Finding the Main Idea, Making Inferences, Drawing Conclusions, and Summarizing
Ms. Johnson and Mr. Van Treese
The main idea of a paragraph is different from the topic. The topic: what the paragraph is about. The main idea: what the author says about the subject.
Why might readers have
identifying the main idea of a passage?
Stated at the beginning of a passage
Stated at the end of a passage Stated within of a passage
Implied within the passage
What are some strategies for identifying the main idea of a
Main Idea Formula
Topic + What author says about topic + Author’s purpose = Main Idea
To find the main idea of a paragraph or passage. ask yourself:
What is the most important point the author wants me to understand about the topic?
weight. They differ according to physical characteristics. Some people are friendly and easygoing.The main idea is the most general statement about the topic:
People differ in numerous ways. and hair color.
Which is the most general statement?
Identifying Main Ideas
. such as height. Others are more reserved and formal. They also differ in personality.
. You face new challenges and draw on a renewed sense of energy as you approach them. .At the beginning of the paragraph:
"Beginning a new job is always exciting and sometimes intimidating. There is an invigorating feeling of a fresh start and a clean slate.196. But you may also feel apprehensive . Opening Doors)
in contrast.At the end of the paragraph:
“. Hispanics. ."
(p. Opening Doors)
. see the extensive family obligations of Hispanics as a burdensome arrangement that inhibits individual freedom.197. view the isolated nuclear family of Anglo-Americans as a lonely institution that cuts people off from the love and assistance of their kin. for instance.Most Anglo-Americans. . This tendency to view one's own cultural patterns as good and right and those of others as strange or even immoral is called ethnocentrism.
." (from Becoming a
Confident Reader. Third. Next.Within the paragraph:
" Jim always seems to score well on tests. make study guides to use as memory aids. How
does he do it? Jim offers these tips for successful studying. p. The first step is to decide what to study. Your final step is to review your notes and study guides until you feel confident about taking the test. Find out what topics will be covered on the test. organize your notes and other materials on these topics.
Therefore they have evolved strategies for dealing with these problems that are essentially passive. 1991)
. however. Because nearly all plants live in fixed positions."
(Levine and Miller. Plants. Biology. face special challenges. and they are not able to run away from predators or pests. they must also manage to find mates without being able to move around. An important part of such strategies is a reproductive pattern enabling each individual to produce large numbers of offspring. Plants do not have nervous systems."All organisms must insure that their offspring have a reasonable chance to survive and begin a new generation.
Finding the Stated Main Idea
1. Topic Sentence First (usually) 3.
(if there is one) 1.
Study the Details—all the sentences in a paragraph must relate/support/explain the main idea. 2. Topic Sentence First and Last (last = emphasis)
Locate the Topic Locate the Most General Sentence /Thesis
3. Check topic sentences: 2.
. Topic Sentence in the Middle 5. Topic Sentence Last (second in frequency) 4.
Find the topic. Express this idea in your own words.
4.Inferring Unstated Main Ideas
1. Decide what the writer wants you to know about the topic.
3. Consider the author’s purpose or perspective on the topic.
Identifying Main Ideas
Making Inferences and Drawing Conclusions
between the lines. Some ideas are not stated directly in the text. YOU have to draw your own conclusions about what is going on.” Using clues from the text to figure out what the author is trying get across.
.beijing2008.What conclusions can we draw by making inferences about this picture?
So. The person next to him gave $3. when they went inside.”
. but he gave it back to her.What is going on in this story?
“He put down $10 at the window. The woman behind the window gave $4. she bought him a large bag of popcorn.
.” Work with a partner or small group to use clues from the checks to construct a story.Guided Practice
“Ordeal by Cheque.
.” Use the skills that we’ve practiced to make inferences and draw conclusions about the main ideas in the two passages on the handout.Independent Practice
“Implicit Main Ideas Student Page.
What makes a good summary?
than the main text. Does not contain all of the supporting details. Contains the main ideas. Follows the text structure and order of the main text.
What is the main idea? What supporting details can we leave out? What is the text structure? Now. Read article as a class.
. using these ideas.Modeling
“Gardening with Native Plants” handout. we can write a good summary.
Be sure that you have the right amount of sunlight. think about the plant’s needs. and appropriate space to accommodate plant size. they are disappearing.
. When choosing a native plant. People can easily grow native plants in their gardens because they are accustomed to the conditions of an area. moisture.Summary of “Native Plants” article
Although native plants are beautiful and important to wildlife.
the “Bats Can Be Farmer-Friendly!” handout. 2007
.org. kristio@essdack. What is the text type? What is the text structure? Which of the four summaries is the best?
the story “A Room Full of Silly Clowns”.
. On each finger. After you have five key points. Use the “Give Me a Hand!” graphic organizer. Trace your hand on a sheet of paper. list a key point from the story. write a 3-5 sentence summary.
look at the article “Bone Up on Bone Loss! Exercise to Build Healthy Bones!” Before reading the article. look at the subheadings and text boxes in the article.Putting It All Together
Individually. What inferences can you make about the main idea of the article? Write down what you think the main idea of the article will be.
Why? For each of the other choices. Choose the best summary.
. explain why it is not the best. Now
go back and read the article. Was your prediction right? What is the main idea of the article? How do you know? Now read the four summary choices.