Language Arts Pratice Lessons

Main Ideas and Supporting Details Video Lesson: Lesson Two

Part One: Video Lesson

Watch this short video about main ideas and supporting details.

Part Two: Example Questions

What will questions like this look like on the GED® Exam? 

  • The main idea of the passage seems to be?
  • What details form the text support the authors notion that….
  • Which of the following quotations best describes the main idea of the third paragraph?

Part Three: Practice Questions

Below is an excerpt from SleepBearDunes.com, an informational, travel website about Sleeping Bear Dunes in Northern Michigan. Read the excerpt then answer the questions that follow.

“During the Ice Age, continental glaciers spread southward from Canada repeatedly burying the area under ice. Those massive glaciers enlarged river valleys and carved out the wide, deep basins of the Great Lakes. They also created “Perched Dunes” which are dunes formed by glacial sands deposited on plateaus high above the shore. The Sleeping Bear Dunes are an easily accessible, beautiful example of this type of dune. As the glaciers melted, many of their carvings were filled with melted water and the setting we know today began to emerge.”

1.  Which sentence below best describes the main idea of the paragraph?

A. The formation of the Sleeping Bear Dunes was a complex process.
B. It is impossible to understand how the Sleeping Bear Dunes were formed.
C. The Sleeping Bear Dunes are a new edition to the lakeshore.

Answer: A. The formation of the Sleeping Bear Dunes was a complex process.

2. Which of the following would be a supporting detail?

A. Knowing how many people visit the dunes every year
B. Discussing land erosion
C. Sharing an example of “Perched Dunes”

Answer: B. Discussing land erosion

Applying Ideas of a Text to GED® Questions: Lesson Three

Part One: Example Questions

Here are some examples of what these types of questions might look like on the GED® test.

  • Which of the following situations is most similar to the author’s experience?
  • What might the author have felt about…
  • What is a likely comment the author could have said about his situation?
  • Based on what we know, which of the following statements might the author agree?

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Part Two: Understanding How to Apply Ideas

Applying Ideas to a text is not as complicated as we readers tend to make it. When we are applying ideas to a text, all we are really doing is taking the information that we already know and then putting it in a different situation.

To make better sense of this process, let’s compare the process of reading to the experience of dating. Okay, stay with me here.

Let’s pretend you’ve been talking with someone on an online dating service. You know a handful of things about this person: what they do for a living, where they grew up, some activities they like to do with their friends. And now, after a few weeks of talking, you are ready to go on a date. This person has asked you to plan the date. You really want to impress this person, right? So what do you do? You take everything that you ALREADY know about them and then put all of the information into a new situation (which is the first date). Here, you have applied your ideasinto a new situation.

Start the GED Reasoning through Language Arts Study Guide

””> So, when you’re reading a text be sure to consider everything you know about the text. Be an active reader, don’t just simply skim the passage. Pick out details and important information, look for humor or satire, examine the piece for as much information as you can, just like you would if you were having a conversation with a stranger. Then, when it comes time for a question, take all of that information and use it to find different ideas about the text, just like you would do if you were planning a date.

Makes sense, right?

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Part Three: GED® Practice Questions

When I arrived at the station, I was overcome by the noise. The train exited abruptly behind me, leaving a cloud of smoke to sit beside me in the heavy heat. (3) A family with mocha hair and thrilled smiles embraced one another: arms entangled like the spaghetti they would have for dinner later tonight. A man with a dog read the station time. (5)His dog, panted in short breaths, puff, puff, puff, a locomotive releasing steam to travel. Even animals were keenly aware of the rising temperatures of the season. I felt comforted by his natural instincts.

