STEP TWO: Whatʹs The Main Point (or Points)?
People write because they have something to say and make pictures because they have something to show. But the main points of a document are not always easy to spot. After addressing the Five Wʹs, examine the document this way:
1. Look at the beginning. The main point may be plainly stated, or the author may pose a question he or she intends to answer.
2. Look at the end. There may be a short conclusion where the author sums everything up.
3. Look at the middle. Paragraphs may open with a topic sentence or end with a conclusion reached. Chapters may have entire paragraphs that do this.
Look for words that argue: ʺshould,ʺ ʺmust,ʺ ʺought,ʺ ʺnecessarily,ʺ ʺsurely.ʺ
Look for words that express causation or conclusion: ʺbecause,ʺ ʺand so,ʺ
ʺconsequently,ʺ ʺtherefore,ʺ ʺin short,ʺ ʺin sum,ʺ ʺthus,ʺ ʺhence,ʺ ʺas a result,ʺ ʺin that case,ʺ ʺfor that reason,ʺ ʺthen,ʺ ʺaccordingly.ʺ
6. Look for words that express priorities: ʺessential,ʺ ʺimportant,ʺ ʺ ʺfundamental,ʺ ʺbasic.ʺ
Whatʹs the largest object?
What did the creator put dead center in the middle?
Whatʹs pushed off to the edges or into the background?
Pay attention to the way your eye wanders from one object to the next. Does
this sequence make a point or tell a story?
5, Pay attention to your feelings as your eye wanders around. What objects in the pictures cause the most powerful reaction in you?
When youʹre done, complete these statements:
1. ʺThe main thing the author or artist is trying to say or show is that ...
2. ʺTwo less important points are that ...