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  • Supporting details are reasons, examples, facts, steps, or other kinds of evidence

  • that explain a main idea.

  • Look at the following cartoon.

  • In the cartoon, the main idea is that reading the morning paper is bad for the man’s health.

  • The supporting reasons are that the political news raises his blood pressure, the business

  • report makes him depressed, and the sports page makes him mad.

  • Now take a look at the following paragraph:

  • Eight million more women than men are of voting age, and more women than men vote in U.S.

  • national elections. However, men greatly outnumber women in political office. Since 1789, over

  • 1,800 men have served in the U.S. Senate, but only 30 women have served. Women are underrepresented

  • in U.S. politics for a number of reasons. First, women are still underrepresented in

  • law and business, the careers from which most politicians emerge. In addition, most women

  • find that the irregular hours kept by those who run for office are incompatible with their

  • role as mother. Fathers, in contrast, whose ordinary roles are more likely to take them

  • away from home, are less likely to feel this conflict. Last, preferring to hold on to their

  • positions of power, men have been reluctant to incorporate women into centers of decision-making

  • or to present them as viable candidates.

  • The main idea isWomen are underrepresented in U.S. politics for a number of reasons.”

  • Take a minute to see if you can pick out the three reasons that are given to

  • support this main idea.

  • There are three reasons that support the main idea. Notice that each is marked by words

  • that signal major details. These words, also known as addition words, are

  • First,” “In addition,” andLast.” Looking for addition words such as these can help

  • you find supporting details for a main idea. Here are some common addition words:

  • one for one thing

  • in addition first of all

  • another last

  • second also

  • finally

  • Addition words will often help when you study a paragraph by outlining it.

  • Here is a quick review of outlining.

  • An outline helps you understand and see clearly the relationship between a main idea and its

  • supporting details. Outlines start with a main idea followed by a numbered list of supporting

  • details. Here is an outline of the paragraph about women.

  • The main idea is that women are underrepresented in U.S. politics.

  • The first reason is that women are still underrepresented in law and business,

  • the usual starting for politicians.

  • The second reason is that a politician’s

  • hours are incompatible with the role of a mother.

  • The third reason is that men have been reluctant to give women power.

  • Now let’s look at a helpful outlining tip.

  • Here are some common list words that tell you a list of details is coming:

  • several kinds of various causes

  • a few reasons a number of effects

  • a series of three factors

  • four steps among the results

  • several advantages

  • In the paragraph on women weve already looked at, youll note that list words were

  • used that signaled the main idea:

  • Women are underrepresented in U.S. politics for a number of reasons.

  • Once we saw “a number of reasons,” we could guess that a list of supporting reasons

  • was about to follow.

  • In addition to using outlines, you can also use maps to show the relationship between

  • a main idea and its supporting details.

  • Maps, or diagrams, are highly visual outlines in which circles, boxes, or other shapes show

  • the relationship between a main idea and its supporting details. Here is a paragraph we

  • considered in the first chapter:

  • People lie for different reasons. One common reason is to avoid hurting someone’s feelings.

  • For example, a friend might ask, “Do you like my new haircut?” If you think it’s

  • ugly, you might still answer something like, “I really do.” Another common reason for

  • lying is to avoid a fight. Say a friend angers you and then asks, “Are you upset with me?”

  • You might answer, “No,” to avoid an argument. People also lie so that theyll fit in,

  • as when you listen to a boring person and politely say, “That’s so interesting.”

  • Finally, people lie to avoid spending more time with someone. For instance, you might

  • lie, “I have to go now.”

  • Here is a map of this passage. Youll see how it sets off the major details in a very

  • visual way.

  • The point is that people lie for different reasons: to avoid hurting feelings; to avoid

  • a fight; to fit in; and to avoid spending time with someone.

  • To summarize, then, a skilled reader is one who looks for the main idea or point of a

  • selection as well as the support for that main idea.

  • Ask yourself, “What is the point of a selection?” as well asWhat support is offered for

  • the point?” Then use outlining and mapping as ways to set off clearly the main idea and

  • its support. The very act of outlining or mapping helps you deepen your understanding

  • of a selection.

Supporting details are reasons, examples, facts, steps, or other kinds of evidence

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A2 US main idea main underrepresented supporting idea addition

Lesson 2 - Supporting Details

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    TeacherJennifer Bryne posted on 2015/04/04
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