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In the main lesson, you practiced finding the main idea in each paragraph of a piece of writing.

You learned that main ideas tell you what a paragraph is about.

While each paragraph has a main idea, an entire piece of writing has a larger main idea as well.

This is the central point or argument the author makes and supports with details and evidence.

It is also called the thesis.

Finding the thesis helps you learn more from what you read because it helps you understand the point the author is trying to make and compare that point of view with other texts you read or with your own opinion.

In this extension, you will practice identifying the thesis in a piece of writing.

You will read a writing sample and annotate the thesis.

To begin, choose one of the starter documents, and make a copy.

Update the document’s name.

Then, read the title of the article.

The title gives you an idea of the topic of the article.

The topic is different from the main idea -- it's who or what the article is about, but it isn't the main point the author is making and supporting with details.

Highlight the title, and insert a comment saying what the topic is.

Next, read the first and last paragraphs of the article.

They give you clues about the main idea because they are where the author introduces and wraps up an argument and develops ideas about the topic.

Select the first paragraph, and insert a comment.

Explain the thesis of the paragraph and how it relates to the topic.

Follow the same steps for the last paragraph.

Then, read the entire article.

Highlight details in the article that are related to the topic.

These are the details explaining who, what, where, when, and why.

Using a different color, highlight sentences where the author gives an opinion about the topic.

With another color, highlight any ideas or details that are repeated or emphasized by the author.

Go back to the beginning of the article.

Is there a sentence that all the details you highlighted support?

That's the thesis.

It might also be at the end of the piece.

If you can’t find a sentence that clearly states the thesis, it could be implied.

An implied thesis is a central point or main idea not directly stated in the article.

You'll need to figure out the main idea based on what you read.

At the top of your document, write a sentence describing the thesis of the article in your own words.

Nice work!

You identified the topic, the main idea, and supporting details of the article.

If you’d like, follow the steps again for another starter project.

Continue identifying main ideas through annotation to improve your reading comprehension.

Now, it’s your turn: Make a copy of the starter project, and add your name to the title.

Identify the topic of the article, highlight and comment on important details in the title and body of the article, and write a sentence describing the thesis.

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