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Topics and Main Ideas

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'Beginning a new job is always exciting and sometimes intimidating. ... This tendency to view one's own cultural patterns as good and right and those of ... – PowerPoint PPT presentation

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Title: Topics and Main Ideas


1
Topics and Main Ideas
2
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
3
To find the topic of a paragraph or passage, ask
yourself
Who or what is this paragraph about?
4
Clues to Topic Location
The topic can . . .
  • Appear as a heading or title

Doing Business and Learning About a Culture
Through Its Language (p.192 from Opening Doors)
  • Appear in special type such as bold print,
    italics, or color

"A felony is a serious crime . . . A misdemeanor
is a minor offense, . . ." (p.193 from Opening
Doors)
5
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
topic."
(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)
6
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?
7
Where can the main idea appear in a paragraph?
  • At the beginning of the paragraph
  • At the end of the paragraph
  • Within the paragraph

8
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)
9
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)
10
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)
11
Summary
a word or phrase that tells what the author is
writing about in a paragraph
A topic is
topic as heading or title
clues to find topic are
topic in special type
topic repeated in paragraph
topic appears once and then referred to by
pronouns or other words
12
Summary
sentence in a paragraph that expresses the most
important point about the topic
A stated main idea is
at the beginning of the paragraph
a main idea can be located
at the end of the paragraph
within the paragraph
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