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Text Analysis Authors Purpose and Main Idea


'The ability to analyze the author's purpose and perspective is just as essential ... What is the author of this passage trying to persuade you to do/believe? ... – PowerPoint PPT presentation

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Title: Text Analysis Authors Purpose and Main Idea

Text Analysis - Authors Purpose and Main Idea
  • Louisburg, December 5, 2007 -Group B
  • Kristi Orcutt, Literacy Specialist

Defining Good Readers
  • The ability to analyze the authors purpose and
    perspective is just as essential as literal and
    inferential comprehension.
  • -Gwynne Ellen Ash

Text TYPE Authors Purpose
  • T-Technical (to inform, instruct, tell how)
  • Y-Your Story -Narrative (to entertain)
  • P-Persuasive (to persuade, convince)
  • E-Expository (to inform, tell about, explain)

(No Transcript)
Question Stems - Authors Purpose
  • The main purpose of this passage is to- (explain,
    persuade, entertain, describe)
  • What is the authors main purpose for writing
    this passage?
  • What is the author of this passage trying to
    persuade you to do/believe?
  • With which statement would the author most likely
  • The web site was created mainly to-

Why might this be confusing for students?
Expository Text
  • Informational text is the most complicated
    type of nonfiction because the purposes are so
    varied. The purpose of informational text
    dictates the structure. Not all informational
    texts have the same structure.
  • - Buss Karnowski, Reading Writing Nonfiction

Identify Authors Purpose/ Text Type
  • Skim the sample passages
  • Mark places you think might cause confusion
  • Identify the main text type of each passage
  • Narrative
  • Expository
  • Technical
  • Persuasive

Possible Confusions
  • Two major text types - fiction and nonfiction -
    have been re-categorized as four
  • Authors may have had more than one purpose in
  • Engaging text often contains multiple types
  • Students are not generally asked to compare text
  • Students are not generally asked to identify and
    analyze the authors purpose - only read to gain
    content knowledge

Possible Confusions
  • Both Narrative and Expository elements in one
  • Use a wide angle lens
  • Overall, how much is narrative and how much is
  • Is the introduction a hook to engage readers?

Example Raising Royal Treasure pages 12-13
Possible Confusions
  • Persuasive and Technical are also always
  • Use a zoom angle lens

Expository to explain, inform
Persuasive to persuade, convince
Technical to explain, describe steps
Identifying Persuasive Text
  • 1. Are TWO sides presented?
  • If NOT
  • 2. Is there another side/perspective?
  • Whose story is being told?
  • Whose story is NOT being told?
  • Why? Would some people disagree with the
    writers beliefs or arguments?
  • 3. Do you agree or disagree with the things the
    writer would like you to believe? Why?

Topic, Main Idea, Supporting Details
  • Which of the animals in this passage are
    considered dangerous?
  • Which of the following materials are needed to
    make a sundial?
  • What is the main idea of this passage?
  • What is the main purpose of the information in
    the textbox?
  • Which detail from the passage best supports the
    main idea?
  • What information in this passage supports the
    idea that roller coasters are safe?
  • Which characteristic of sloth bears is most
    important for climbing and digging?
  • Another title for this passage might be

Topic, Main Idea, Supporting Details
  • Distinguish between specific and general words
  • Distinguish between specific and general
  • Identify the topic of a paragraph
  • Identify the controlling thought in a paragraph
  • Identify the topic sentence in the paragraph
  • Infer the main idea when a topic sentence is
  • Paraphrase the main idea
  • Identify supporting details in a paragraph
  • Use transition words to help understand the
    organization of the paragraph

Topic, Main Idea, Supporting Details
  • TOPIC the subject of the whole paragraph
  • MAIN IDEA the point that the whole paragraph
  • SUPPORTING DETAILS the sentences that explain
    the main idea

Identifying Main Ideas
What is a topic?
"A topic is a word or phrase that tells what the
author is writing about in a paragraph."
(from Opening Doors, p.191)
"The topic of a passage is a word or phrase that
labels the subject but does not reveal the
specific contents of the passage."
(from Bridging the Gap College Reading, p.124
What is a stated main idea?
"A stated main idea is the sentence in a
paragraph that contains both the topic and the
authors single most important point about the
(p.172, Opening Doors)
"The main idea of a passage is the central
message that the author is trying to convey about
the material."
(p.122, Bridging the Gap College Reading)
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?
Where can the main idea appear?
  • At the beginning of the paragraph
  • At the end of the paragraph
  • Within the paragraph
  • Implied in the paragraph

