Using Introductory Materials and Topic Sentences

Screenshot from body of Scientific American article showing introduction and first sentence of each paragraph highlighted

Source:“High Tech Co-ops: Changing Energy Realities”

You now have an overview and a good understanding of the article’s organization, and you haven’t even read the article yet!

Before you do a closer reading, there are two more steps that will give you an even better understanding of the article. Read the introductory information and the conclusion. If the writer states his main idea directly, it should be in the introduction; if he makes any strong conclusions, they may be in his conclusion.

The topic sentences of many paragraphs are also at the beginning of the paragraph. By reading each topic sentence, you should get an excellent idea of what each paragraph is about. These sentences let you know how the writer supports the main ideas in an article.

Open the article again. Read the introduction, the conclusion, and the first sentence of each paragraph in the main article. An example of the first page of the article is highlighted for you on-screen. Be sure to read the first sentence of each paragraph in the entire article.

Use your notes again and reread your earlier prediction. Now that you’ve read the introduction, conclusion, and topic sentences, how did you do on your prediction? Revise your prediction based on the new information.