Finding the Main Idea, Making Inferences,Drawing Conclusions, and SummarizingMs. Johnson and Mr. Van Treese
Main Idea The main idea of a paragraph is different from the topic. The topic: what the paragraph is about. The main idea: what the author says about the subject.
Why mightreaders havedifficultyidentifying themain idea of apassage?
Main Idea…. Stated at the beginning of a passage Stated at the end of a passage Stated within of a passage Implied within the passage
What aresomestrategies for identifyingthe main ideaof a passage?
Main Idea Formula Topic+ What author says about topic+ Author’s purpose= Main Idea
To find the main idea of a paragraph or passage, ask yourself: What is the most important pointthe author wants me to understand about the topic?
The main idea is the most general statement about the topic:People differ in numerous ways.They differ according to physicalcharacteristics, such as height,weight, and hair color. They alsodiffer in personality. Some peopleare friendly and easygoing. Othersare more reserved and formal. Which is the most general statement? Identifying Main Ideas
At the beginning of the paragraph:"Beginning a new job is always exciting andsometimes intimidating. There is aninvigorating feeling of a fresh start and aclean slate. You face new challenges anddraw on a renewed sense of energy as youapproach them. But you may also feelapprehensive . . . " (p.196, Opening Doors)
At the end of the paragraph:“. . .Most Anglo-Americans, for instance, see theextensive family obligations of Hispanics as aburdensome arrangement that inhibits individualfreedom. Hispanics, in contrast, view the isolatednuclear family of Anglo-Americans as a lonely institutionthat cuts people off from the love and assistance of theirkin. This tendency to view ones own cultural patternsas good and right and those of others as strange oreven immoral is called ethnocentrism." (p.197, Opening Doors)
Within the paragraph:" Jim always seems to score well on tests. Howdoes he do it? Jim offers these tips forsuccessful studying. The first step is to decidewhat to study. Find out what topics will becovered on the test. Next, organize your notesand other materials on these topics. Third,make study guides to use as memory aids. Yourfinal step is to review your notes and studyguides until you feel confident about taking thetest." (from Becoming aConfident Reader, p.200)
"All organisms must insure that their offspring havea reasonable chance to survive and begin a newgeneration. Plants, however, face special challenges.Plants do not have nervous systems, and they arenot able to run away from predators or pests.Because nearly all plants live in fixed positions, theymust also manage to find mates without being ableto move around. Therefore they have evolvedstrategies for dealing with these problems that areessentially passive. An important part of suchstrategies is a reproductive pattern enabling eachindividual to produce large numbers of offspring."
Finding the Stated Main Idea1. Locate the Topic2. Locate the Most General Sentence /Thesis (if there is one) 1. Check topic sentences: 2. Topic Sentence First (usually) 3. Topic Sentence Last (second in frequency) 4. Topic Sentence in the Middle 5. Topic Sentence First and Last (last = emphasis)3. Study the Details—all the sentences in a paragraph must relate/support/explain the main idea.
Inferring Unstated Main Ideas1. Find the topic.2. Decide what the writer wants you to know about the topic.3. Consider the author’s purpose or perspective on the topic.4. Express this idea in your own words. Identifying Main Ideas
Making Inferences and Drawing Conclusions “Reading between the lines.” Using clues from the text to figure out what the author is trying get across. Some ideas are not stated directly in the text; YOU have to draw your own conclusions about what is going on.
What conclusions can we draw by making inferences aboutthis picture? http://en.beijing2008.cn/photo/
What is going on in this story?“He put down $10 at the window.The woman behind the window gave$4. The person next to him gave $3,but he gave it back to her. So, whenthey went inside, she bought him alarge bag of popcorn.”
Guided Practice See “Ordeal by Cheque.” Work with a partner or small group to use clues from the checks to construct a story.
Independent Practice See “Implicit Main Ideas Student Page.” Use the skills that we’ve practiced to make inferences and draw conclusions about the main ideas in the two passages on the handout.
SummaryWhat makes a good summary? Shorter than the main text. Contains the main ideas. Does not contain all of the supporting details. Follows the text structure and order of the main text.
Modeling See “Gardening with Native Plants” handout. Read article as a class. What is the main idea? What supporting details can we leave out? What is the text structure? Now, using these ideas, we can write a good summary.
Summary of “Native Plants” articleAlthough native plants are beautiful andimportant to wildlife, they aredisappearing. People can easily grownative plants in their gardens becausethey are accustomed to the conditions ofan area. When choosing a native plant,think about the plant’s needs. Be surethat you have the right amount ofsunlight, moisture, and appropriate spaceto accommodate plant size.
Guided Practice Summarize the story “A Room Full of Silly Clowns”. Use the “Give Me a Hand!” graphic organizer. Trace your hand on a sheet of paper. On each finger, list a key point from the story. After you have five key points, write a 3-5 sentence summary.
Putting It All Together Individually, look at the article “Bone Up on Bone Loss! Exercise to Build Healthy Bones!” Before reading the article, look at the subheadings and text boxes in the article. What inferences can you make about the main idea of the article? Write down what you think the main idea of the article will be.
Now go back and read the article. Was your prediction right? What is the main idea of the article? How do you know? Now read the four summary choices. Choose the best summary. Why? For each of the other choices, explain why it is not the best.