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Finding Topics and Main Ideas

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Finding Topics and Main Ideas Tools for reading nonfiction * * For more on teaching students how to find main ideas, especially the implied main ideas, check out ... – PowerPoint PPT presentation

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Date added: 27 September 2019
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Title: Finding Topics and Main Ideas


1
Finding Topics and Main Ideas
  • Tools for reading nonfiction

2
Finding Topics
  • To understand a paragraph, its important to find
    the topic
  • The topic is the idea to which all of the details
    in the paragraph refer
  • A topic is usually expressed as a word or phrase

3
Can you find the topic?
  • Water is an amazing resource. Everyone in
    the world depends upon it. Every creature needs
    water to survive. Without water, we would not
    last long. Water makes our world beautiful.

4
Can you find the topic?
  • Water is an amazing resource. Everyone in
    the world depends upon it. Every creature needs
    water to survive. Without water, we would not
    last long. Water makes our world beautiful.

Topic WATER
5
  • We could see that the topic was water because it
    was repeated again and again
  • This is a good way to help us find a
    topiclooking for repeated words or phrases

6
Now try this one!
  • Colonial Williamsburg is a great place to
    visit. In Williamsburg, you can see how people
    lived in colonial times. There are guides in
    costumes who can show you to taverns, shops, and
    houses. You can even sample some colonial food at
    the restored taverns! One visit to Williamsburg
    will make you feel as if you have been
    transported to the 1700s.

7
Now try this one!
  • Colonial Williamsburg is a great place to
    visit. In Williamsburg, you can see how people
    lived in colonial times. There are guides in
    costumes who can show you to taverns, shops, and
    houses. You can even sample some colonial food at
    the restored taverns! One visit to Williamsburg
    will make you feel as if you have been
    transported to the 1700s.

8
  • We could tell that the topic of the paragraph is
    Williamsburg because it was repeated several times

9
Finding the topic
  • The topic of a paragraph is not always repeated
    over and over in the same way
  • Sometimes, you need to look for multiple
    referentsthat is, words or phrases that refer to
    the same thing

10
Looking for multiple referents
  • Here is the Williamsburg paragraph again. Notice
    how Williamsburg can be replaced by other words
    or phrases
  • Colonial Williamsburg is a great place
    to visit. In this Virginia town, you can see how
    people lived in colonial times. There are guides
    in costumes who can show you to taverns, shops,
    and houses. You can even sample some colonial
    food at the restored taverns! One visit to this
    place will make you feel as if you have been
    transported to the 1700s.

11
  • Williamsburg is referred to in several different
    ways
  • This Virginia town and this place both refer back
    to Williamsburg
  • The topic is still Williamsburg

12
Look for the topic in this paragraph
  • Assateague Island is a very special place.
    A long sandy beach stretches into the Atlantic
    Ocean. Windswept dunes are home to foxes and
    seagulls. The famous wild horses, or ponies, also
    live on this small island.

13
Look for the topic in this paragraph
  • Assateague Island is a very special place. A
    long sandy beach stretches into the Atlantic
    Ocean. Windswept dunes are home to foxes and
    seagulls. The famous wild horses, or ponies, also
    live on this small island.

14
Did you figure out the topic?
  • Authors sometimes refer to the same idea in
    different ways
  • Assateague Island and this small island are
    really the same place
  • When you are trying to figure out a topic, look
    for different ways of saying the same thing

15
Using topics to find main ideas
  • Once we have figured out the topic of a
    paragraph, we need to find the main idea
  • The main idea is the main point of the paragraph
  • MAIN IDEA Topic a statement about the topic

16
Can you find the main idea?
  • Water is an amazing resource. Everyone in
    the world depends upon it. Every creature needs
    water to survive. Without water, we would not
    last long. Water makes our world beautiful.

17
Can you find the main idea?
  • Water is an amazing resource. Everyone in
    the world depends upon it. Every creature needs
    water to survive. Without water, we would not
    last long. Water makes our world beautiful.

18
Did you find the main idea?
  • The first sentence is the main idea
  • Water is an amazing resource
  • The topic water
  • The main point about the topic its an amazing
    resource

19
Now try this one!
  • Colonial Williamsburg is a great place to
    visit. In Williamsburg, you can see how people
    lived in colonial times. There are guides in
    costumes who can show you to taverns, shops, and
    houses. You can even sample some colonial food at
    the restored taverns! One visit to Williamsburg
    will make you feel as if you have been
    transported to the 1700s.