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. You
face new challenges and draw on a renewed sense
of energy as you approach them. But you may also
feel apprehensive . . . "

(p.196, Opening Doors)
At the end of the paragraph
. . .Most Anglo-Americans, for instance, see the
extensive family obligations of Hispanics as a
burdensome arrangement that inhibits individual
freedom. Hispanics, in contrast, view the
isolated nuclear family of Anglo-Americans as a
lonely institution that cuts people off from the
love and assistance of their kin. 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."
(p.197, Opening Doors)
Within the paragraph
" Jim always seems to score well on tests. How
does he do it? Jim offers these tips for
successful studying. The first step is to decide
what to study. Find out what topics will be
covered on the test. Next, organize your notes
and other materials on these topics. Third, make
study guides to use as memory aids. Your final
step is to review your notes and study guides
until you feel confident about taking the test."

(from Becoming a Confident Reader, p.200)
"All organisms must insure that their offspring
have a reasonable chance to survive and begin a
new generation. Plants, however, face special
challenges. Plants do not have nervous systems,
and they are not able to run away from predators
or pests. Because nearly all plants live in fixed
positions, they must also manage to find mates
without being able to move around. Therefore they
have evolved strategies for dealing with these
problems that are essentially passive. An
important part of such strategies is a
reproductive pattern enabling each individual to
produce large numbers of offspring."
(Levine and Miller, Biology, 1991)
General vs. Specific
  • The main idea in a paragraph is a general idea.
    In contrast, the supporting information in a
    paragraph is made up of specific ideas and
  • To improve your skill at finding main ideas, you
    need to practice distinguishing between general
    and specific ideas.
  • The general idea includes all the specific ideas.

Check It Out
  • See if you can identify the general word in
    each group.
  • a) jealousy hatred emotion worry
  • b) spiders cockroaches mosquitoes insects
  • c) chemistry science physics biology
  • Answers and Explanations
  • a) The general idea is "emotions" because
    it includes all of the others as examples.
  • b) The general idea is "insects" because
    it includes all of the others as examples.
  • c) The general idea is "science" because
    it includes all of the others as examples.

Identify main ideas
  • General ideas broad ideas that apply to a large
    number of individual items
  • Clothing
  • Pies
  • Specific ideas or terms more detailed or
    particular referring to an individual item
  • Scarf
  • Apple, cherry, chocolate cream

Identifying Main Ideas
Which are general?
  • Soda, coffee, beverage, wine
  • Pounds, ounces, kilograms, weights
  • Soap operas, news, TV programs, sports special
  • Sociology, social sciences, anthropology,

Identifying Main Ideas
The main idea is the most general statement about
the topic
  • People differ in numerous ways. They differ
    according to physical characteristics, such as
    height, weight, and hair color. They also differ
    in personality. Some people are friendly and
    easygoing. Others are more reserved and formal.

Which is the most general statement?
Identifying Main Ideas
What is the topic of the following?
  • Nutrition is the process of taking in and using
    food for growth, repair, and maintenance of the
    body. The science of nutrition is the study of
    foods and how the body uses them. Many North
    Americans define nutrition as eating a healthful
    diet. But what is healthful? Our food choices
    may be influenced by fads, advertising, or
    convenience. We may reflect on the meaning of
    nutrition while pushing a cart down a supermarket
    aisle, or while making a selection from a
    restaurant menu.

Finding the Main Idea
  • Locate the Topic --person, place, object, idea
  • Locate the Most General Sentence --the topic
  • Topic Sentence First (usually)
  • Topic Sentence Last (second in frequency)
  • Topic Sentence in the Middle
  • Topic Sentence First and Last (last emphasis)
  • Study the Detailsall the sentences in a
    paragraph must relate/support/explain the main

Inferring Unstated Main Ideas
  • Find the topic.
  • Decide what the writer wants you to know about
    the topic.
  • Express this idea in your own words.

Identifying Main Ideas
Good Reading on the Web Content Area Resources
Supplement classroom text with PERSUASIVE text!!
Individual/Team Planning
  • Analyze an upcoming reading assignment. How
    will you teach
  • Main Ideas Supporting Details
  • Authors Purpose
  • How will you supplement current classroom text
    with additional persuasive passages?
  • Good Reading on the Web

  • Staff Blogs
  • Kristi Orcutt
  • or Search for Louisburg Resources
  • PowerPoint
  • Good Reading on the Web
  • Content Area Resources
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