Despite the heat, people stood closely to one another as they waited for the train. Watching them from my bench, I felt relief that my train travels had ended for now. (10)They were sardines in a can, and I was happy to be admiring distance. I tried to acquaint myself with the culture around me. I had been planning my trip to Rome for three years, and now that I was here, I more than excited by my dream. I pulled my travel book from the front pouch of my hiking bag. I ruffled through some pages, then placed it back in my bag. It was too hot to make a decision, so I stood and began down the street. According to the map I had consulted on the train, my hostel was only three blocks from the station. I read a street sign, named after a historical figure, and walked down the street. My adventure was finally beginning and I was ready for what was to come.

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1. What statements below would the author most like agree?

A. Traveling new places is stressful and not worth the energy to plan.
B. Traveling may be overwhelming, but it is also exciting.
C. The only good thing about traveling is people watching.

Answer: B. Traveling may be overwhelming, but it is also exciting.

2. Based on what we know, what can we conclude about the author?

A. Even though he is excited, he is terribly homesick for his girlfriend.
B. He was regretting his trip.
C. He is experiencing some culture shock, despite his excitement.

Answer: C. He is experiencing some culture shock, despite his excitement.

3. What can we assume about the setting of the passage?

A. It was the middle of a hot, Italian summer.
B. The heater on the train was broken.
C. The author was lost in a train station and didn’t speak Italian.

Answer: A. It was the middle of a hot, Italian summer.

Related Topics:

Making Conclusions: Lesson Four

Part One: Example Questions

Here are some examples of what these types of questions might look like on the GED exam.

  • What conclusion can you draw about the author’s attitude?
  • The writer is:
  • Based on what you have read, what can you conclude will happen next?

Part Two: Understanding How to Make Conclusions

In real life, we make all kinds of conclusions without even knowing it. When we draw conclusions, we are simply forming an opinion or solution as a result of the information we have been given.

Let’s look at some real life examples to get a better idea of what “making conclusions” actually entails.

–> Evening news stations are consumed by horrific news stories. If you are watching a news clip on TV about a murder, chances are you will immediately conclude whether or not the people involved are innocent or guilty.

–> When you meet someone for the first time, you instantly conclude whether or not you like them, based on how they present themselves.

–> If you see a doctor while you are sick, that doctor will make a diagnosis, or conclusion, about what illness you have.

In each situation above, all you have done is taken different pieces of information and put them together to figure out something new. Pretty simple, right?

””> Well, this is the same thing you should do when you draw conclusions during the GED Reading Exam. To make a conclusion from a text passage, you simply take all of the pieces of information, or clues, that the author has given you, and you put them together to form an opinion or solution.   

Part Three: Practice Questions

1. Think of a conclusion that you or someone you know has recently made.

Make a list of four pieces of information or clues employed to make the conclusion.

Read the except below, then answer questions 2 through 4.

When I arrived at the station, I was overcome by the noise. The train exited abruptly behind me, leaving a cloud of smoke to sit beside me in the heavy heat. (3) A family with mocha hair and thrilled smiles embraced one another: arms entangled like the spaghetti they would have for dinner later tonight. A man with a dog read the station time. (5)His dog, panted in short breaths, puff, puff, puff, a locomotive releasing steam to travel. Even animals were keenly aware of the rising temperatures of the season. I felt comforted by his natural instincts.

Despite the heat, people stood closely to one another as they waited for the train. Watching them from my bench, I felt relief that my train travels had ended for now. (10)They were sardines in a can, and I was happy to be admiring distance. I tried to acquaint myself with the culture around me. I had been planning my trip to Rome for three years, and now that I was here, I more than excited by my dream. I pulled my travel book from the front pouch of my hiking bag. I ruffled through some pages, then placed it back in my bag. It was too hot to make a decision, so I stood and began down the street. According to the map I had consulted on the train, my hostel was only three blocks from the station. I read a street sign, named after a historical figure, and walked down the street. My adventure was finally beginning and I was ready for what was to come.

2. What conclusions can we draw at the author’s character?

A. He is fearful and timid.
B. He is adventurous and outgoing.
C. He is selfish and nervous.

Answer:B. He is adventurous and outgoing.

