Session 3. Title: Topic sentences, Controlling Supporting details. In this session we will be looking at the importance ...
Title: Title: Topic sentences, Controlling Supporting details
In this session we will be looking at the importance of writing good topic sentences. A topic sentence is the most important sentence in a paragraph. It is a helpful guide to both the writer and the reader. The writer can see what information to include and what to exclude. The reader, on the other hand, can see what the paragraph is going to be about and is, therefore, better prepared to understand it. An important point to remember is that a topic sentence is a complete sentence containing both a topic and a controlling idea. ACTIVITY ACTIVITY 1: Class discussion
What is a topic sentence?
What is a controlling idea?
!ead !ead the para paragr grap aphs hs on " Wha Whatt is is a topi topic c sen senten tence ce#$ #$on ontr trol olli ling ng ide idea% a%
What is a topic sentence/controlling idea? The Parts of a Paragraph A paragraph generall& has three parts' a topic sentence, support , and a
conclusion. The topic sentence tells the topic ( what the paragraph is about ) and the writer*s writer*s attitude or idea about the topic. The supporting part of the paragraph explains, describes, or de+elops the main idea gi+en in the topic sentence. The conclusion of the paragraph usuall& summarises or comments on the main idea. The length of the paragraph depends on the complexit& of the topic. ook at the three main parts in the following paragraph. The topic sentence is in bold print and the concluding sentence is underlined. The rest of the paragraph is the support.
Parents can help their children be successful in school by encouraging them. Children usually enjoy playing games instead of studying their boring lessons, so parents have to take the responsibility to monitor their studying and to remind them to do their homework at home after school. Parents should also encourage their children to study by buying story books with pictures, or they can buy text books or tapes that help c hildren EP /P3/S3/TM1 /P3/S3/TM1
learn to spell or read. The best way to enc ourage children to study efficiently is to reward them when they get an “!. s a child, " experienced this. #y parents gave me a gift if " had studied well. " was very excited. $o, if parents really want their children to succeed in school, they need to pay attention to their children%s studies and encourage them.
The Topic Sentence The topic sentence is the main-idea sentence. It is the most general and most important sentence of the paragraph. It tells the following' 1. The topic ---- what the paragraph is about 2. The controlling idea ---- the writer*s attitude or idea about the topic
The controlling idea is a word or phrase that focuses or controls the information in the rest of the paragraph. The reader can ask ue stions about the controlling idea and expect to ha+e them answered in the paragraph. In the paragraph abo+e, the topic sentence is'
Parents can help their children be successful in school by encouraging them. The topic of the sentence is how parents can help children succeed in school/ the controlling idea is encouraging. The reader might ask the following uestions and expect the paragraph to answer them'
0ow can parents encourage their children?
What specific things should parents do to encourage their children?
0ow will this encouragement lead to success?
The topic sentence gi+es the writer*s attitude, opinion, or idea about the topic. In it, the writer makes a udgement. ften, the topic sentence will include words EP /P3/S3/TM1
like helpful, eas&, difficult, exciting, dangerous, disappointing, useful, encourage, deser+e, protect, impro+e, forgi+e, +alue, and so on.
ACTIVITY : The topic and the controlling ideas in topic sentences
3tud& the following topic sentences. 4nderline the topic and circle the controlling idea in each one. The first one is done as an example. 1. !ecei+ing an 56* on m& report card was a humiliating experience. 2. When I was a child, m& grandfather*s back&ard was a magical place. . ne reason I admire 7elson 8andela is that he ne+er ga+e up. 9. The first step in learning how to do word processing is the hardest. :. The greatest difference in education between the two countries is the number of subects students must take. ;. Another wa& to reduce the rate of inflation is to balance the federal budget. . instein*s unsuccessful attempt to get nuclear weapons banned was disappointing to him. [email protected]
ne of the biggest problems with scholarships in athletics is that more attention is paid to sports than to education. 11. 3ome seeming nglish-3panish eui+alents are decepti+e.
12. Another reason air pollution is haardous is that it damages the earth*s oone la&er. 1. 3a+ings bonds are also a safe in+estment. 19. Although bright, 3heila is a +er& sh& girl. 1:. Another problem for students is finding a part-time ob.
3ince a paragraph is a short piece of writing, the topic sentence for a paragraph must be precise. A topic sentence that is too broad and +ague will be difficult to de+elop adeuatel& in one paragraph. ook at this topic sentence'
Pollution is a problem . There are man& kinds of pollution and the& each create a +ariet& of problems. The writer should limit the topic to a particular kind of pollution and focus on a particular problem. 6or e.g. The pollution of Tasik &ukit #erah in Taiping has caused problems for swimmers. the topic sentence is more focused )
ACTIVITY 3: Identif!ing topic sentences 3tud& the following pairs of topic sentences. $ircle the letter (a or b) of the better topic sentence in each pair. The first one is done as an example.
