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Identifying the Main Idea

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by

Darbi Billington

on 3 October 2016

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Transcript of Identifying the Main Idea

Identifying the Main Idea
and Supporting Ideas

The main idea is the "big point" or the most important idea that the writer is communicating to the reader.
Main Idea
Often the reader can find the main idea simply by looking at the title.
How do I find the main idea?
Homeless people have many problems.
In winter, it is hard to stay warm. And it gets too hot in the summer. It is also hard to keep things safe without a home. Worst of all, it lacks privacy.
Homeless people face many hardships.
Many paragraphs have a
topic sentence

at the beginning of a paragraph or passage that contains the main idea. This means that the topic sentence "says" what the main idea is. The
conclusion
sentence restates the main idea and can be found at the end of the paragraph or passage.
The supporting details are things that
describe
the main idea. These supporting details make the main idea
stronger.
Supporting details provide
facts, reasons, or examples
that show how or why the main idea is true.
Homeless people have many problems.


(1) In winter, it is hard to stay warm and it gets too hot in the summer. (2) It is hard to keep thing safe without a home. (3) Worst is the lack of privacy.
Homeless people face man hardships.
Supporting Details
Sometimes a paragraph doesn't have a stated main idea, but has an "implied" main idea. This means that you have to state the main idea in
your own words
because it doesn't state the main idea directly in the paragraph.
Stories would not make sense if they did not have a main idea and supporting details.
Swimming is one thing that can be done at the beach. Snorkeling is another that can be enjoyed. Playing beach volleyball can be a lot of fun. It is also fun to make sand castles and look for shells. Some people simply like to sunbathe.
Let's take a look at an example!
When the main idea is not directly stated, you must first ask yourself what is the topic? Next, ask yourself what does the author want me to know about the topic?
What is the topic?
What does the author want me to know about the beach?
Main Idea: There are many fun things to do at the beach.

Supporting details:
Main Idea
: There are many fun things to do at the beach.
Ask yourself WHO or WHAT the passage is mostly about is about.
Let's take a look at an example!
For example, a passage titled:
Why Students Should Have Less Homework
will include reasons and/or examples for that idea.
Full transcript