How to Find the Main Idea of a Paragraph
An important part of developing reading comprehension is identifying the main idea of a paragraph or passage. The main idea states the author's overall purpose for writing. Identifying the main idea and restating it in your own words develops skills of comprehension and analysis. Though there are several techniques for identifying the main idea of a reading selection, some general guidelines and strategies for both reading and checking your decision can enhance your ability to select important information from a passage. Finding the Main Idea
1) Read the title. Some paragraphs or passages will have a heading or title that describes the main idea of the passage. If a title is "Popular Garden Flowers" then the following paragraph will likely describe what kinds of flowers are common in gardens. 2) Read the first sentence of the paragraph. Many paragraphs begin with a topic sentence that outlines the main idea or point of the entire passage. The sentences that follow the topic sentence provide supporting details. For instance, read the following passage. "Roses are a popular type of flower in gardens. Roses are easy to grow and beautiful to look at. Roses give off a pleasant aroma once they are in bloom. Even though roses have thorns, they remain a common choice for gardeners." The first sentence lets us know that all subsequent sentences will be discussing the popularity of roses. 3) Read the passage from beginning to end. If the main idea is not stated in the first sentence, it may be stated in the last sentence. In the following passage, the main idea is in the final sentence. "Daisies, lillies, and roses are good flowers for gardeners. They are easy to grow and look beautiful. Carnations are also a popular choice because they come in many colors. In warm climates hibiscus flowers are popular, but in cold climates grasses and hearty bushes are the plants of choice. There are many popular flower choices available to...
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