PSAE Main Idea

PSAE Days 1 and 2
Main Ideas and Supporting Details
 Main Idea
 Supporting Details
 Controlling Idea
 Facts, reasons, or
 Topic or subject that the
examples that describe
or explain the main idea
 Author often includes
BOTH important and
less-important details
passage as a whole is
 Sometimes, it is clearly
in the beginning or the
 Sometimes, it is implied
 Star-nosed moles live underground, in parts of the
United States and Canada. Although blind, they do
have small eyes that are covered with flaps of skin.
They also have a distinctive star-shaped protrusion on
the top of their heads, giving them their “star-nosed”
name. Star-nosed moles burrow through the earth in
search of earthworms, their primary food. They
produce a toxin that stuns and paralyzes the
earthworm. This way, they can save the worms for
future consumption/
 What is the main idea?
 The maid idea is that the star-nosed moles are small
animals that lie underground and eat earthworms.
 Everything else? Supporting details!
 After you read, ask yourself what the passage, article,
or story was about.
 Try to sum up your answer in one sentence. Your answer
will be close to the author’s controlling idea.
 Do not confuse a detail from a passage with the main
 Supporting details are there to add extra support or extra
information ABOUT the main idea…or to prove a point
raised by the main idea.
 Irrelevant detail. Does not constiture a vital part of the
text and does not directly support the main idea.
 Look at passage 1 on your worksheet.
 Read it and create a main idea.
 HINT: Even though the passage begins by making a
statement about tennis, the subject of tennis is not the
main idea.
 There are many similarities between tennis and
badminton except badminton uses birdies instead of
 Answer the questions that accompany the passage.
 HINT: Decide how to summarize the most important
material in one sentence.
 HINT: Decide which detail could be removed from the
paragraph if necessary.
 1: C
 2: D
 Answer WHILE READING questions on a separate
sheet of paper.
 Circle the answers for the AFTER READING section
on your sheet AND write the answers on the same
paper as the WHILE READING questions.
 1: A
 5:
 2: B
 Benefits of the pygmy
 3: D
 4: B
 Specifics people can do
to help
 Anecdotal stories about
the pygmy hog

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