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Identifying Main Ideas0001 - Identifying Main Ideas...

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Identifying Main Ideas Remember that the topic is the subject of a selection. Ask: "What is the paragraph about?" A topic is not a complete sentence, but merely the main idea that the paragraph is discussing. The main idea is the point that the writer wants to make about the topic. If the main idea is stated, it is also called the topic sentence: Ask: "What point does the writer make about the topic?" The main idea is always a complete sentence. The supporting details are the examples, facts, reasons, and other evidence that help to develop (or prove) the main idea. In other words, the supporting details help the reader to understand and believe the main idea. Part A: Distinguishing Topic, Main Idea, and Supporting Detail This exercise provides practice in distinguishing between a topic, a main idea, and the specific details that support and develop the main idea. Each of the following groups includes one topic, one main idea, and two supporting details. In the space provided, label each item within each group with one of the following: T - for the topic MI - for the main idea SD - for the supporting details Example: SD Instead of stepping into a snapping device, the mouse enters a plastic box with a small hole at each end. MI A new type of mousetrap provides greater safety for children and pets. SD The poison is in a block form that won't crumble or fall out of its tray. T A new type of mousetrap. Explanation: The last sentence identifies the general subject of the four items in this group. Hint: It is not a complete sentence. The second sentence states the main idea and answers the question "What is the point the writer is trying to make about the topic?" The first and third sentences explain why the mousetrap is an improvement over older traps and poisons. Therefore, those sentences are the supporting details. Now try your hand at similar groups:
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Group A: ___ 1. One bite from a piranha's triangular-sharp teeth can sever a person's finger or toe. ___ 2. The piranha. ___ 3. The piranha-only eight to twelve inches long-is an extremely dangerous fish. ___ 4. A school of piranha can strip a four-hundred-pound hog down to a skeleton in just a few minutes. Group B: ___ 5. Benjamin Franklin discovered that lightening is an electrical charge. ___ 6. In addition to being a statesman, Franklin was a scientist. ___ 7. Benjamin Franklin's work. ___ 8. Franklin invented bifocals, the Franklin stove, and an electric storage battery. Group c, ___ 9. Bureaucracies are divided into departments and subdivisions. 10. Bureaucracies. --- ___ 11. Through a division of labor, individuals specialize in performing one task. 12. Bureaucracies have certain characteristics in common. --- Group D: 13. Scientists used to think of the brain as the center of an electrical communication --- system. ___ 14. The way scientists view the brain's role has changed greatly.
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