Reading activity is concerned with meaning (thought, ideas, understanding, information or messege) to greater extent than it is with form (atructure, grammar, syntax, phonology, morphology, etc.) although the two – as it is realized – interindependent.When we read, we are looking for the ideas contained in the reading materials. All the ideas that should be understood, however, are not of equal importance. Some of the ideas are superordinate (main) while others are subordinte (supporting details).
In one paragraph, for example, there are several ideas and attached in it. Not all ideas in that paragraph are of equal importance. Only one idean in common is significant (important, superordinate, main one). The remains are not as important as or significant as the former. The subordinate ideas in their function are to support, to clarofy, and to modify the main one.
A lot of my friends are moving out of the city. They’re buying houses in the suburbs because they want to get away from the noice, smog, traffic, and crime of the city. One friend says, “There’s too much air pollution in the city. I prefer the suburbs, where the air is clean”. Another friend complains about the traffic: “There are too many cars downtown! You can’t find a parking place, and the traffic jams are terrible.” Everyone complains about crime: “The city is full of criminals. I rarey leave my house at night – it’s too dangerous .”
- The main idea of the above paragraph is in the sentence:
“A lot of my friends are oving out of the city”
- The supporting ideas, of course, are the remains:
a. They’re buying houses in the suburbs because they want to get away from the noice, smog, traffic, and crime of the city.
b. One friend says, “There’s too much air polution in the city. I prefer suburbs, where the air is clean.”
c. Another friend complains about the traffic: “There are too mny cars downtown! You can’t fimd a parking place, and the traffic jams are terrible.”
d. Everyone complains about crime: “The city is full of criminals. I rarely leave my house at night – it’s too dangerous.”
You probably propose a question: “Why is the idea in sentence: “A lot of .......... “ considered as main one? In more apecify way, the question will be: “What are the characterstics of the main iea on paragraph?
The characteristic in determining the main idea of that paragraph or in any aragrph is on the degree of ‘generality’ of ideas contained in the paragraph. The most general idea, of course, is the main or significant one. The other ideas in turn are supporting ones that support, clarify, or modify the superordinate thought.
The idea in sentence: “A lot of my friends are moving out of the city.” is clearly the most general one among the others. This idea, therefore, is the main one. And the remains are details or as reasons from the first one.
An efficient reader understands not only all ideas implied by the writer in the text but also their relative significance. The reader must be able to differentiate and discriminate between the most signifiant idea in one hand and the less essential one on the other. You effort, of course, show to be an efficient and effective reader.
NB: Tugas Reading Comprehension