English 52 – Topic & Main Idea
E. Buchanan, Porterville College
The Main Idea

Recognizing the main idea, or point, is
the most important key to good
comprehension.
To find the main idea...
Main Idea = Umbrella

The Main Idea is a complete sentence that gives the
general idea of what a paragraph or reading is a...
How do you recognize the Main Idea?

To recognize the main idea of a passage, you must
think as you read.
You cannot be a ...
1. Look for General vs. Specific

In the list of words below, which three items are
specific ideas, and which item is the ...
1. Look for general vs. specific details
Let’s read the paragraph below and figure out what the main
idea is.
Why would an...
The specific details support the main
idea.
Why would anyone want to leave San Diego, California.
San Diego has absolutely...
2. Use the Topic to Lead You to the
Main Idea
The topic is the general subject of a reading selection.
Knowing the topic c...
2. Use the Topic to Lead You to the
Main Idea
In looking at the previous paragraph again, what do you
think the topic of t...
The topic will usually be repeated
several times within the paragraph.
Why would anyone want to leave San Diego, Californi...
More Practice

Practice 6 & 7: Ten Steps, Page 65-68
You may do this with a partner or on your own.
If you do not have you...
3. Find and Use Clue Words to Lead
You to the Main Idea
Sometimes an author announces the main idea by
using clue words or...
3. Find and Use Clue Words to Lead
You to the Main Idea
Here are some common words that often announce
a main idea:

List ...
3. Find and Use Clue Words to Lead
You to the Main Idea
Another type of key word is the addition word.
It is generally use...
3. Find and Use Clue Words to Lead
You to the Main Idea
Here are some common words that often introduce
supporting details...
List Words & Addition Words

There are several reasons why you should move to
San Diego. First of all, the beaches are one...
Let’s Create a Main Idea Quiz

Everyone is going to write a paragraph. It can be about
anything you are interested in.
Ide...
Topic, Main Idea, List Words, Addition
Words
Did you know that 46 million young adults are eligible to
vote in the Novembe...
Main Idea Quiz

On Wednesday we are going to play a game with the
paragraphs. The paragraphs with the highest scores
will ...
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English 83 r – topic & main idea

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English 83 r – topic & main idea