1. (a) Bi+orce creates problems for parents and children. (b) When their parents di+orce, children often feel insecure. 2. (a) Cukit Tinggi, Dahang is an interesting place to +isit. (b) The 6rench-themed attraction at Cukit Tinggi, Dahang has a uaint, uropean charm. . (a) Walking is good for &our heart. (b) xercise is good for &ou.
9. (a) $omputers are more important now than e+er before. EP /P3/S3/TM1
(b) $omputers make re+ising an essa& eas&. :. (a) 8& parents ha+e taught me to be persistent. (b) 8& parents ha+e had a great influence on me.
;. (a) There are man& things that make learning the nglish language difficult. (b) What makes nglish particularl& difficult to learn is pronunciation. . (a) The wide +ariet& of merchandise makes Fusco con+enient. (b) The home repair department in Fusco is con+enient. [email protected]
(a) The architecture in Guala umpur reflects trends in modern design. (b) Guala umpur is an interesting cit& because of its histor&, architecture and sports acti+ities. The topic sentence can appear in a number of places in a paragraph. ften, it is the first sentence of the paragraph. Writing the topic sentence at the beginning helps the writer to remember the controlling idea. It also helps th e reader to focus uickl& on the important information in the paragraph. The topic sentence can also appear in the middle or at the end of the paragraph. It is possible for the topic sentence not to appear in the paragraph at all/ it can be implied. In this case, the writer has the topic sentence in his or her mind and uses it to control the EP /P3/S3/TM1
paragraph. If the writer uses an implied topic sentence, he or she must be sure that the reader can clearl& understand the writer*s attitude or controlling idea from the flow of ideas in the paragraph.
ACTIVITY ": Practice in #riting topic sentences 1. 2. . 9.
3tud& the following paragraphs. 4nderline the topic. $ircle the controlling idea in each topic sentence. Write out the topic sentence for each paragraph.
Ads on TH gi+e consumers a lot of information. The& let consumers know what
products look like, how much the& cost, and where the& are a+ailable. 6or example, a To&ota dealer wants to sell the To&ota $amr&. The dealer*s ads will show the new $amr& o+er and o+er again and tell the consumer that the $amr& has power windows, six EP /P3/S3/TM1
c&linders, etc. The ads ma& compare the $amr& with the 8ercedes. The& ma& sa& that the $amr& runs as well as the 8ercedes but the $amr&*s price is much cheaper. The ads ma& also tell where to bu& the $amr&. It is onl& sold at the To&ota dealer, which is located along Falan 3&ed Ahmad. When consumers see these ads, the& think about all this information about the $amr&. Then the& can decide if it is the car the& want. Topic 3entence' C.
The next time &ou go shopping at the 8esra 3uperstore, pa& attention when the
salesman is checking out items. Jou can see the price of each item coming up on the computer screen one at a time, and &ou can also hear the computer repeating the price. The onl& thing that the salesman has to do is ust pass the items o+er the surface of the computer, and it takes care of the rest. Then, when the salesman finishes checking the items, the computer prints out a total list of all &our items, including taxes. A salesman, depending on how fast he mo+es, can check out hundreds of items in eight to ten minutes. Thus, the computer has reall& speeded up the checkout process in stores. Topic 3entence'
Deople can learn whate+er language the& want on 6latbush A+enue, the central
street in Crookl&n, 7ew Jork. n this street are man& little stores, for example, $hinese, $uban, Famaican, Italian, Duerto !ican, American, and 0aitian. This di+ersit& of stores reflects the different ethnic backgrounds of the people li+ing there. n this street, people can learn a new language because the& interact with people of different nations. 6or example, I went to a store and one of the emplo&ees who looked 3panish asked me in m& language,% u pa we sa ou +le.% In 0aitian $reole that means " Bid I see an&thing I wanted?% I was surprised to hear him speak m& language, so I asked him where he had learnt $reole. 0e said that 0aitian people had taught him when the& came into his store shopping. Another example is m& uncle. ne da&, I heard him speaking 3panish, and I EP /P3/S3/TM1
asked him where he had learnt it. 0e said,% h from the 3panish people I know, on the street, and going into their stores.% 0e said I could easil& learn 3panish without an& courses at school. 6latbush A+enue is the place to learn foreign languages. Topic 3entence' B.