20
Now try this one!
  • Colonial Williamsburg is a great place to
    visit. In Williamsburg, you can see how people
    lived in colonial times. There are guides in
    costumes who can show you to taverns, shops, and
    houses. You can even sample some colonial food at
    the restored taverns! One visit to Williamsburg
    will make you feel as if you have been
    transported to the 1700s.

21
Did you find the main idea?
  • Once again, the main idea was in the first
    sentence
  • Topic Williamsburg
  • Main point about the topic its a great place to
    visit

22
Is the first sentence always the main idea?
  • What do you think? Talk about it with your
    partner!

23
Think about this paragraph
  • Croak, croak, kerplop! Whats that at the
    waters edge? It might be a green frog, a
    creature thats well-suited for life at the
    ponds edge. Green frogs like to live where the
    land meets the water. This keeps them safe from
    predators that live on the land. When a predator
    like a snake comes near, the green frog can
    quickly leap into the water and get away. Green
    frogs can eat animals from both places, including
    crayfish, spiders, fish, and even birds.

24
Is the first sentence the main idea?
  • Croak, croak, kerplop! Whats that at the
    waters edge? It might be a green frog, a
    creature thats well-suited for life at the
    ponds edge. Green frogs like to live where the
    land meets the water. This keeps them safe from
    predators that live on the land. When a predator
    like a snake comes near, the green frog can
    quickly leap into the water and get away. Green
    frogs can eat animals from both places, including
    crayfish, spiders, fish, and even birds.

25
That doesnt make sense!
  • Croak, croak, kerplop! cant be the main idea of
    the paragraph
  • This sentence does not express a topic or a main
    point about the topic

26
Lets find the topic first
  • Croak, croak, kerplop! Whats that at the
    waters edge? It might be a green frog, a
    creature thats well-suited for life at the
    ponds edge. Green frogs like to live where the
    land meets the water. This keeps them safe from
    predators that live on the land. When a predator
    like a snake comes near, the green frog can
    quickly leap into the water and get away. Green
    frogs can eat animals from both places, including
    crayfish, spiders, fish, and even birds.

27
Lets find the topic first
  • Croak, croak, kerplop! Whats that at the
    waters edge? It might be a green frog, a
    creature thats well-suited for life at the
    ponds edge. Green frogs like to live where the
    land meets the water. This keeps them safe from
    predators that live on the land. When a predator
    like a snake comes near, the green frog can
    quickly leap into the water and get away. Green
    frogs can eat animals from both places, including
    crayfish, spiders, fish, and even birds.

28
Lets look at the second sentence
  • Croak, croak, kerplop! Whats that at the
    waters edge? It might be a green frog, a
    creature thats well-suited for life at the
    ponds edge. Green frogs like to live where the
    land meets the water. This keeps them safe from
    predators that live on the land. When a predator
    like a snake comes near, the green frog can
    quickly leap into the water and get away. Green
    frogs can eat animals from both places, including
    crayfish, spiders, fish, and even birds.

29
Is it the main idea?
  • Do you think that the second sentence, Whats
    that at the waters edge? is the main idea?
  • This doesnt make sense either. The paragraph is
    not mostly about the waters edge

30
What about the third sentence?
  • Croak, croak, kerplop! Whats that at the
    waters edge? It might be a green frog, a
    creature thats well-suited for life at the
    ponds edge. Green frogs like to live where the
    land meets the water. This keeps them safe from
    predators that live on the land. When a predator
    like a snake comes near, the green frog can
    quickly leap into the water and get away. Green
    frogs can eat animals from both places, including
    crayfish, spiders, fish, and even birds.

31
Is it the main idea?
  • Is the third sentence, It might be a green frog,
    a creature thats well-suited for life at the
    ponds edge the main idea?
  • This sentence includes the TOPIC (green frog) and
    a main point about the topic (its well-suited
    for life at the ponds edge)

32
Hooray! The main idea!
  • As you can see, the first sentence is not always
    the main idea
  • To find the main idea, you need to think about
    the topic of the paragraph
  • Look at each sentence until you find the best
    main idea sentence

33
Now try this one
  • What a gorgeous view! Kings Gap State Park
    is a great place to see the Cumberland Valley.
    This is because the park was built on top of a
    mountain. From the mountain top, the fields and
    farms of the valley stretch out far below. The
    Doubling Gap, a mountain that curves like the
    letter s, can also be seen.

