2The PointThe main idea is the big point (big picture) that the writer is communicating to the reader.Often the reader can approach the main idea just by looking at the title.For example, a passage titled: “Why Doctors Deserve More Dollars” will include reasons for that idea.
3The Roof Figure Try to see the main idea as a roof. It should be big enough to include everything in the reading passage.But it shouldn’t be too big for the text.
4Main Idea Main Idea - is like the heart of the text or a paragraph. It is the controlling idea.All the other supporting details in the text or within a paragraph should tell us more about the main idea.
5General Versus Specific The main idea is a general one.The supporting ideas in the passage are specific ones.Which word is the most general:Potato or Vegetable?
6What about the topic?The topic is the general subject of a reading passage.To find the topic, just ask yourself: “Who or what is this passage about?”The topic can be expressed in a word or a phrase.
7The Topic SentenceMany paragraphs have topic sentences that indicate what their about.Find the topic sentence in this paragraph:Homeless people have many problems. In winter, it’s hard to stay warm and it gets too hot in summer. It’s also hard to keep things safe without a home. Worst is the lack of privacy.
8Supporting DetailsSupporting details prove the value of the main idea. What are they here?Homeless people have many problems. In winter, it’s hard to stay warm and it gets too hot in summer. It’s also hard to keep things safe without a home. Worst is the lack of privacy.
9Get the Point? Read this short paragraph: Engineers create wealth for society. So, tennis is a game and the resources of the earth are scarce. Have you gone mad? Thus the only solution is to educate the public on being socially responsible.
10Get the Point?We would go crazy if texts were written like this all the time.It was difficult to understand because it was made of different ideas that did not link. There was no common thread.The good news is that normal passages have main ideas!