Education.com
Try
Brainzy
Try
Plus

Reading and Finding The Main Idea Help (page 3)

based on 2 ratings
By
Updated on Sep 21, 2011

Practice 3

Among the following eight sentences are two topic sentences. The other sentences are supporting sentences. Circle the two topic sentences. Then write the numbers of the supporting sentences that go with each topic sentence.

  1. Finally, there is a concierge on duty 24 hours a day.
  2. Some duties, like writing reports, have no risk at all.
  3. For example, there is a pool on the top floor.
  4. Not all police duties are dangerous.
  5. Others, like traffic duty, put police officers at very little risk.
  6. Tenants of the luxury apartment building enjoy many amenities.
  7. Still other duties, like investigating accidents, leave officers free of danger.
  8. In addition, the lobby has a dry cleaner, an ATM, and a coffee shop.

Answers

Sentences 4 and 6 are the two topic sentences because both make an assertion about a general subject. The supporting sentences for topic sentence 4, "Not all police duties are dangerous," are sentences 2, 5, and 7. The supporting sentences for topic sentence 6, "Tenants of the luxury apartment building enjoy many amenities," are the remaining sentences 1, 3, and 8.

Here's how they look as paragraphs:

Not all police duties are dangerous. Some duties, like writing reports, have no risk at all. Others, like traffic duty, put police officers at very little risk. Still other duties, like investigating accidents, leave officers free of danger.

Tenants of the luxury apartment building enjoy many amenities. For example, there is a pool on the top floor. In addition, the lobby has a dry cleaner, an ATM, and a coffee shop. Finally, there is a concierge on duty 24 hours a day.

You might have noticed that the supporting sentences in the first paragraph about police duties begin with the following words: some, others, and still other. These words are often used to introduce examples. The second paragraph uses different words, but they have the same function: for example, in addition, and finally. If a sentence begins with such a word or phrase, that is a good indication it is not a topic sentence—because it is providing a specific example.

Here are some words and phrases often used to introduce specific examples:

      for example
      for instance
      in addition
      furthermore
      in particular
      some
      others

If you're having trouble finding the main idea of a paragraph, you might try eliminating the sentences that you know contain supporting evidence.

Summary

Now you can answer the last question—the why. What is the writer's motive? What's the main idea he or she wants to convey? By finding the sentence that makes an assertion about the subject of the paragraph and that encompasses the other sentences in the paragraph, you can uncover the author's motive.

TIP: To identify the main idea in a story it can be helpful to create a story map or graphic organizer. In separate boxes in your graphic organizer, you should include

  1. the names of major and minor characters.
  2. major and minor settings.
  3. conflicts occurring between characters.
  4. key events.
  5. major resolutions.
  6. author's purpose. (Is the author's goal to entertain, teach, inform, or persuade readers to embrace a particular philosophical viewpoint or concept?)

More practice exercises for this concept can be found at Reading Comprehension Strategies Practice Test.

Test your knowledge at Reading Comprehension Final Practice Test.

View Full Article
Add your own comment