Skimming for Main Idea
A paragraph usually tells about one topic. Often one sentence is the sentence. It tells the topic and the main idea of the paragraph. It sums up the ideas of the other sentences, which give detail about the main idea.
Example: Smoking cigarette can be an expensive habit. Considering that the average price per pack of cigarette is Rp. 2,500.00, people who smoke twp pack per day spend Rp. 5,000.00 a day on their habit. At the end of one year these smokers have spent at least Rp. 1,825,000.00. But price of cigarette is not the only expense cigarette smokers incur. Since cigarette smoke has an offensive odor that permeates clothing, stuffed furniture, and carpet, smokers often find that those items must be cleaned more frequently than non-smokers do. Although it is difficult to estimate the cost of this additional expense, one can see that this hidden expense does contribute to making smoking an expensive habit.
(The topic sentence is “Smoking cigarette can be an expensive habit”, The topic of the paragraph is “habit of smoking cigarette.” The main idea is that smoking cigarette is proven to be an expensive habit, and other sentences give example of those expense).
Read the following paragraph quickly. Do not use a dictionary and don’t worry about the details. Then underline the topic sentence of each paragraph, the sentence that give the main idea.
1. Dong Kyu is a Korean teenager; his family moved to Canada a year ago. After ten years in the Korean school system, he entered a Canadian high school. By the end of the school year, Dong Kyu was one of the best students in his class. He explained his success:” I have had the best possible education. In the Korean schools. I memorized a lot of basic information, and I learned self-discipline. Then in the Canadian school, I learned to from my own ideas and option. The combination of the Fastern and Western systems is the best possible kind of education.”
2. Progress is gradually being made in the fight of cancer. In the early 1900s, few cancer patients had any hope of long-term survival. In the 1920s, the ratio was one in four. Currently, the ratio is down to one in three. The gain from one in four to one in three represents about 58,000 live saved each year.
3. Saudi Arabia is a country rich in oil. But poor in one of a country’s most critical natural resources. Fresh water. Without it, agriculture becomes extremely difficult and costly. Many areas area removing the salt from the seawater that surrounds the Arabian Peninsula. Other efforts might be floating of an ice cap all the way from the North Pole and digging of wells to reach water that is underground.
4. In recent years, Brazil has greatly increased its Gross National Product (GNP). Several factor have caused this change. First, Brazil has a favorable climate, abundant useful land, an excellent coastline, and many other natural resources, Second, it has a large number of workers available for employment in industry. Finally, Brazilian business and economic planners have encouraged investment.
5. Hospitality is natural in my village, Guests arrive at any time of the day or night and they are always welcome. Nobody will ask them “why have you come?” or “Haw long are you going to stay?” They become part of the family. Villagers are delighted to received quests. Hey are fed, clothed and given presents. When guests arrive they are offered a pot of water to wash their hands, face and feet. Then they are given a mat or a chair to sit on. Previously, sherbet was offered, but now it is the custom to give a cup of tea, depending on the time of the day. Guests are never asked “have you eaten?” or “would you like something to eat or drink?” food is placed before them and it is impolite for guests to refuse. Hospitality means giving yourself completely to guests and strangers.
6. There are many ways of communicating that do not utilize language. Cries of warning and aggression, of contentment and affection, are forms of communication not limited to men. Or ,on the human level, the dirty look, which may convey world of meaning, does not involve language. Gestures ,too, are forms of communication, although these seem always involved with culturally defined habits. The nod of the head means ”yes” to American, but a single nod in the Middle East is a clear ”no”. Plainly, there are many ways of conveying messages, of which language is but the major one for human beings.
7. Undoubtedly the Russels’ Kitchen is one of the pleasantest and best planed that I have ever seen. It is large, painted white, and is very light and airy. There are bright curtains at the windows. The light are situated over the stove and the sink as well as in the center of the ceiling. The kitchen has a lot of cupboard space and more than enough electrical outlets. The working surfaces are all at just the right height. And the refrigerator and stove are both in extremely convenient position. Finally, constant hot water is provided by a very dependable gas heater.
8. Another reason student panic during final exams is that they suddenly become aware that they have not really learned anything all semester going to classes, taking not, and reading the assigned chapters without ever really spending time to review their notes or make sure that they understand the material. As a result, they do not learn the material during the term. When the final exam period approaches, they find themselves overwhelmed with pages of notes they scarcely recognize and chapters in the book they do not remember reading. Since they are faced the task of learning fourteen weeks of materials in a few hours, is it any wonder that they panic?
9. there are there basic kinds of material that can be found in any good library. First, there are book on all subject, both in English and in many other language. These books are organized according to subject title, and author in a central file called the card catalogue. Books can generally be checked out of the library and taken home for period of two to four weeks. Second there are reference works, which include encyclopedia, dictionaries, bibliographies, atlases, etc, and which generally must are used in library itself. Third, there are periodicals-which are filed alphabetically in rack, or which have been microfilmed to conserve space. Like reference works, periodicals cannot usually removed from the library.