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Transcript of Main Idea
Identifying the main idea is the most important of all the reading skills
*Easily recognizable verbal clues
several ways of…
several causes of…
some factors in…
various reasons for…
first of all
Topic is the general subject of the writing piece
One word or short phrase
Ask yourself ‘who’ or ‘what’ the selection is about
TV Violence (topic)
It is now known that TV violence affects people negatively. (main idea)
is supported by specific ideas
Television violence affects people negatively.
more fearful and suspicious of others
less upset about real-life violence
increases aggressive behavior in children
The main idea can be anywhere within a paragraph. Often it is at or near the beginning. It also appears in the middle. However, as in a thesis statement, it may be at the end of a paragraph. Main ideas can also be mentioned at the beginning and then repeated or restated at the end. Finally, some main ideas are implied rather than stated; you may have to look harder for these.
Location, location, location
The Main Idea
is the author’s general point.
The author's point
To find the main idea, look for
General vs Specific ideas
An example is the Toyota Prius.
Economy cars get good gas mileage.
Topic = Cars
General or Specific?
General vs. Specific
Writers and Speakers Readers and Listeners
Make a point
Recognize the point
Support the point
Recognize support for
Main Idea: Economy cars get good gas mileage.
Supporting Idea: An example is the Toyota Prius.