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Chapter 9: Learning About Paragraphs
Transcript of Chapter 9: Learning About Paragraphs
section of text about
a specific idea. Why Use Paragraphs? If there were no paragraphs in a text it could tire out the reader's eyes and make it harder for the reader to know when an idea begins or ends. What are the Different
Parts of a Paragraph? A good paragraph should have a main idea, a topic sentence and supporting sentences. The main idea is underlined
in the following paragraph. Many multiracial kids glide easily between their mixed cultures. Kelly Dube, 12, of Los Angeles is half Korean and half French Canadian. His mother takes him to a Buddhist temple, where he has learned how to meditate. He can understand and speak some Korean and knows a little French. Most of the time, though, he doesn't think about his bi-racial status: "If anything, I think I'm more American." The Topic Sentence Importance of a Topic Sentence Location of the Topic Sentence The topic sentence is often the main idea of the paragraph. It can be found at the beginning, middle or even at the end of a paragraph. The topic sentence in the following paragraph is underlined. Quickly, quickly we gathered the sheep into the pens. Dogs barked, and people shouted out orders to one another. Children rushed through the village gathering firewood to pile inside the homes. Men and women scooped up pots and pots of water, filling cisterns and containers as rapidly as possible. People pulled the last ears of corn from the fields and turned their backs on the dry stalks. Finally, we all stood together in the plaza in the ceter of the village for just a moment before the fighters went to stand near the walls and the wide-eyed children were coaxed inside the houses. We were prepared for the coming battle. Not all paragraphs have topic sentences but it is helpful to use when you are writing because it may help you focus on your main idea. Paragraphs that relate a series of events or that tell a story often do not contain a topic sentence. Read the following paragraph. Even though it doesn't have a topic sentence, all the sentences are about one main idea. "Oh, Lottie, it's good to see you," Bess said, but saying nothing about Lottie's splendid appearance. Upstairs Bess, putting down her shabby suitcase, said, "I'll sleep like a rock tonight," without a word of praise for her lovely room. At the lavish table, top-heavy with turkey, Bess said "I'll take light and dark both," with no marveling at the size of the bird, or that there was turkey for two elderly women, one of them too poor to buy her own bread. Main Idea: The unexpected reactions of a poor woman to her wealthy friend. Exercises Exercise 1: Identifying Main Ideas and Topic Sentences Look for the main idea in the following paragraphs by finding the topic sentence. The topic sentence will be underlined. 1. He turned and looked back at the stand of raspberries. The bear was gone; the birds were singing; he saw nothing that could hurt him. There was no danger here that he could sense, could feel. In the city, at night, there was sometimes danger. You could not be in the park at night, after dark, because of the danger. But here, the bear had looked at him and had moved on and-this filled his thoughts-the berries were so good. The main idea is what the paragraph is mainly about. Main Idea: The character was being very cautious of the dangers around him. 2. Like lots of other kids her age, eight-year-old Auralea Moore plays baseball, swims and skis. She also has a fovorite plaything: a 19-inched doll named Susan, who was handcrafted to look like her. Auralea was born with spina bifida, a birth defect that has left her paralyzed from the waist down. Her look-alike doll, equipped with a pair of blue and silver "designer" braces, helps her remember that although she maybe handicapped, she is definitely not out of the action. Main Idea: Even though Auralea is handicapped, she can still do whatever anyone else can do. 3. Personally, I thought Maxwell was just about the homeliest dog I'd ever seen in my entire life. He looked like a little old man draped in a piece of brown velvet that was too long, with the leftover cloth hanging in thick folds under his chin. Not only that, but his long droopy ears dragged on the ground; he had sad wet eyes and huge thick paws with splayed toes. I mean, who could love a dog like that, except my brother Joji, aged nine, who is a bit on the homely side himself. Main Idea: The writer thinks that Maxwell is ugly. Excercise 2: Writing a Topic Sentence Supporting Sentences: Supporting sentences are details such as sensory details, facts, or examples that expand upon, explain, or prove a paragraph's main idea. Sensory Details are what we experience through our 5 senses: sight, hearing, touch, taste, and smell.
Facts are true information that can be proved by observation or by checking a reliable referance source.
Examples give typical instances of an idea. Exercise 3: Collecting Supporting Details When you write paragraphs, you have to collect details that support your main idea. Practice with the following topic sentence. Use two details to support the topic sentence. The Clincher Sentence Once you have a topic sentence and well-organized details that support your main idea, all you need to do is create a clincher sentence or a concluding sentence. Read the following paragraph. Notice how the last sentence pulls together the information in the paragraph by echoing the topic sentence. Remember! A clincher sentence/concluding sentence is the last sentence in a paragraph that pulls together the preceding information by echoing the topic sentence. Although many paragraphs dont have a clincher sentence, you may want to use one to cement your main idea in reader's minds. Excercise 4: Developing a Clincher Sentence Write a topic sentence for the following paragraph. A bottle of nail polish can cost as little as a dollar and last for months, depending on how much you use. You can find it in any color in nature and any unnatural color you can imagine. Best of all, if you get tired of a color,you can easily change it. Topic Sentence: There are many pluses to using nail polish. When I feel hungary, I can just imagine my favorite meal. Details: I often feel hungry at school. My favorite meal is macaroni and cheese. Helping the homeless helps the community. When homeless people are given housing assistance and job training, they can become our neighbors, co-workers, and friends. Not only do they find work and learn to support themselves, but they also pay taxes and share their skills with others. Every person we help out of homelessness is one more person who can enrich our neighborhood and community. Write a clincher sentence for the following paragraph. Eating food in the library is a bad idea. Crumbs get left on the floor and between pages when you eat, even if you are careful. These tiny bits of food may be impossible for you to see, but insects know they are there and will raid the books to find them. These insects will eventually harm the pages. Clincher Sentence: Take care of our books and stop bringing food into the library. Yum!!!