The main idea when reading:
When reading, especially when reading informational text, it is important to determine the main idea in each paragraph. Most paragraphs have a topic sentence that states the paragraphs main idea. Paragraphs also have detailed sentences that support the main idea.
Identifying main ideas is needed in order to understand and remember what is being read. This basic skill is used for note taking and summarizing. When reading informational text, you can highlight the main idea sentence in one color and detailed sentences in another color.
You can practice main idea by identifying the category for a list of words. For example: the category for baseball, soccer, football and tennis would be sports. The category for apples, oranges, pears and plums would be fruit.
When reading, the first sentence in a paragraph will often be the topic sentence. If not, the topic sentence may be in the middle or at the end of a paragraph. If the main idea must be inferred, then you can write the topic sentence in the margin of the text. To identify the mian idea in a paragraph, answer the question, What is the subject the author is talking about throughout the paragraph?
Lecture notes can be grouped by main idea. Draw a line down a piece of paper with one-third of the page on the left and the two-thirds of the page on the right. Write the main idea on the left side and list the details of that main idea on the right side of the paper. This type of note taking can also be used when reading a textbook.
As with all skills, identifying the main idea takes practice. Visit our website at www.Fisher-Hill.com to see our workbooks for Spanish-speaking teens and adults who want to learn how to read and write in English. Our workbooks provide the necessary practice for these skills.