2. Reading is the key to the door of
knowledge and information. By reading a
reader can find a lot of information that
he/she does not know before. However,
reading has several techniques that a
reader should know and apply in order to
be able to grasp information easily. One
of the many techniques of reading is to
locate the main ideas of the passage.
3. Finding the Main Idea
1. Read the title. Some paragraphs or
passages will have a heading or title that
describes the main idea of the passage. If
a title is "Popular Garden Flowers" then
the following paragraph will likely
describe what kinds of flowers are
common in gardens.
4. Finding the Main Idea
2. Read the first sentence of the paragraph.
Many paragraphs begin with a topic
sentence that outlines the main idea or
point of the entire passage. The
sentences that follow the topic sentence
provide supporting details. For instance,
read the following passage.
5. Finding the Main Idea
• "Roses are a popular type of flower in
gardens. Roses are easy to grow and
beautiful to look at. Roses give off a
pleasant aroma once they are in bloom.
Even though roses have thorns, they
remain a common choice for gardeners."
The first sentence lets us know that all
subsequent sentences will be discussing
the popularity of roses.
6. Finding the Main Idea
3. Read the passage from beginning to end.
If the main idea is not stated in the first
sentence, it may be stated in the last
sentence. In the following passage, the main
idea is in the final sentence. "Daisies, lillies,
and roses are good flowers for gardeners.
They are easy to grow and look beautiful.
7. Finding the Main Idea
Carnations are also a popular choice
because they come in many colors. In
warm climates hibiscus flowers are
popular, but in cold climates grasses and
hearty bushes are the plants of choice.
There are many popular flower choices
available to gardeners." The last sentence
summarizes the list that precedes it.
8. Finding the Main Idea
4. Read the full passage. If the first and last
sentences do not identify the main idea, use
a highlighter while rereading the paragraph.
Highlight words or ideas that repeat
themselves. Highlight phrases that begin
with marker phrases like, "The most
important aspect is..." or, "It's most
interesting that..." Ideas that are repeated
are likely evidence of the author's main idea.
9. Finding the Main Idea
The following passage repeats a concept
throughout that leads to the main idea.
"Water, soil, sun exposure, and climate are
all factors that contribute to flower
growth. Choosing the right flowers for
your garden should depend on these
factors. There are many varieties of
flowers available to gardeners.
10. Finding the Main Idea
Exotic flowers require more care than
popular flowers. Common flowers are
usually easy to care for but still visually
interesting." The repetition of the words
"flower", "care", and "common/popular"
suggest that the passage is about common
flower varieties and the reasons they are
11. Finding the Main Idea
5. After reading the passage, place it face
down in front of you. Use a clean sheet of
paper and rewrite what you remember
from the passage. It is likely that the key
ideas you remember are the author's main
points. After you make your list, reread the
paragraph. If there are any major points
that are not on your list, you likely have
not identified the main idea.
12. Types of Main Idea
1. Stated- the main idea is directly
stated in the paragraph.
13. Types of Main Idea
Australian is currently undergoing a period of
significant economic, educational and training reform.
The catalyst for the reform has been falling inflation,
increased unemployment and changing world trading
patterns in the period since 1981. In response, the
Australian government has focused attention on the
fragility of the economy and the need to act urgently to
reform, if it is to remain competitive on the world
market. Under the Organization for Economic
Cooperation and Development (OECD), there is
growing acceptance that vocational education and
training are an important component of economic
14. Types of Main Idea
2. Implied – the main idea is not
directly stated in the paragraph.
15. Types of Main Idea
How do migrating animals find their destination?
They navigate in a variety of ways. Fish use their sense
of smell to recognize their migration paths and are
guided by changing water temperatures. Birds use the
position of the sun to orient themselves. Some birds
have magnetic particles in their ear mechanisms that
act as a compass. Mammals rely on their memory.
Some elephant trails have been used for hundreds of
16. Types of Main Idea
Implied main idea:
Migrating animals navigate in a variety of ways.
17. Positions of Topic Sentence in a
The topic sentence of a paragraph may be
in the first or last sentence. The topic
sentence may also be the first and last
sentence of the paragraph—“sandwichstyle.” The second topic sentence in the
“sandwich-style” paragraph also serves as a
18. Positions of Topic Sentence in a
1. Topic sentence at the beginning of the paragraph
Hurricanes, which are also called cyclones,
exert tremendous power. These violent storms are
often a hundred miles in diameter, and their winds
can reach velocities” of seventy-five miles per hour or
more. Furthermore, the strong winds and heavy
rainfall that accompany them can completely destroy a
small town in a couple of hours. The energy that is
released by a hurricane in one day exceeds the total
energy consumed by humankind throughout the world
in one year.
19. Positions of Topic Sentence in a
2. Topic sentence at the end of a paragraph
Albert Einstein, one of the world’s geniuses,
failed his university entrance examination on his
attempt. William Faulkner, one of America’s noted
writers, never finished college because he could not
pass hid English courses. Sir Winston Churchill, who
is considered one of the masters of the English
language, had to have special tutoring in English
during elementary school. These examples show that
failure in school does not always predict failure in life.
20. Positions of Topic Sentence in a
3. Topic sentence at beginning and ending of the
Synonyms, words that have the same basic
meaning, do not always have the same emotional
meaning. For example, the words ‘stingy” and “frugal”
both mean “careful with money.” However, to call a
person stingy is an insult, while the word frugal has a
much more positive connotation. Similarly, a person
wants to be slender but not skinny, and aggressive not
pushy. Therefore, you should be careful in choosing
words because many so-called synonyms are not really
synonymous at all.