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Teacher Tips and Answers

Finding Supporting Details

Each controlling sentence in a text is supported with different types of details. Note how the following focus statement is supported by different details.

Focus statement: Most people don’t give much thought to umbrellas, but these marvels of engineering have an interesting history.

Supporting Details

Example

Facts are ideas that can be proven true or false.

The first collapsible umbrella belonged to Wang Mang in China in 21 C.E.

Statistics are ideas expressed in numbers.

According to the Guinness Book of World Records, the world’s largest umbrella is 56 feet wide and weighs 4,850 pounds.

Definitions tell what a word means.

The word umbrella comes from the Latin word umbra, meaning “shadow.” The word parasol comes from the Italian word para for “protecting against” and the word sole for “sun.”

Examples show how an idea works in specific situations.

Life guards, picnickers, and even the Pope use parasols to block the sun.

Descriptions tell what something looks, feels, smells, tastes, or sounds like.

Ancient Egyptians made umbrellas from palm fronds or giant feathers attached to central posts.

Anecdotes tell little stories to make a big point.

Umbrellas fell out of fashion when the umbrella-toting Neville Chamberlain became infamous for giving in to Hitler.

Quotations give the exact words of someone.

The politician Al Smith once noted, “The American people never carry an umbrella. They prepare to walk in eternal sunshine.”

Teaching Tip

Help students understand that different types of details help readers in different ways. Encourage students to use different types of details for different purposes in their own writing.

Find supporting details.

Read the paragraph. Write down one supporting detail for each type listed after the paragraph. Make a copy of this Google doc or download a Word template.

Pizza may be seem like a modern food, but it has a long history. Throughout the ancient world, cultures created flat breads and added seasoning to make them tastier. The word “pizza” first referred to such a spiced bread in 997 C.E. in Gaeta, Italy. Pizza as we know it didn’t begin until the New-World tomato was introduced to Italy in the sixteenth century. At that point, it was a street food for the poor. In 1889, a chef made a pizza for Margherita, the Queen consort of Italy, using red tomato, white mozzarella, and green basil to represent the Italian flag. Modern pizza was born. Luciano DeCresenzo once said, “Neapolitans have always had their fast food. It’s called pizza.”

  • Facts are ideas that can be proven to be true.

    (Answers will vary.) Throughout the ancient world, cultures created flat breads and added seasoning to make them tastier.

  • Definitions tell what a word means.

    (Answers will vary.) The word “pizza” first referred to such a spiced bread in 997 C.E. in Gaeta, Italy.

  • Examples show how an idea works in a specific situation.

    (Answers will vary.) At that point, it was a street food for the poor.

  • Descriptions tell what something looks, feels, sounds, tastes, or smells like.

    (Answers will vary.) In 1889, a chef made a pizza . . . using red tomato, white mozzarella, and green basil.

  • Quotations give the exact words of someone.

    (Answers will vary.) “Neapolitans have always had their fast food. It’s called pizza.”

  • Teaching Tip

    Extend this page by providing a different article and having students search for these types of details in it.

    Using Evidence from Sources

    Whenever you use ideas from a source, you need to name the source and the author. Usually, you put the ideas in your own words (paraphrase them).

    Pizza in the Making

    By Donald Archer

    When you bite into a pizza, you’re tasting not just cheese, tomato sauce, and crust. You’re tasting history. Flat-bread treats started over two thousand years ago in ancient Greece and Rome. . . .

    In the article “Pizza in the Making,” (Title) Donald Archer (Author) reports that people have enjoyed flat bread since the time of ancient Rome (Paraphrase).

    If you use the writer’s exact words, put the words in quotation marks. If the quote is followed by a comma or period, put it inside the end quotation mark.

    In the article “Pizza in the Making,” (Title) Donald Archer (Author) reports, “Flat-bread treats started over two thousand years ago.” (Quotation)

    Paraphrase and quote.

    Paraphrase and quote this selection. Mention the title and author. Make a copy of this Google doc or download a Word template.

    When Dragons Dance

    By Marion Lester

    New York drops a ball to celebrate New Year, but Shanghai fills its streets with dancing dragons. The Chinese New Year can feature puppets that stretch a block long. The puppets are animated by . . .

    Paraphrase:

    In her article “When Dragons Dance,” Marion Lester says that a Chinese dragon puppet can fill a city block from end to end.

    Quotation:

    Marion Lester’s article “When Dragons Dance” reports, “The Chinese New Year can feature puppets that stretch a block long.”

    Teaching Tip

    Help students realize that they need to credit sources and authors for their ideas. Encourage them to paraphrase most often unless the exact wording perfectly expresses an idea.

This lesson is a part of the Reading and Writing for Assessment unit.

Click the title to view more information about this unit and a full list of lessons that are included.

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