  1. 1. English 52 – Topic & Main Idea E. Buchanan, Porterville College
  2. 2. The Main Idea Recognizing the main idea, or point, is the most important key to good comprehension. To find the main idea, or point in a reading selection, ask yourself: “What is the main point the author is trying to make?”
  3. 3. Main Idea = Umbrella The Main Idea is a complete sentence that gives the general idea of what a paragraph or reading is all about. The other material of the paragraph fits under the general point. When you think of the main idea, think of an umbrella covering the passage of reading.
  4. 4. How do you recognize the Main Idea? To recognize the main idea of a passage, you must think as you read. You cannot be a passive reader! Here are three strategies that will help you find the main idea: 1. Look for general versus specific ideas. 2. Use the topic to lead you to the main idea. 3. Use clue words to lead you to the main idea.
  5. 5. 1. Look for General vs. Specific In the list of words below, which three items are specific ideas, and which item is the general idea? Practice 4-5: 10 Steps Book, page 61-62
  6. 6. 1. Look for general vs. specific details Let’s read the paragraph below and figure out what the main idea is. Why would anyone want to leave San Diego, California? San Diego has absolutely everything you will ever need to be happy! The beaches are one of our major attractions. You can take a ride to the Coronado Bay and sit on the sand and stare out at the city skyline. Secondly, we have great theme parks, such as Sea World and the San Diego Zoo. Next, we have a great downtown where you will find wonderful museums and discover plenty of good places to eat. Finally, the best part of San Diego is the people – we are all proud to be San Diego natives. The main idea is: Sentence 2: San Diego has absolutely everything you will ever need to be happy!
  7. 7. The specific details support the main idea. Why would anyone want to leave San Diego, California. San Diego has absolutely everything you will ever need to be happy! The beaches are one of our major attractions. You can take a ride to the Coronado Bay and sit on the sand and stare out at the city skyline. Secondly, we have great theme parks, such as Sea World and the San Diego Zoo. Next, we have a great downtown where you will find wonderful museums and discover plenty of good places to eat. Finally, the best part of San Diego is the people – we are all proud to be San Diego natives.
  8. 8. 2. Use the Topic to Lead You to the Main Idea The topic is the general subject of a reading selection. Knowing the topic can help you find the writer’s main point about that topic. To find the topic of a selection, ask yourself: Who or what is the selection about? After you find the topic, ask yourself: What main point is the author making about the topic?
  9. 9. 2. Use the Topic to Lead You to the Main Idea In looking at the previous paragraph again, what do you think the topic of the paragraph is? Why would anyone want to leave San Diego, California. San Diego has absolutely everything you will ever need to be happy! The beaches are one of our major attractions. You can take a ride to the Coronado Bay and sit on the sand and stare out at the city skyline. Secondly, we have great theme parks, such as Sea World and the San Diego Zoo. Next, we have a great downtown where you will find wonderful museums and discover plenty of good places to eat. Finally, the best part of San Diego is the people – we are all proud to be San Diego natives.
  10. 10. The topic will usually be repeated several times within the paragraph. Why would anyone want to leave San Diego, California. San Diego has absolutely everything you will ever need to be happy! The beaches are one of our major attractions. You can take a ride to the Coronado Bay and sit on the sand and stare out at the city skyline. Secondly, we have great theme parks, such as Sea World and the San Diego Zoo. Next, we have a great downtown where you will find wonderful museums and discover plenty of good places to eat. Finally, the best part of San Diego is the people – we are all proud to be San Diego natives.
  11. 11. More Practice Practice 6 & 7: Ten Steps, Page 65-68 You may do this with a partner or on your own. If you do not have your textbook, please find someone that you share a book with.
  12. 12. 3. Find and Use Clue Words to Lead You to the Main Idea Sometimes an author announces the main idea by using clue words or phrases. One type of clue word is a list word. A list word tells you that a list of items will follow. There are many reasons why a person would want to live in San Diego. The above statement is informing the reader that a list of reasons will follow indicating the positive reasons for living in San Diego.
  13. 13. 3. Find and Use Clue Words to Lead You to the Main Idea Here are some common words that often announce a main idea: List words: several kinds (or ways) of three advantages of various reasons for several causes of five steps a number of effects some factors in among the results a series of
  14. 14. 3. Find and Use Clue Words to Lead You to the Main Idea Another type of key word is the addition word. It is generally used right before a supporting detail.
  15. 15. 3. Find and Use Clue Words to Lead You to the Main Idea Here are some common words that often introduce supporting details and help you discover the main idea. Addition Words: one first (of all) second(ly) third(ly) to begin with for one thing other another also in addition next moreover further furthermore last (of all) final(ly)
  16. 16. List Words & Addition Words There are several reasons why you should move to San Diego. First of all, the beaches are one of our major attractions. You can take a ride to the Coronado Bay and sit on the sand and stare out at the city skyline. Next, we have great theme parks, such as Sea World and the San Diego Zoo. Furthermore, we have a great downtown where you will find wonderful museums and discover plenty of good places to eat. Finally, the best part of San Diego is the people – we are all proud to be San Diego natives.
  17. 17. Let’s Create a Main Idea Quiz Everyone is going to write a paragraph. It can be about anything you are interested in. Ideas: hobbies, places you have been, school, family traditions, one of your classes, your job, family vacation, political statement, etc. The paragraph must include: A main idea sentence A topic – which should be placed throughout the paragraph. Include list word(s) Include at least 3 addition words Be at least five sentences.
  18. 18. Topic, Main Idea, List Words, Addition Words Did you know that 46 million young adults are eligible to vote in the November 2012 election? Although this is a big number, most young adults are not registered to vote. There are several reasons why these young adults should vote. To begin with their children will be affected by the decisions that are currently being made through voting. Next, young adults should vote in order to have their voice heard by the politicians. Lastly, the November election is a very important one for young adults to vote in because they will be casting a vote for the next president.
  19. 19. Main Idea Quiz On Wednesday we are going to play a game with the paragraphs. The paragraphs with the highest scores will be used for the Main Idea Quiz on February 24, 2014.

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