How to Outline the Central Ideas of Text?
The central idea or main idea of the text is the main theme around which the topic revolves. The central idea tells you a lot about the text. It gives you knowledge and information regarding the topic. It enlightens you more on the subject and lets you know what the text is really about. It can also be termed as the main message that the author might be trying to give to its readers. There is no use of reading a text and not understanding the central idea of it. The central idea or main idea should be thoroughly understood by all the readers so that they can get the most out of the text. A good way to do so is by outlining all the central ideas whenever you feel like you have encountered one. Here are some ways to outline the central ideas of the text to understand it better.
The best place to find the central idea of the text is to look for it in the beginning. Most authors reveal the main idea or central idea in the very starting of the text. This is because it helps readers in understanding the context of the text in a better way. Look for the topic sentence or the introductory line in the beginning because that is where the central idea lies mostly.
If the written text is a story or any other narrative, then the author can mention the central idea in the last few lines. This is because the concluding part has the most effect on the readers. They tend to remember that more. This is the reason why some authors will mention the central idea or message in the end so that they can conclude in a powerful way that would have some effect on the reader.
How to Determine the Central Idea?
The central idea is the main concept or a theme that is being introduced by the text. Sometimes, the central idea of a text is introduced directly but most of the times, the central idea of the text is hidden and has to work out. In such texts, the readers have to read between the lines to determine the central idea. A reader needs to determine the central idea of what they read as it helps to understand the purpose of the content. Given below are some techniques that will help you in determining the central idea of the content accurately and efficiently:
A careful reading of any text is very significant to locate its main idea. A detailed and microscopic reading of any text can bring ease in the process of determining its central idea. The first and last paragraphs of any text are very important for the central ideas’ determination and these must be read with more care.
Summarizing the Text
If the central idea cannot be directly identified by reading a text, then summarizing the whole text will help. Try to make the summary as short as possible consisting of no more of two or four sentences. If you have carefully summarized all the important points, then this summary will help to determine the central idea of the text easily.
Answering Wh- Questions
Ask yourself all five Wh- questions including what, when, why, where and how about the content and answer them in your own words. Combining all your answers will help one a lot in determining the main idea of the content.
Looking for Repetitions
As the main idea is an important part of any content, the writer does use it several times during their content. Try to locate the idea being repeated and use the repeated idea to determine the main idea of the content.