home. Worst is the lack of privacy.

  11. Let’s try another one • Find the topic sentence or main idea of this paragraph.

  12. Get the Point? • Read this short paragraph: Engineers create wealth for society. So, tennis is a game and the resources of the earth are scarce. Have you gone mad? Thus the only solution is to educate the public on being socially responsible.

  13. Get the Point? • We would go crazy if texts were written like this all the time. • It was difficult to understand because it was made of different ideas that did not link. There was no common thread. • The good news is that normal passages have main ideas!

  14. Finding the Main Idea In English paragraphs, the Main Idea will most likely be found in one of these five places: • in the first sentence • in the last sentence • in the middle of the paragraph • in two sentences of the paragraph • not stated in the paragraph directly (implied)

  15. Despite the hatred that most people feel toward cockroaches, they do help humans in several ways. For example, they are perfect experimental animals and are used for scientific research in the laboratory. Breeding them is easy, for they thrive under almost any conditions. In studies on nutrition and food, cockroaches are good subjects because they will eat any kind of food. They can be used to study heart disease, and cancer researchers work with roaches because they grow cancerous tumors like those that are found in humans.

  16. About 300 million years ago, long before dinosaurs ruled the earth, the cockroach already had been here for a long time. We can only guess at why it has not become extinct, but the physical assets of the cockroach provide a major reason for its survival. The cockroach's body is very flat, allowing it to slip into tiny cracks and crevices, and its six strong running legs give it unmatched powers of escape. Two small feelers detect movements and changes in air currents, thus warning the insect of approaching danger. The cockroach's two large eyes are made up of hundreds of tiny, separate eyes which are very good for seeing movements - an ability that helps a roach escape its enemies.

  17. Making a study schedule is one important step in becoming a successful student in college. Students should schedule one hour of study time for every one hour of class time. At exam time, more study time may be necessary. Also, students must study in an appropriate place. It is important to study in a quiet place away from the distraction of other people and such things as the television and the radio. Students should find a comfortable place with plenty of space for all the necessary study supplies. Then, students need to study the information in small amounts. It is a good idea to learn the required concepts slowly and thoroughly instead of trying to learn everything on the evening before the exam. Students who want to be successful in college should remember these three helpful study strategies.

  18. Television can be an excellent teacher for everyone from very young children to the oldest of viewers. Television entertains young children with sights and songs. Television provides company for older viewers who are stuck at home with no one to talk to. New immigrants can learn English just by turning on the television. All viewers can keep informed on the latest events around the world by watching the news. While there are many great things about television, there are also many bad things. Over time, television shows have begun to show more and more violence, death and murder. The bad language and profanity on some shows make them unsuitable for families. The number of shows which deal with sex outside of marriage also shocks many viewers. And these terrible scenes are sometimes copied by young, impressionable viewers.

  19. But what if…… • The main idea is not stated directly. • You can’t find one sentence that best tells about the entire paragraph. • You have lots of details but nothing that ties them together. • Then you have an IMPLIED MAIN IDEA.

  20. Every game from the latest multimedia games to old favorites like cards and chess can be played on home computers. Home computers are used to balance family finances, to complete banking transactions, and even to do the grocery shopping. Those computers which are equipped with a modem allow users to go "online" to "chat" with others -- that is, people can have a conversation on the computer about anything from being in love to getting medical advice. And of course students use home computers to type up school reports, to research their papers for classes and even to do the calculations for math homework.

  21. Implied Main Ideas • The word “imply” means to suggest—the idea is not stated clearly. • When the main idea is not stated clearly, the reader must figure out the main idea by considering the supporting details.

  22. Finding the Implied Main Idea • First, find the topic. Ask: Who or what is the selection about? • After finding the topic, ask: What is the author’s main point about the topic? (This means to infer, or figure out on your own, the author’s unstated main idea.)

  23. Finding the Implied Main Idea • Next, test your inference. Ask: Does all or most of the material in the paragraph support this idea? If your answer is “no,” then make other inferences, testing each until you find what inference most of the material in the paragraph supports. • Finally, write the implied main idea in your own words.

  24. What’s the Implied Main Idea? SINGLE BLACK FEMALE seeks male companionship, ethnicity unimportant. I'm a very good girl who LOVES to play. I love long walks in the woods, riding in your pickup truck, hunting, camping and fishing trips, cozy winter nights lying by the fire. Candlelight dinners will have me eating out of your hand. I'll be at the front door when you get home from work, wearing only what nature gave me. Call  (404) 875-6420  and ask for Daisy, I'll be waiting....

  25. This has to be one of the best singles ads ever printed. It is reported to have been listed in the Atlanta Journal. Over 15,000 men found themselves talking to the Atlanta Humane Society...

  26. Over 15,000 men found themselves talking to the Atlanta Humane Society...

  27. Answering Questions about the main idea You can now determine where the Main Idea is located within a paragraph. Once you can identify where the main idea is, you can move on to the next step -- showing that you understand what the main idea is, or telling what the paragraph or article is about. If you can talk or write about the main idea, then it is clear that you have understood what you have read.

