Language Arts Reading
- Define Main Idea and Topic
- Examine general and specific ideas
- Identify the Main Idea and Topic
- Learn to re-state, paraphrase, and summarize Main Ideas within texts
- Learn how to use context clues
Main Ideas and Topics
- What is a Main Idea?
- A Main idea is the most important point in a paragraph or selection
- What is a Topic?
- A Topic is the general subject of a paragraph or selection
- Located at either the beginning or end of a sentence, a topic sentence is where the Main Idea is stated.
- Why is it important to identify the Main Idea?
- To become a better reader, it is necessary for you to identify the most important ideas the author is trying to make
General vs. Specific Ideas
- To help identify main ideas and topics in a paragraph or selection, you must also be able to identify general and specific ideas
- What is a general idea?
- A general idea applies to non-specific individual items (i.e. fruit, sports, games)
- What is a specific idea?
- A specific idea refers to a more detailed or particular item (i.e. grapes, lemons, pineapples)
How do I Identify the Topic?
- Before we can identify the Main Idea, we must determine the Topic.
- How do you identify a topic in each paragraph/selection?
- Each sentence in a paragraph discusses or explains a topic
- To identify the overall topic of a paragraph or selection, you need to ask yourself,
- "What is the one idea the author is talking about throughout the paragraph/selection?"
How Do I Identify the Main Idea?
- Once you determine the topic of a paragraph/selection you can identify the Main Idea
- How do I find the Main Idea?
- Read the paragraph/selection
- Look for important key words while reading
- Identify the topic – find the general subject of the entire paragraph
- Study the paragraph – the main idea will be the most meaningful point that ties all other details together
What is Summarizing?
- Once you are able to identify the Main Idea in a selection/paragraph you can
- Summarize — re-tell the paragraph/selection in your own words; contains the most important details only.
- Ex. You read a paragraph about basketball and re-tell the selection in your own words with only the most important details.
What is Paraphrasing?
- Paraphrase/Restating — re-tell the paragraph/selection in your own words; includes "all" details of the selection
- Ex. You read a paragraph about soccer and re-tell the selection in your own words with every detail in the paragraph.
What are Context Clues?
- Context clues are words that help to define unfamiliar words in a sentence
- Studying the words in a sentences can help you figure out the meaning of a word
- Ex. Sandra has so many friends and colleagues because she is a gregarious individual.
- After reviewing the sentence, we know that Sandra has many friends. This is a context clue for gregarious. Gregarious means friendly or outgoing.
Please complete the Practice exercises, followed by the test in this module.