Reading Anthology

06.6 Identifying Supporting Details
Reading: Supporting Details
To Do:
Go to the Reading Anthology page and choose a reading. After reading, locate and identify a topic sentence from two different paragraphs.
Now, look more closely at the paragraph where the first topic sentence came from. Write a short paragraph that describes the type of support the first paragraph uses to reinforce its topic sentence. Does it make use of narrative or personal examples? Does it use facts or statistics? Does it use quotes or paraphrases from research materials?
Repeat this process for the second topic sentence’s paragraph. Write another short paragraph describing its supporting details.
Conclude with 1-2 sentences that explain why you think the author chose this type of support in these paragraphs, and how those supporting details relate to the overall thesis of the reading selection.


Worked Example

The same student we’ve been following so far writes this:

READING: Supporting Details
“Multiple Intelligences” by Fred Mednick

Topic sentence #1: “Mindy L. Kornhaber, a researcher at Harvard University, has identified a number of reasons why teachers and policymakers have responded positively to Howard Gardner’s presentation of multiple intelligences.”

This paragraph is supported by research. It doesn’t use quotes, but clearly all the information in the paragraph comes from Kornhaber’s work. So it paraphrases her findings about how teachers react to multiple intelligences. It also seems to summarize her thesis at the end of the paragraph.

Topic sentence #2: “To explore your intelligences, visit ‘Lessons for Hope.’”

This paragraph turns out to be quite short (only 1 more sentence after the topic sentence), so I’m going to also address the paragraph immediately after this one. Between the two short paragraphs, they describe what a user will see when you visit the external link. It is supported by fact: its descriptions of the multiple intelligences self-assessment activity are all verifiable when a reader visits this website for herself.

Since this is a reading from a textbook, it makes sense that the author uses facts and outside research as supporting details in his paragraphs. He wants us to learn from the reading, and we can trust that what he says is true because it’s easy to confirm his facts elsewhere.

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