Central Idea and Supporting Details

"The (Still) Mysterious Death of Edgar Allan Poe"

Central Idea

What is a central idea?

  • A central idea is the main point that the author is expressing in an article. A central idea addresses the question "What is the article about?"
  • WHO, WHAT, WHEN, WHERE, WHY (WHO is the article about, WHAT did the WHO do, WHEN and WHERE did the WHO do they WHAT, and WHY did the WHO do the WHAT)

How do I express my central idea when I am writing a paragraph (objective summary or central idea analysis)?

  • Always include the title and author of the article
  • Example: In "Halloween Decor Courtesy of Edgar Allan Poe", Kim Cook informs the reader that Edgar Allan Poe inspired Halloween decorations because of the literature he wrote.
The Main Idea Song


What are supporting details?

  • Supporting details are details FROM THE TEXT that help to support the central idea.

Should my supporting details by directly quoted from the text?

  • When you are filling out your Central Idea Chart, you should DIRECTLY quote your supporting details. This means you must quote AND cite your information!
  • When you are writing an objective summary, do not use direct quotes. Your supporting details must be in your own words.
  • When analyzing the central idea, you can either directly quote OR paraphrase in your own words. Make sure that if you directly quote that you cite your information!

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  1. Read "The (Still) Mysterious Death of Edgar Allan Poe" by Natasha Gelling. Please use your Diigo Annotation Tool to help you identify the central idea and supporting details!
  2. Fill out and complete a Central Idea Chart (on your own).
  3. Using you resources, complete the Central Idea Check! (Hint: You MAY use your Central Idea Chart, as well as examples that you have completed in class).

Writing an Objective Summary

  1. State your central idea. (Be sure to include the title and author!)
  2. Use ONLY supporting details from the text! Do not explain anything! Your details must be put in your own words though.
  3. Add a link to the end of your summary!


  • The summary needs to be in logical order and organized. (Beginning to end)
  • Include 5-6 supporting details
  • Make sure to use your transition words.