34
How do we find the main idea?
  • Start by finding the topic
  • Then look at each sentence in the paragraph
  • Look for the sentence that states the topic and
    gives a main point about the topic
  • Once you think you have found it, match it
    against the rest of the sentences

35
Finding the topic
  • What a gorgeous view! Kings Gap State
    Park is a great place to see the Cumberland
    Valley. This is because the park was built on top
    of a mountain. From the mountain top, the fields
    and farms of the valley stretch out far below.
    The Doubling Gap, a mountain that curves like the
    letter s, can also be seen.

36
Finding the topic
  • What a gorgeous view! Kings Gap State
    Park is a great place to see the Cumberland
    Valley. This is because the park was built on top
    of a mountain. From the mountain top, the fields
    and farms of the valley stretch out far below.
    The Doubling Gap, a mountain that curves like the
    letter s, can also be seen.

37
Finding the topic
  • The topic, then, is Kings Gap State Park
  • To find the main idea, we need to understand what
    the paragraph is saying about Kings Gap State Park

38
Lets try the first sentence
  • What a gorgeous view! Kings Gap State
    Park is a great place to see the Cumberland
    Valley. This is because the park was built on top
    of a mountain. From the mountain top, the fields
    and farms of the valley stretch out far below.
    The Doubling Gap, a mountain that curves like the
    letter s, can also be seen.

39
Not the main idea
  • The first sentence, What a gorgeous view, does
    not state the main idea
  • It does not state the topic of the paragraph

40
What about the second sentence?
  • What a gorgeous view! Kings Gap State
    Park is a great place to see the Cumberland
    Valley. This is because the park was built on top
    of a mountain. From the mountain top, the fields
    and farms of the valley stretch out far below.
    The Doubling Gap, a mountain that curves like the
    letter s, can also be seen.

41
Better!
  • The second sentence, Kings Gap State Park is a
    great place to see the Cumberland Valley,
    includes both a topic and a main idea
  • Lets see if all of the other sentences in the
    paragraph relate back to it

42
Do the rest of the sentences relate?
  • What a gorgeous view! Kings Gap State
    Park is a great place to see the Cumberland
    Valley. This is because the park was built on top
    of a mountain. From the mountain top, the fields
    and farms of the valley stretch out far below.
    The Doubling Gap, a mountain that curves like the
    letter s, can also be seen.

The rest of the sentences do relate back to the
second sentence. Its the main idea.
43
What have we learned?
  • What is the topic of a text?

The topic is the word or phrase that all of the
sentences in a paragraph refer to
  • What is a main idea?

The main idea of a paragraph is the topic, plus a
feeling or attitude about the topic
44
What have we learned?
  • Is the main idea of a paragraph always the first
    sentence?

No! Sometimes the main idea appears in other
parts of the paragraph
  • How do we find the main idea?

We need to think about the topic, and look for a
sentence that includes the topic plus a main
point about the topic
45
Does every paragraph work like this?
  1. Yes! Every paragraph in the whole universe is
    like this and you will never have to think hard
    again
  2. No, some paragraphs are different. Sometimes the
    paragraph has the topic sentence at the end of
    the paragraph. Sometimes the author leaves out
    the main idea altogether, and we need to figure
    it out

46
And the answer is
  • The answer, of course, is B
  • While most paragraphs do have a stated main idea,
    some do not
  • Sometimes this is because the author wants to
    make the reader think more carefully
  • (Dark secret) Sometimes its because the author
    just didnt write the paragraph very well!

47
But these guidelines usually do work
  1. Find the topic of the paragraph
  2. See if the first sentence states the main idea
  3. If not, check other sentences in the paragraph
  4. Find the sentence that includes the topic and
    states a main point about the topic
  5. Make sure that the other sentences in the
    paragraph relate back to the main idea

48
Fun stuff for the end.
  • Can you find the frog in this picture?

49
Fun stuff for the end.
  • What about this one?

50
Reflect on what youve learned
  • What have you learned about topics and main ideas?
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