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Help With Finding the Main Idea Practice Exercises

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Updated on Aug 25, 2011

Read the following study guide for a concept review:

Help With Finding the Main Idea Study Guide

Exercise 1

Question

In the group of sentences below, circle the sentence that is general enough to be a main idea.

  1. The Gold Rush began in 1849.
  2. Many people moved to California after gold was discovered.
  3. The history and population of California were shaped by the Gold Rush.
  4. The life of a gold miner was not an easy one.

Exercise 2

Question

Which of the following sentences are assertions that require specific evidence or support?

  1. Blue is a color.
  2. Blue is a calming color.
  3. Ray Bradbury is a fabulous science fiction writer.
  4. Ray Bradbury published The Illustrated Man in 1951.
  5. Ray Bradbury's best book is The Illustrated Man.

Exercise 3

Read the following passage carefully, using the skills taught in this lesson. After you read, answer the questions that follow. Keep in mind that you'll be asked to identify not only the overall main idea, but also the main ideas of individual paragraphs.

At the age of six, Goran Kropp climbed his first mountain. Twenty-three years later, he tackled one of the highest mountains in the world, Mount Everest. His journey to the top shows just how independent, persistent, and determined this remarkable man is.
While most people arrive at the foothills of Mount Everest by some sort of modern vehicle, Kropp bicycled 7,000 miles from his home in Sweden. Traveling by bike was not easy. Bumpy, rough roads caused mechanical problems for Kropp, and he stopped many times to repair his bike. In addition, he was chased by dogs, stung by hornets, and drenched by rain several times before he arrived at the base of the mountain.
Kropp chose to climb Mount Everest the same way he traveled to the mountain: without the help of others and without modern conveniences. Unlike others, Kropp climbed the mountain without a guide or helper. He did not bring bottled oxygen to help him breathe at high altitudes, and he carried all his gear himself in a pack that weighed about 140 pounds.
It took Kropp two tries to reach the summit. The first time, he had to turn back only 350 feet from the top because the weather was too dangerous. Just a few days earlier, at that same level, eight climbers had died when a sudden snowstorm hit the mountain. Kropp waited out the storm, rested, and tried again a few days later. This time, he was successful. When he had finished descending the mountain, he got back on his bike and rode the 7,000 miles back to Sweden.

Questions

Read and answer the following questions.

  1. What is the subject of this passage?
  2. What is the main idea of paragraph 2?
  3. What is the main idea of paragraph 3?
  4. What is the overall main idea of the passage?

Answers

Exercise 1

The only sentence general enough to be the main idea is c; a, b, and d are all details about the Gold Rush.

Exercise 2

Sentences b, c, and e are assertions that require support. Sentences a and d are simple statements of fact that do not require support.

Exercise 3

  1. The subject is Kropp's journey to the top of Mount Everest.
  2. The main idea of paragraph 2 is stated in the second sentence: "Traveling by bike was not easy."
  3. The main idea of paragraph 3 is stated in the first sentence: "Kropp chose to climb Mount Everest the same way he traveled to the mountain: without the help of others and without modern conveniences."
  4. The overall main idea is stated in the topic sentence at the end of the first paragraph: "His journey to the top shows just how independent, persistent, and determined this remarkable man is."
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