Finding the main idea of a paragraph or essay isn't as easy as it seems, especially if you're out of practice. So, here's some main idea worksheets suitable for high schoolers or above. See below for more main idea worksheets and reading comprehension questions with printable pdfs for busy teachers or people just looking to boost their reading skills.
- More Main Idea Worksheets
- Reading Comprehension Worksheets (Author's Purpose, Vocab in Context, Inference etc.)
Directions: Read the following paragraphs and compose a one-sentence main idea for each on a piece of scrap paper. Click on the links below the paragraphs for the answers. The main idea will either be stated or implied.
Finding the Main Idea Paragraph 1: Classrooms
The physical environment of a classroom is extremely important because it can influence the way teachers and students feel, think, and behave. If a student feels pressured, under stress, unhappy, or unsafe, it would be impossible for her or him to learn the lessons planned by the educator. Likewise, if a teacher feels unhappy or disorganized because of the classroom's lack of order or detail, the ability for her to teach is greatly diminished. The environment of a classroom serves four basic functions: security, social contact, pleasure, and growth. For real learning and teaching to take place, all four of those needs must be met by the class space.
Finding the Main Idea Paragraph 2: China Power
Given the European historical experience and the balance-of-power model, many believe China cannot rise peacefully to power, but there are a few people who offer refreshing, persuasive, and provocative views stating otherwise. These nay sayers emphasizes that from a realist perspective, China's rise should already be provoking balancing behavior by its neighbors; however, its rise has generated little of that response. East Asian states are not balancing China; they are accommodating it, because China has not sought to translate its dominant position into conquest of its neighbors. Whether China's emergence as a global power can peacefully find a place in East Asia and the world is a major issue in today's international political environment, one that warrants a responsible look.
Finding the Main Idea Paragraph 3: Rain
Often when it rains, a particular dreariness descends upon the earth. Most people hide out in their houses sending forlorn glances out the window. Animals scamper off to nooks and crannies, poking their heads out to timidly sniff the air for signs of dry weather. Despite the pellets of water cascading from the sky, an occasional brave soul will venture out for a jog in the drizzle or a bird will chirp merrily in a mud puddle, dismissing the downpour. Some people call these adventurers crazy, but others celebrate the willingness of these individuals to embrace negativity and turn it into something positive.
Finding the Main Idea Paragraph 4: Math
From adolescence, data show that males outperform females on math tests and tests of math reasoning, despite differences in IQ. The current data with college students and a simple test of arithmetic ability show that males still score higher than females even when performance is measured using a third grade arithmetic test. The cause for the variance in numbers is questionable because the intelligence quotient in the tested students ranged from below to above average in both sexes. The finding of a sex difference in math performance from adolescence is a finding that arouses curiosity as to the cause of the difference – is nature or nurture involved or a combination of both?
Finding the Main Idea Paragraph 5: Movies
Going to the movies has become a weekend activity that many people pay large amounts of money to do. Movies are pricey these days, but the medium never fails to draw crowds. And while some movies have excellent plots, characterization and cinematography, others are simply horrible in just about every way. Yet once in a while, a film will appear on the big screen that will earn itself a rightful place in history as a magnificent film, one that touches the lives of people. And really, isn't that all people are really looking for as they trek out to the show, weekend after weekend? A brief glimpse into a life where people express what the moviegoer is also feeling? It must be, otherwise people would spare their wallets and stay home.
Finding the Main Idea Paragraph 6: Troopathon
As troops fought their way throughout the desert during the war in Iraq, the narrative from the mainstream media was nearly synonymous with that of the anti-war left. The military mission was continuously undermined by media reports claiming that American troops were killers and that the war on terror was all but lost. Frustrated with the lies and exaggerations perpetuated by the media, Melanie Morgan decided to fight back. So Morgan joined forces with political strategists Sal Russo and Howard Kaloogian to create a pro-troop nonprofit organization that hosts Troopathon, a yearly web telethon fundraiser that raises money to send care packages to troops in Iraq, Afghanistan and Guantanamo Bay. Since the first Troopathon was held three years ago, the organization has raised over $2 million.
Finding the Main Idea Paragraph 7: Relationships
At one time or another, most adults have been in a romantic relationship. A guy walks up to a girl at a bar, gets her number, and the beginning of a relationship is formed. A guy and a girl meet in Physics class, get paired as study partners, and the rest is history. Two high school sweethearts rekindle an old flame on Facebook after years apart. These types of simple encounters may lead to relationships, and even though that first meeting is easy, the entire relationship is not. A lot of work goes into making a true bonded relationship, and when that work is bypassed, the relationship may not last.
Finding the Main Idea Paragraph 8: Educational Technology
Slowly, over the past several decades, technology, in all its various forms, has been creeping into the educational institutions of the United States and is now a pervasive presence. Computers are present in most classrooms; second grade students use digital cameras for science projects; teachers use document cameras for lectures; and students of all ages research on the Internet via smartphones, smartpads and laptops. While advocates have cheered and opponents have grumbled, technology has made its way into classrooms across the U. S. and knowledge of its applications has become a prerequisite for a modern education. Some people, however, do not accept this stance wholeheartedly. Opponents of the massive influx of technology into school systems state that the results of the technology have, thus far, not proven to be sufficient grounds for accepting it and its shortcomings. Despite their good intentions, these critics of technology integration are mistaken, and about twenty years behind the times.
Finding the Main Idea Paragraph 9: Fair Use
The recording industry has gone too far in its fight against file sharers in that Copyright Management Systems (CMS), used to enforce Copyright Management Information (CMI), can impinge on users “fair use” of digital information. According to U.S. code, Title 17, chapter 1, section 107, copying of copyrighted information is allowed “for purposes such as criticism, comment, news reporting, teaching (including multiple copies for classroom use), scholarship, or research”.
Many proposed systems of copyright management, such as creating hardware with “anti-copying” devices already installed, can impinge on this fair use allotment in copyright law by preventing professionals with legitimate defense from exercising proper usages. It can also prevent the copying of non-copyrighted material by the average user. If a person wishes to make a copy of a non-copyrighted CD, so as to have a copy at home and one in the car, a copyright management system would prevent him or her from this fair use act.
Finding the Main Idea Paragraph 10: Mares
A recent study followed bands of feral horses in the Kaimanawa Mountains of New Zealand over the course of three years, has some interesting findings regarding foaling rates of social mares. Elissa Z. Cameron, now at the University of Pretoria in South Africa, and two colleagues computed sociality scores for fifty-six mares, based on parameters such as the proportion of time each animal spent near other mares and the amount of social grooming she did. The team found that the scores correlated well with foaling rate: more sociable mares had more foals. They also suffered slightly less harassment by the bands' few males.