Identifying Main Ideas & Supporting Details

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A good way to find the main idea is to:

  • Read the passage from beginning to end and ask the question, “What’s the point?”
  • Find the Thesis Statement in the first paragraph.
  • Locate topic sentences in each paragraph and summarize them. (Remember, a topic sentence is a general statement that covers all the supporting details).

Once you find the main ideas, then ask what evidence the writer gives to support the point?


College Writing & Research 301

Richard Carrigan, MSE

Richard Carrigan has been an educator for over 30 years and a filmmaker for the past ten years. He has experience teaching English as a Second Language in Asia and teaching university students in the United States. He earned his undergraduate degree from Loma Linda University and his graduate degree from Shenandoah University.