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Main Idea

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shannon solis

on 30 September 2013

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Transcript of Main Idea

The Main Idea tells us what the story is MOSTLY about. The main idea answers the question,

“What is the author’s one most important point about the topic?”

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.


have a
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!

Main Idea - is 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.

Stated and Implied Main Idea…

Sometimes, a paragraph has a stated main idea in the topic sentence. This means the paragraph “says” what the main idea is.

Sometimes, a paragraph doesn’t have a stated main idea, but has an “implied” main idea. This means that you need to use the clues found in the details to find and state the main idea in your own words because it doesn’t actually “say” it in the paragraph.

The main idea is the
“big idea”
of the whole work, one section, or single paragraph.

It is the point the author is trying to get across.

The main idea is
different from the subject or the topic
. The subject is what the writing is about

The main idea is the
“so what?”
about the subject.

In an article, the subject is penguins. Well, so what? What about penguins? The article is about how penguins can’t fly. This is the main idea.

Subject or Topic
What the author says
about the subject or topic (supporting details)

= The Main Idea

What the author says about the subject,
reasons, examples, and other kinds of evidence in the text develop and support a main idea. You can use a graphic organizer like the one below to help you "see" the

Thumbs up if you're still with me.
Let's watch a short video on
main idea.
The person on your left is your partner.

1. Silently read the paragraph in front of you.
2. Turn to your partner and work together to find the topic 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.

3. Write the topic sentence for the paragraph on your paper.

Supporting details prove the value of the main idea. What are the supporting details?

Directions: With the same partner, write the supporting details of 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.

The next paragraph is one that you may encounter on FCAT

Directions: Individually, read the paragraph and answer the question.
Remember to mark up your text.

Tips for identifying the MAIN IDEA
1. Find the topic
2. Ask yourself, "What is the overall message?"
3. Look for boldfaced and repeated ideas and words.
4. Underline details as you read.
Let's do some work on
Full transcript