Reading Comprehension – Finding the main ideas

Finding the main ideas in a text, a paragraph, a sentence is the key to Reading Comprehension.

How do we do that?

Hand out a text  (three/four paragraphs). The subject of the text should be relevant to your students' interests. The paragraphs should be relatively short. The sentences should be about 1-2 lines long.

What is a paragraph?

A paragraph is a group pf sentences that develop a certain thought. That thought is usually expressed in one sentence.

  • Help students find the sentence expressing the main idea in every paragraph. 
  • Underline the main idea. Does all the paragraph support that idea? If the answer is negative, find the sentence that does not.
  • Move to the sentence level. If the sentence is long, try to find the main clause.  Pay special attention to the verb.
  • Try to examine the relation between words and sentences.

The following Connectors may help you.


first, first of all, secondly, also, in addition, moreover, besides


but, however, yet, in contrast, even though, although, despite, in spite of, otherwise, still, on the contrary, on the other hand, nevertheless


for example, for instance, such as


therefore, thus, consequently, hence, in conclusion, as a result,  in summary, finally, last of all

We are now ready to work on the text.

Read the whole text carefully. The problem is that somebody has mixed up the order of the paragraphs and added sentences that do not belong to the text.

Read the passage and then:

  • Rearrange the paragraphs in suitable order. Pay attention to the Connectors.
  • Find the sentences that don't fit in (one in each paragraph) and cross them out.
  • Suggest a suitable title for the passage.

Reading Comprehension Text

Besides, newcomers are called up only after they have been in Israel for one year at least. Some of them miss their homes. They must report to the draft board, however, within six months of receiving the status of newcomer.

The I.D.F. is an integral part of life for every Israeli citizen. Joining the army is, therefore, one of the civic duties of newcomers and an important step towards their social integration as well. Many newcomers come from Europe. The army is aware of the specific problems of newcomers and these are taken into consideration during their military service.

In spite of these considerations, military service may prove quite difficult for newcomers. Some newcomers are too old to join the army. The government assists newcomers in compulsory military service by providing financial aid, but it is up to the other soldiers, the Israelis, to help them feel welcome in the unit.

For example, when a newcomer comes to Israel after his eighteenth birthday, his military service is shortened in accordance with his age and family status. The length of his service may vary from four to thirty months. Newcomers over the age of 24 usually join the reserves and female newcomers over the age of 20 are exempt from military service. They all serve In the South.

Suggestions for Homework Assignments

Write a short letter (10-15 lines) to a young soldier, a newcomer, who is alone in Israel. Try to offer help and advice.

The following guidelines may help you.

Dear Daniel,

My cousin Oren has given me your name and address.

I understand you ….

I can imagine how hard ….

I have a brother your age and we would be happy…

We are truly looking forward to …

And that's all for today.

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