IRW Chapter 5
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IRW Chapter 5

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  • Paragraph: a group of sentences (at least 4-5) that focuses on a single idea. They are made up of topics, main ideas/topic sentences, and supporting details.Topic: the one thing a paragraph is about.Main Idea: the point the paragraph makes about a topic.Topic Sentence: The sentence that states the paragraph’s main idea. Topic sentences are usually general.Supporting Details: The sentences that explain the topic sentence using examples, facts, and reasons. They will get more specific as your paragraph develops.These elements of a paragraph provide an easy-to-follow structure for expressing ideas clearly. You can create an idea map (see page 145) to visualize how these pieces work together to develop a paragraph.Activity: Use Exercise 5-2 on page 147. Ask students to provide specific examples for the general ones given. This may be done individually or in groups, and answers will vary.
  • Every sentence in the paragraph is relevant to the topic. Look for repeated words, terms, and phrases in the paragraph. Ask yourself: what is the ONE main point or idea the author is expressing throughout the entire paragraph?Activity:Either using your own paragraphs or those provided in Exercise 5-3 on pages 148–150, ask students to locate the main idea (multiple choice in exercise) of each paragraph. Additionally, ask students to keep track in a journal or online discussion post as to WHY they chose specific answers.
  • Like we already learned, determine the general subject the paragraph is about.This sentence is broad enough to include all the other ideas in the paragraph.It covers all the details and examples in the paragraph. Topic sentences are usually the first (most often) or last sentence in a paragraph. Sometimes an author will use the topic sentence at the beginning of a paragraph and reiterate it at the end for emphasis.The main idea makes the rest of the paragraph meaningful. Every sentence, example, reason, and detail in the paragraph must relate back to the main idea. Activity: Using your own paragraphs or the paragraphs in Exercise 5-4 on pages 153-155, ask that students identify the main idea/topic sentence in each paragraph. Additionally, ask students to explain WHY they chose their respective answers. This may be done as an in-class discussion or an online follow up exercise.
  • To think critically about main ideas, you will often have to distinguish fact from opinion (See Chapter 13 for more details). It is up to the reader to determine if the author is leaving out information or presenting a biased point of view. Often, authors will express their own viewpoints in a writing without considering other views on the topic. As a reader, you must think about the other angles and points of view on the topic. What is the author leaving out or not considering?
  • Topics should be general but provide enough details to interest the readers. Topics should not be too broad. Broad topics are topics that have too many examples and details that could be reasonably covered in your paper. Narrow topics are the opposite—topics so overly focused that you cannot provide enough details and examples. As you compose your sentences, review them to determine if they are manageable for the paper you must write. A topic like “Sports are my favorite activity” is too broad. “Football is my favorite sport” is a better topic because it is specific, but not so specific you cannot provide enough details.Activity:Using your own topics or those in Exercise 5-8 on page 159, determine if the topic sentences are general or specific.
  • Topic sentence should state main point of paragraph.Manageable topic—not too broad or narrow as we discussed.Avoid fragments and run-ons!While we noted topic sentences can be anywhere in a paragraph, it is best to begin by making the topic sentence the first in your paragraph until you are more comfortable in your writing.Do not state your topic directly (Example: “This paper will discuss….” or “The topic of this paper is….” or “I will explain….” Instead, state your main point (Example: “Texting and driving is a dangerous activity.”).
  • Answer: B—Footnotes
  • Answer: B—Footnotes
  • Answers: TrueFalse: The topic is the ONE main idea the author is expressing in a paragraph. Two or three topics in a single paragraph would be unorganized and confusing.
  • Answers: TrueFalse: The topic is the ONE main idea the author is expressing in a paragraph. Two or three topics in a single paragraph would be unorganized and confusing.
  • Answer: D—the topic sentence is usually at the beginning of a paragraph, but can also be located at the end.
  • Answer: D—the topic sentence is usually at the beginning of a paragraph, but can also be located at the end.
  • Answers:FalseTrue
  • Answers:FalseTrue
  • Answer: A—avoid “announcing” your topic!
  • Answer: A—avoid “announcing” your topic!