  28. There are usually two types of main idea questions: 1. Multiple Choice Questions: You are given four or five choices and must choose the best main idea statement. • First identify the sentence that best states the main idea. • Then choose the statement from the answer choices that is closest in meaning to the sentence that you think is the main idea. 

  29. 2. Writing questions: you are asked to write a sentence to state the main idea in your own words. • This question asks you to state the main idea in "your own sentence." • This means that you cannot copy a sentence that has already been written by someone else, including a sentence from the paragraph.

  30. A main idea sentence has two parts, usually called the topic and the controlling idea. If you like math, think of it as an equation: MIS = T + CI

  31. Use the hints below to determine the correct main idea of this paragraph. • After reading a paragraph ask, "What point is the author making in this passage?" • Ask the following questions: Who - Does this passage discuss a person or group of people? When - Does the information contain a reference to time? Where - Does the text name a place? Why - Do you find a reason or explanation for something that happened? How - Does this information indicate a method or a theory?

  32. If you are able to summarize the information in the passage in your own words,you have absorbed the correct main idea. To accomplish this goal, try the steps listed below after reading a short section of your textbook. • Write a short summary in your own words about what you have read. • Does your summary agree with this general topic? • Does your summary contain the same ideas being expressed by the author? • Could you write a headline (or textbook subheading) that would express your summary in less than five words?

  33. It is important to find main ideas when reading. Main ideas help readers remember important information. The main idea of a paragraph tells the topic of the paragraph. The topic tells what all or most of the sentences are about. The other sentences in the paragraph are called details. Details describe or explain the main idea.

  34. Supporting Details Activity – Take about 5 minutes. Take out a piece of paper… Write a detailed set of directions to get from your house to the school. Start at your driveway. When you are finished, I will ask for volunteers to share their directions.

  35. Pets are often an important part of people’s lives. Different types of animals can be pets, ranging from reptiles to horses. One of the most common pets is a dog. Dogs serve a variety of purposes for humankind. One way dogs serve humans is they are great just for companionship. Many an only child has bonded with his/her “Fido,” thus having a willing and loyal friend to play with on a daily basis. Additionally, dogs have served humans as work animals, corralling sheep, conquering rats, and guarding the homestead. Finally, dogs also assist people, for example, by leading the blind, alerting the deaf, and alerting epileptics of impending seizures.

  36. The Main Idea…Because the whole paragraph is telling us about the variety of purposes dog serve for humankind, that’s the main idea!Now examine the rest of the paragraph: One way dogs serve humans is they are great just for companionship. Many an only child has bonded with his/her “Fido,” thus having a willing and loyal friend to play with on a daily basis. Additionally, dogs have served humans as work animals, corralling sheep, conquering rats, and guarding the homestead. Finally, dogs also assist people, for example, by leading the blind, alerting the deaf, and alerting epileptics of impending seizures.

  37. You probably noticed that the rest of the paragraph gave us specific information about the variety of purposes dogs serve for humankind. Those sentences are called supporting details because the support (or prove) the main idea. Now let’s analyze this paragraph—in other words, let’s look at how this paragraph is organized.

  38. Main Idea: Dogs serve a variety of purposes for humankind. 1. One way dogs serve humans is they are great just for companionship.2. Additionally, dogs have served humans as work animals, 3. Dogs also assist people,

  39. Let’s look at this organization another way: • Main Idea Dogs serve a variety of purposes for humankind Maj. SD. 1 Maj. SD 2 Maj. SD3 One way dogs Additionally, Dogs also assist Serve humans is dogs have people They are great served humans For companionship as work animals

  40. You probably noticed that the main idea is supported by three (3) points. Those three points are called major supporting details because they are the major details that support or prove the main idea.

  41. But is that all that’s necessary for a good paragraph? -- just a main idea and two or three major supporting details? Let’s see how this would look as a paragraph: Dogs serve a variety of purposes for humankind. One way dogs serve humans is they are great just for companionship. Additionally, dogs have served humans as work animals. Finally, dogs also assist people.How’s that for a paragraph! Kinda short, huh? It’s well-organized, but it needs something more.

  42. What this paragraph needs is something called “minor” supporting details. Remember the “major” supporting details? One way dogs serve humans is they are great just for companionship. Additionally, dogs have served humans as work animals. Dogs also assist people. Well, each of these supporting details needs more explanation and/examples.

  43. Watch how major and minor supporting details make up the parts of a paragraph. If I said to you, “Hey, dogs serve a variety of purposes for humankind,” and then I walked away, you’d be left with some questions, like “well, what are these purposes?” The major supporting details answer this question. Me: Dogs serve a variety of purposes for humankind.You: Well, what are these purposes?Me: They are great for companionship, they serve as work animals, and they assist people.