7 - Summary Paragraph


Practicing Finding the Main Idea

As stated before, summarizing requires you to find the main idea of the passage. 


We'll look at some short passages now and practice finding the main idea.



Activity Section


Example #1


Is there a hairy monster in the Pacific Northwest?  Some people think so.  They say it lives in the mountains.  They call it “Bigfoot.”  No one knows for sure if Bigfoot is real.  Hundreds of people say they have seen the monster, and many more claim to have seen its huge footprints.  Reports state that Bigfoot looks like an ape.  It doesn’t run, but it walks very fast.  Bigfoot is said to be a fast swimmer as well.  Reports of the strange Bigfoot make the monster an interesting puzzle.


What is the main idea?

  1. The Pacific Northwest is a nice place to visit.

  2. Bigfoot looks like an ape.

  3. Bigfoot is still a mystery.


The answer is

  c) Bigfoot is still a mystery.


The passage does not deal with the Pacific Northwest as a residential location and it does not only focus on the Bigfoot looking like an ape.  The correct answer is c) because the passage provides several details about the mystery of Bigfoot. 



Example #2


When a person decides to get a dog, he or she has many kinds to choose from.  As a rule, short-haired dogs are best for cities.  Beagles, Boston Terriers, and Dachshunds make good city pets.  Great Danes are short-haired, too.  However, they are too big for city living.  It is hard in a city to give them all the exercise they need.  Setters, Springer Spaniels, and Collies are especially good as country dogs.


What is the main idea is?

  1. Dogs are good pets.
  2. Some dogs are better than others for city life.
  3. There are many kinds of dogs.


The answer is

  b) Some dogs are better than others for city life.


The passage does not deal with all dogs as good pets and it does not deal with the many types of dogs even though some types are mentioned.  The correct answer is b) because the passage includes supporting details to support this main idea.





Let's look at another passage, but this time, after finding the main idea, we'll look at some details that support the main idea and some possible summaries.



Next: 7.3 Possible Summaries