IRW Chapter 5 Presentation Transcript

  • 1. In Concert: An Integrated Reading and Writing Approach by Kathleen T. McWhorter Part Two: Reading, Writing, and Organizing Paragraphs Chapter 5: Topics, Main Ideas, and Topic Sentences PowerPoint by Sarah Gilliam, Instructor of English Mountain Empire Community College
  • 2. Chapter 5: Topics, Main Ideas, and Topic Sentences Copyright 2014 by Pearson Education, Inc. All rights reserved.
  • 3. Important Terms Paragraphs are made up of topics, main ideas/topic sentences, and supporting details. 1. Topic 2. Main Idea 3. Topic Sentence 4. Supporting Details Copyright 2014 by Pearson Education, Inc. All rights reserved.
  • 4. How do I know the topic of a paragraph? Consider: • What is the ONE idea the author discusses throughout the paragraph? • Look for repeated words or phrases Copyright 2014 by Pearson Education, Inc. All rights reserved.
  • 5. The main idea is the most important sentence in a paragraph. It is also the most general sentence in the entire paragraph. How do I locate the main idea of a paragraph? Copyright 2014 by Pearson Education, Inc. All rights reserved.
  • 6. Strategies to locate the main idea: 1. Identify the topic 2. Locate the most general sentence (topic sentence) 3. Study the rest of the paragraph Copyright 2014 by Pearson Education, Inc. All rights reserved.
  • 7. How do I think critically about main ideas? Consider: • Main ideas can be, but are not always, fact • Main ideas can be the author’s opinion • Main ideas do not always present all sides of a story Copyright 2014 by Pearson Education, Inc. All rights reserved.
  • 8. The Function of Topic Sentences: 1. To make clear what the paragraph is about (the topic) 2. To express a view or make a point (about the topic) Helpful Tip: Make sure topics are not too broad or too narrow Copyright 2014 by Pearson Education, Inc. All rights reserved.
  • 9. Strategies for Writing Effective Topic Sentences: 1. The topic sentence should state the main point of the paragraph 2. Choose a manageable topic 3. Make sure the topic sentence is a complete thought 4. Place your topic sentence first in the paragraph to begin 5. Avoid “announcing” your topic Copyright 2014 by Pearson Education, Inc. All rights reserved.
  • 10. Goal 1: Structure a Paragraph Review Questions Which of the following does NOT make up a paragraph? A. Topics B. Footnotes C. Supporting Details D. Main ideas/topic sentences Copyright 2014 by Pearson Education, Inc. All rights reserved.
  • 11. Goal 1: Structure a Paragraph Review Questions Which of the following does NOT make up a paragraph? A. Topics B. Footnotes C. Supporting Details D. Main ideas/topic sentences Copyright 2014 by Pearson Education, Inc. All rights reserved.
  • 12. Goal 2: Identify the Topic of a Paragraph Review Questions True or False: Looking for repeated words and phrases in a paragraph is an effective strategy for identifying its topic. True or False: The author usually has two or three topics per paragraph. Copyright 2014 by Pearson Education, Inc. All rights reserved.
  • 13. Goal 2: Identify the Topic of a Paragraph Review Questions True or False: True: Looking for repeated words and phrases in a paragraph is an effective strategy for identifying its topic. True or False: False: The author usually has two or three topics per paragraph. Copyright 2014 by Pearson Education, Inc. All rights reserved.
  • 14. Goal 3: Locate Main Ideas Review Questions The main idea or topic sentence of a paragraph can be located: A. At the beginning of the paragraph B. At the end of the paragraph C. Neither A nor B D. Both A and B Copyright 2014 by Pearson Education, Inc. All rights reserved.
  • 15. Goal 3: Locate Main Ideas Review Questions The main idea or topic sentence of a paragraph can be located: A. At the beginning of the paragraph B. At the end of the paragraph C. Neither A nor B D. Both A and B Copyright 2014 by Pearson Education, Inc. All rights reserved.
  • 16. Goal 4: Think Critically About Main Ideas Review Questions True or False: The main idea of a paragraph is always fact. True or False: The author’s opinion can be the main idea of a paragraph. Copyright 2014 by Pearson Education, Inc. All rights reserved.
  • 17. Goal 4: Think Critically About Main Ideas Review Questions True or False: False: The main idea of a paragraph is always fact. True or False: True: The author’s opinion can be the main idea of a paragraph. Copyright 2014 by Pearson Education, Inc. All rights reserved.
  • 18. Goal 5: Write Effective Topic Sentences Review Questions Which of the following is NOT an effective strategy for writing topic sentences? A. Start your topic sentence, “This essay will discuss…” B. To start, put your topic sentence at the beginning of the paragraph C. The topic sentence should be the main idea of the paragraph D. Don’t choose a topic that is too narrow Copyright 2014 by Pearson Education, Inc. All rights reserved.
  • 19. Goal 5: Write Effective Topic Sentences Review Questions Which of the following is NOT an effective strategy for writing topic sentences? A. Start your topic sentence, “This essay will discuss…” B. To start, put your topic sentence at the beginning of the paragraph C. The topic sentence should be the main idea of the paragraph D. Don’t choose a topic that is too narrow Copyright 2014 by Pearson Education, Inc. All rights reserved.