Presentation on theme: "Objective This section shows how to recognize main ideas in paragraphs and short selections. Part Four, Reading Comprehension Skills Skill Five, Recognizing."— Presentation transcript:
Objective This section shows how to recognize main ideas in paragraphs and short selections. Part Four, Reading Comprehension Skills Skill Five, Recognizing Main Ideas in Paragraphs and Short Selections
Many textbook paragraphs that you read will be made up of the same two basic parts. The point is usually expressed in one sentence called a main idea, or topic sentence. The other sentences in the paragraph contain specific details that support or develop the main idea sentence. Learning how to quickly recognize these two basic parts is sure to increase your reading comprehension.
The value of finding the main idea Finding the main idea is a key to understanding a paragraph or short selection. Once you identify the main idea or general point that an author is making, everything else in the paragraph should click into place. You will know what point is being made and what evidence is being provided to support that point. You will see the parts relationship (the supporting material in the paragraph) to the whole (the main idea.)
If the main idea is difficult and abstract, you may want to read all the supporting details carefully to help increase your comprehension. If the main point is easily understood, you may be able to skip the supporting details or read them quickly, since they are not needed to comprehend the point. The main idea is often located in the first sentence of a paragraph. However, the main idea sentence may also be at the end, in the middle, or any other place in the paragraph.
The main idea may appear in slightly different words in two or more sentences in the paragraph. The main idea in one paragraph may be the central thought for several paragraphs that follow or precede it. Sometimes the main idea is not stated directly at all, and the reader has to provide it by combining parts of several sentences or by looking carefully at the evidence presented. To find the main idea, look for a general statement. Then ask yourself, Does most of the material in the paragraph support or develop the idea in this statement? Get in the habit of using this question as a test for a main idea.