Tuesday, April 10, 2012

Clues for Finding the Topic and Central Idea

Central Idea will be a complete sentence.

  • It will include
    •     the topic and  
    •     the idea the author wants you to learn about the topic.

  • It will NOT be a question.  It will be a complete statement.
  • It will be broad enough to cover the big idea(s) in the chapter.
  • It will be narrow enough so it's NOT including things that are not in the chapter.
  • It will NOT include your own opinions about the chapter.

Notes on Finding a Topic
[The topic is what it's about -- the subject.]
Use these clues when looking for the topic of a passage :
Look for 
  • illustrations, captions
  • titles, headings, subheadings
  • repeated words 
  • synonyms 
  • pronouns that repeat nouns  (for example,  Bob, he, Bob's, his, Bob, him)
  • Ask yourself, "What is the author of this wanting me to learn about?"

Notes on Finding or Creating a Central Idea
  • Central  Idea = topic + the idea the author is stating about the topic
  • Central  Idea and Topic Sentence are synonyms.
  • We usually talk about the "Central Idea" when we are talking about nonfiction.
  • The "central idea" in fiction is called the theme.
  • The Central Idea must be a complete sentence.
  • The Central Idea will NOT be a question.  It must be a statement.
  • Ask yourself, "What is the general idea of this passage?"   
  • Ask yourself, "What does the author want to tell me about this subject?" 

Most Common Places in a paragraph or passage to Find the Central Idea:
  1.  Beginning/First Sentence
  2.  End/ Last Sentence
  3.  Middle
  4.  It's not there!  This is called Implied or Unstated  (Those two words are synonyms.)

Central Idea

Use with Newsela Article.