Make your own free website on

Reading Test Success

Main idea practice

Main Idea
Main idea practice
Author's Purpose
Author's Purpose Practice
Inference Practice
Textbook List
Final Project
Teacher Resources

Name ______________________             Main Idea Practice

Read each passage. Then circle the letter of the choice with the main idea.


1. A number of recent books with titles like Raising Cain, Real Boys, and Lost Boys all focus on the same issue: Today’s teenaged boys are feeling more anxiety than ever before about their physical appearance. Bombarded by advertising featuring well-muscled, semi-clad young men, teenage boys are experiencing what teenage girls have been coping with for years. They are afraid that they cannot possibly live up to the media’s idealized image of their gender. Young boys below the average in height, weight, or both suffer the most. Often, they are brutally teased by their brawnier peers. Some react to the ridicule by heading for the gym and lifting weights. Yet even those who successfully “bulk up” don’t like feeling that they are considered worthless if they lose their hard-won muscle tone. Others, convinced that no amount of body building can help, often withdraw from social contact with their peers. This is their way of avoiding taunts about their size or shape. Still, they are understandably angry at being badly treated because of their body type. Although school psychologists generally recognize that boys today are having severe body image problems, they are at a loss about what to do to solve those problems.

The main idea of this paragraph is that

a. More than in previous generations, teenaged boys are getting into body building.

b. Teenaged boys today are showing more anxiety about their physical appearance than did boys of previous generations.


2. In 1997, the U.S. Consumer Products Safety Commission reported that skateboarding injuries were up by 33 percent. Mountain climbing injuries were also up by 20 percent. Similarly, snowboarding injuries showed an increase of thirty-one percent. By all accounts, many Americans are having a love affair with risky sports; as a result, they are injuring themselves in ever greater numbers. One reason for the growing participation in risky, or extreme, sports has been put forth by Dan Cady, a professor of popular culture at California State University. According to Cady, previous generations didn’t need to seek out risk. It was all around them in the form of disease epidemics, economic instability, and global wars. At one time, just managing to stay alive was risky, but that feeling has all but disappeared, at least for members of the privileged classes. To a degree Cady’s theory is confirmed in the words of adventure racer Joy Marr. Marr says that risk has been “minimized” in everyday life, forcing people to seek out challenges in order to prove themselves. (Source: Karl Taro Greenfield. “Life on the Edge.” Time. September 6, 1999, p.29).

The main idea of this paragraph is that

a. According to Professor Dan Cady if California State, many Americans yearn for the days when just staying alive was a difficult task.

b. More and more Americans are taking up high-risk sports; as a result, injuries from these sports are increasing.


3.In 1860, it took more than three weeks for mail to travel from the Mississippi River to California by stagecoach or boat.  This prompted Senator William M. Gwin and William H. Russell to establish an express main service between St. Joseph, Missouri, and Sacramento, California.  This service became known as the pony express.  Young men would each ride about 75 miles a day.  The riders exchanged horses at every station spaced about ten miles apart.  Sending a letter by pony express from Missouri took ten days or less to reach California.

The main idea of this paragraph is that

a.   communication across America has changed dramatically since the 19th century.

b.   In its time, the pony express was a new and much faster way to send mail.


4.The Industrial Revolution started in Great Britain and gave that country the strongest economy in the world in the 1700s. The Revolution began in the cotton textile industry and before long spread to the mining and transportation industries.  Machines replaced work typically done by human labor.  Factories and factory towns developed around the areas of needed coal, which had previously been occupied by small villages.

The main idea of this paragraph is that

a.   the Industrial Revolution started in Great Britain

b.   the Industrial Revolution caused economic and social changes in Great Britain.


5.Washington, D.C. is second to none as a city of famous buildings.  The most famous residence in the United States, the White House, is located on Pennsylvania Avenue.  The Capitol stands proudly as the most prominent landmark in the city.  Memorials to three presidents, Washington, Lincoln, and Jefferson, are highlights of the city.  Yet another landmark, the National Archives building, holds government documents such as the Declaration of Independence and the Constitution.

The main idea of this paragraph is that

a.   the nation’s capitol has many historical items and buildings.

b.   the nation’s capitol has a lot of important buildings.


Try this game!

Now that you have completed the section on Main Idea, click on the link above and play the game.  Make sure you read the directions.

Enter supporting content here