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Strategies for an Effective Reading Process: Differentiating Between Main Ideas and Supporting Details

Being able to distinguish between main ideas and supporting details helps students draw conclusions, evaluate, and critically interpret--all integral skills for comprehension in college reading. Faculty can use the following strategies to help students identify these critical components of a reading; these strategies can be applied at the paragraph or chapter level.

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Asking questions that help identify main ideas and supporting details

Identifying presentation patterns in a textbook

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Identifying supporting details first

Using concept maps