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Reading (96)
0001 Meaning of Words and Phrases
0002 Main Idea and Supporting Details
Identifying Explicit and Implicit Main Ideas
Supporting the Main Idea of a Passage
0003 Purpose, Point of View, and Intended Meaning
0004 Analyze the Relationship Among Ideas
0005 Critical Reasoning Skills
0006 Applying Study Skills
Practice Reading Tests

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0002 Understand the Main Idea and Supporting Details in Written Material

Recognizing Ideas That Support, Illustrate, or Elaborate the Main Idea of a Passage

The most important part of a paragraph is its topic sentence in which the author states the main idea of the paragraph. If read in isolation, the topic sentence would rarely be understood by the reader. The main idea needs further explanation and amplification and this support is the purpose of other sentences in the paragraph. The topic sentence states the main idea; other sentences offer more information, rephrasing, clarifications, and examples to help the reader understand the main idea. When a reader completes a paragraph, the topic sentence should express its full meaning without additional explanation.

A reading passage on the AEPA can consists of one or a number of paragraphs, but an understanding of the passage depends upon identifying the topic sentence of each paragraph. As an example of this skill, look closely at the first paragraph of this page and find its topic sentence. When you have selected it, click the "Next" button below.