Another interesting area of research has to do with the distinction between
intrinsic and extrinsic moti+ation. We are intrinsicall& moti+ated when we do something "for the fun of it%, or for no other reason than to perform the beha+iour. We sing in the shower, not because we expect applause or because we are tr&ing to earn mone&, but merel& because we like to do it. We do crossword pules, paint pictures, and look at the sunset because it is intrinsicall& rewarding to do so. We do not expect an& external reward. xtrinsic moti+ation, on the other hand, refers to situations in which we do something because we expect some external reward. We ma& onl& show up at the office because we need the mone&. We ma& onl& go to school to please our parents. We ma& be exceptionall& polite to a particular indi+idual because we want something from him#her. Topic 3entence'
In the last few decades, computer technolog& has made tremendous progress in
the world of communication to benefit humankind. The computer has the capabilit& to communicate across long distances. 6urthermore, an information superhighwa& has been created for the computer, in which huge amounts of data can be transmitted around the world at high speed. $omputer technolog& also makes it possible for computer networks to link academic, research, and go+ernment organisations globall&. 6or example, a primar& means of communication using the computer is through the Internet. It enables scientists and scholars as well as educators and students to link with worldwide research institutions and libraries. The& can also access publications in their specific fields. Cesides, using lectronic mail, or -mail, allows scholars, researchers, and businesses as well as families and friends to communicate uickl& and easil& b& t&ping a document into
one computer, which then appears on another one, perhaps across the countr& or to another in a short time. Topic 3entence'
We write because we want to understand our li+es. This is wh& m& closets are
filled with boxes and boxes of must& old ournals. It is wh& I found pages of poetr& under m& stepdaughter 8ira*s mattress when she went off to camp. It is wh& m& father tells me he will soon begin his memoirs. As Fohn $hee+er explains, " When I began to write, I found this was the best wa& to make sense out of m& life.% Topic 3entence'
'urther practice on #riting topic sentences, controlling and supporting ideas
!ead the paragraphs on "3upport%.
Write out the topic sentence for the paragraph gi+en below.
4nderline the topic and circle the controlling idea. ist the support.
Support The support in a paragraph explains or de+elops the topic sentence. The supporting part can be narrati+es, details, facts, examples, explanations, or statistics. All EP /P3/S3/TM1
of the support relates to the main idea stated in the topic sentence and shows wh& the topic sentence is true. 0ere is a brief list of the support in the paragraph about what parents can do to help their children succeed in school. 7otice that all of the support explains wa&s that parents can encourage their children.
Topic sentence' Darents can help their children be successful in school b& encouraging them. 3upport' i. Darents can encourage children b& reminding them to do their homework. ii. Darents can encourage children b& bu&ing them books and tapes to help them learn. iii. Darents can encourage children b& rewarding them.
The internet is a +er& useful tool for students. 6or example, students can learn
about different cultures. The& can ha+e a friend in $hina and compare cultures using email. As a result, the& can understand and appreciate other cultures better. If the& ha+e a 8ath problem, the& can easil& find a tutor or help on the Internet. 3tudents who want to learn a different language can find places where the& can listen to tapes to simulate a teacher. If the& ha+e to do a research paper on a specific topic, all the& ha+e to do is go to the Internet and the& will find the information instantl&. The Internet is useful to students in man& wa&s. EP /P3/S3/TM1
Topic 3entence' 3upport' 1.
ACTIVITY $%ii&: Practice on #riting supporting details Celow are some topic sentences. Write three possible sentences of support that could be included in a paragraph. Then, discuss &our support with &our trainer and friends to determine if it relates to the main idea. 1. Topic sentence' Darents can help their children succeed in school b& offering financial support. 3upport' EP /P3/S3/TM1
2. Topic sentence' 4sing a cell phone while dri+ing is dangerous. 3upport' 3upport' 3upport'
. Topic sentence' Watching TH is a good wa& to learn spoken nglish. 3upport' 3upport' 3upport'
9. Topic sentence' 3moking cigarettes can be an expensi+e habit. 3upport' 3upport' 3upport'
:. Topic sentence' We uickl& spruced up our apartment before our guest arri+ed. 3upport' 3upport' 3upport'
$ource' (. )ocus on *riting' +efining composition skills through instruction and practice by $malley, +uetten and o-yrev /0012 3earners Publishing Pte 3 td, $ingapor e. /. 4eveloping Composition $kills' +hetoric and 5rammar, / nd ed by +uetten, #ary /0062 Thomson 3earning, &oston, 7$.
ACTIVITY (: A fi)e*+inute reflecti)e #riting acti)it! A -e+ar.ale 01perience I 2a)e 2ad
Think of a memorable experience &ou ha+e had in the past. This ma& be a holida&, meeting an old friend, ha+ing a meal out, an eno&able walk, etc.
!ecapture the memor& b& writing about it, including how it made &ou feel and wh& it was such a remarkable experience. 4se what &ou ha+e learnt in writing paragraphs- use of topic sentence, controlling and supporting ideas
Write out &our experiences in the spaces pro+ided below.