Perhaps the central idea or the main idea that the author is trying to communicate to the reader is often left out or omitted altogether in many books. Often times the writer may not even be aware of the central idea until the book is read. For instance, a recent passage titled: “Why Students Should Have More Homework.” The author has written this entire passage without mentioning the main idea, which is that students should be allowed to take a certain amount of free time throughout the week to complete assignments that are in line with their studies and which would help them succeed. However, when the student comes to read the essay, they immediately spot the missing central idea and are disappointed with the overall quality of the essay because of it.
So let’s get back to our example, “Why Students Should Have More Homework.” By inserting the main idea into each of the paragraphs, we can easily make it stick out like a sore thumb and bring the entire essay to life. For instance, by placing the sentence: “Why students should have more homework” between the opening sentences, you can make it appear as though the main idea has been stated over twice. Because the writer didn’t use the main idea in those sentences, you immediately notice that the missing piece of information has been inserted into your body of text.
Another great way to integrate central ideas into your writing is to use them as sub-themes in your sentences. Sub-themes are ideas that can stand on their own but can also be built up within your main theme. For instance, in our previous example, the main idea is that students should have more free time during the week to complete their assignments. By placing a sub-theme of free time after the main theme, you can help liven up the dullness of the main idea and make it a bit more appealing to the reader.
Use Central Ideas in Paragraphs – Uses Central Ideas in your writing isn’t just about creating a flow chart of your main idea. It’s also about using them throughout your paragraphs to build the entire body of your text. For example, in the above paragraph, the phrase “they worked last night” is a perfect example of a central idea being used throughout the entire paragraph. This is done so that when the student reads the paragraph, they already know what the main idea is because it is integrated into each of the individual paragraphs.
Build Multiple Supporting Details on Each Paragraph – One of the benefits of Central Ideas is that they help you avoid writing long paragraphs. Long paragraphs don’t support the overall theme of the book because you are only introducing one small part of the overall theme. If you introduce too many supporting details in a single paragraph, the reader will lose interest before you finish with the main idea.
When writing informational texts, you need to keep in mind the idea of building layers of information. You want to use your central idea to begin the introduction of the main idea and then gradually reveal the secondary or tertiary ideas as you go through the text. Doing this will help your readers to stay focused on the main idea throughout the entire text.