Main or Central Idea

A main idea is the brief summary of the most important concept or concepts in a passage. There can be a main idea, sometimes called a central idea, in a paragraph or a section of a text as well.

The Crocodile and the Fly

Crocodile was the biggest animal in the swamp. He spent most of his time in the cool, shady parts of a green pool. When he was hungry, he slithered into the sunshine towards the drinking hole where all the animals gathered to sip the clear water on hot days. Crocodile was…

The Big Mistake

Jeremy likes to help his family with chores. He spends time playing with his baby sister while Mom cooks dinner. After supper, he dries the dishes for Dad. But Jeremy’s favorite job is feeding Fletch. Fletch is the family cat. He is brown and black, with tiger stripes across his back.…

Stickeen

Naturalist John Muir went to Alaska in 1879 to explore the area. He was joined by Rev. Young who had a small black dog named Stickeen. Stickeen was a quiet, independent, and intelligent dog. Early one morning Muir went to explore a nearby glacier. Stickeen followed him, and together they…

Gibraltar

Published in 1869, Mark Twain’s book The Innocents Abroad tells of his trip through Europe and the Mideast in 1867. In this passage, Twain has arrived in Gibraltar, gateway to the Mediterranean Sea. He is taking a tour of Rock of Gibraltar and has already heard the story of the…

Survival!

When Aiden asked me to accompany him on a camping trip to the mountains, I envisioned a log cabin with a crackling fireplace, hot cocoa, and bunk beds. Imagine how my rustic, yet comfortable image of camping became a nightmare when Aiden and his older brother, Lebron, showed up with…

Friendship in a Bottle

Ari was a lonely lad who lived on a large island called Iceland. His village was a fishing hamlet along the green, rugged coastline, and Ari often wondered what lay beyond the horizon. The days were long and cold, and he spent many hours of silence in his tiny cottage…

The Astrologer

A man who lived a long time ago believed that he could read the future in the stars. He called himself an Astrologer, and spent his time at night gazing at the sky. One evening he was walking along the open road outside the village. His eyes were fixed on…

The Kenny Method

It was a sunny day in the Australian Outback. Elizabeth Kenny, a self-taught nurse, was making her rounds visiting patients on farms and cattle stations. At one farm, she was told of a sick child on a neighboring farm. She knew that must be her next stop. When Elizabeth got…

Biography: Dorothea Lynde Dix

Dorothea Dix (1802-1887) was born in Massachusetts. Her early childhood with her parents was unhappy. When she was 12 years old, she went to live with her wealthy grandmother in her house called Orange Court. That is where the passage begins. —————————— At Orange Court, Dorothea was allowed no time…

The Rush

The Klondike Gold Rush began in 1896 with the discovery of gold in Alaska and Canada. Over 100,000 people hurried to the area in order to find their own fortune of gold. One of these people was May Kellogg Sullivan, who along with her brother and father, went to get…