3. What advice might the author give other travelers?

A. Never take trains because they don’t always arrive on time.
B. To be spontaneous and embrace the culture as you travel.
C. Pack your own food, because foreign food isn’t easy to get used to.

Answer: B. Be spontaneous and embrace the culture as you travel.

4. What can you conclude will happen on the rest of the author’s trip?

A. He leaves Italy early because it is too hot.
B. He will fall asleep at the train station.
C. He wakes up each morning and plans a new trip day trip depending on how he feels.

Answer: He wakes up each morning and plans a new trip depending on how he feels.

Applying Figurative Language to Test Questions: Lesson Five

Part One: Examples Questions

Here are some examples of what these questions might look like on the GED® test.

  • What does the personification in sentence four suggest?
  • Why might the author have used the word “_______” in paragraph 2? 

Part Two: Understanding How to Apply Figurative Language”

 
When writing a passage, writers make specific choices about the language they use in order to best convey their meaning. Examining the author’s choice of figurative language helps readers to understand the text on a deeper level. To understand these choices and the impact they have on a passage, let’s first explore the different elements of figurative language and their meanings.

Figurative language is used as a way for words to appear as something other than their literal meaning. One technique is through using similes. Similes use “like” or “as” to make a comparison between two, unlike things. Chances are good that you hear cliched similes every day. Below are some common examples:

””> “snug as a bug in a rug”
We use this phrase to explain how comfortable someone is by comparing it to a small bug nestled in a  rug.

””>“life is like a box of chocolates, you never know what you’ll get”
We use this to compare the uncertainty of life to the uncertainty of choosing a random chocolate from a box.

Another technique of figurative language is a metaphor. A metaphor is simply a comparison of two unlike things.

””>On the drive home from work, the highway was a parking lot.
This comparison of a busy highway to a parking lot, telling readers that cars were caught in stand-still traffic.

The last technique we will discuss is personification. When an author uses personification they assign human characteristics to something that is not human.

Part Three: Now let’s read a text and get a little practice.

When I arrived at the station, I was overcome by the noise. The train exited abruptly behind me, leaving a cloud of smoke to sit beside me in the heavy heat. (3) A family with mocha hair and thrilled smiles embraced one another: arms entangled like the spaghetti they would have for dinner later tonight. A man with a dog read the station time. (5)His dog, panted in short breaths, puff, puff, puff, a locomotive releasing steam to travel. Even animals were keenly aware of the rising temperatures of the season. I felt comforted by his natural instincts.

Despite the heat, people stood closely to one another as they waited for the train. Watching them from my bench, I felt relief that my train travels had ended for now. (10)They were sardines in a can, and I was happy to be admiring distance. I tried to acquaint myself with the culture around me. I had been planning my trip to Rome for three years, and now that I was here, I more than excited by my dream. I pulled my travel book from the front pouch of my hiking bag. I ruffled through some pages, then placed it back in my bag. It was too hot to make a decision, so I stood and began down the street. According to the map I had consulted on the train, my hostel was only three blocks from the station. I read a street sign, named after a historical figure, and walked down the street. My adventure was finally beginning and I was ready for what was to come.

1. Why is the simile in sentence 3 important to the passage?

A. It gives a cultural influence to the setting.
B. It tells us that they are very skinny and need to eat.
C. It offers important information to the character description of the main character.

Answer:A. It gives a cultural influence to the setting.

2. In sentence 4, the dog is being compared to what?

A. The heat
B. A train
C. His owner

Answer:Answer: A The heat

3. Sentence 10 “They were sardines in a can, and I was happy to be admiring them from a distance” is an effective use of a metaphor because:

A. It helps describe the author’s intentions for coming to Rome.
B. It explains why the author doesn’t respect the culture he is visiting.
C. It gives readers a clearer visual image of the people and the setting.
>p>Answer: C. It gives readers a clearer visual image of the people and the setting.