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                      Reading Practice: 3
                              What’s the Big Idea?
                              Summary
  •Before reading, skim the passage and ask yourself questions.
  •Summarize the passage as you read.
  •Decide which parts of the passage are most important.
  •Look for a sentence that tells the main idea.
  •Learn to tell the difference between a main idea and supporting
         detail.


                                                                               Start
  Quit
Page 2
  Read the passage. Look for the main idea sentence. Go to
  the next page. When you get to the end answer the questions.




                     Reading Practice: 3
         It is true that the spider Anansi has a bald head. But he once had
           hair. He lost it dancing. The story goes something like this….
Page 3


          Anansi’s mother-in-law died, and his wife, Aso, went back to her native
village for the funeral. “I will join you later, “ Anansi told his wife.
         After she had gone, Anansi thought, When I am at the funeral, I must show
great sadness by not eating. I’d better have a big meal here, before I go. Anansi ate
a huge meal and then left for the funeral.
        The village had a feast after the funeral, but Anansi refused to eat. “I am
in mourning,” Anansi announced, looking as sad as possible. “I will not eat for
eight days.”
       On the second day, the villagers had their meal, but not Aansi. He
wanted to impress his friends with his sadness.
         The same thing happened on the third day.
Page 4

        By this time, Anansi was very hungry. But he had said that he
 wouldn’t eat, and he was going to keep his word.
          On the fourth day, a pot of beans bubble over the fire. They smelled
 so good to Anansi that he thought, Why not a taste? But just as he was
 scooping up some for himself, along came the porcupine, the chicken, the
 rabbit, and all the others in the village.
          To hide the beans, Anansi poured them in his hat, which he then put
 on his head.
         His friends said, “Anansi, try some beans.”
         “No,” said Anansi. “My mother-in-law has only been buried
 for four days. What kind of a fellow would that make me?”
         But the hot beans burned Anansi’s head. He twisted his hat
 this way and that, while his friends gave him strange looks.
Page 5
         “You know,” said Anansi, trying to explain why he was jiggling his
hat, “right at this minute, in my village, there is an important hat-shaking
festival. I must shake my hat in honor of the occasion.”
        Silly Anansi always had a ready excuse. He shook his hat and
twisted it around his head, but the hot beans kept burning his scalp. He
began to hop around in great pain.
        “In fact, it is a hat-shaking dance festival, “ said Anansi, thinking
quickly as he hopped around from foot to foot.
       Anansi wanted to take off his hat and cool his head. But he
couldn’t let his friends see the hidden beans.
      “This is an important hat-shaking dance festival,” said Anansi,
scampering toward the trail. “ I must return to my village.”
Page 6
         “Eat before you leave us,” his friends said.
      “What kind of a fellow do you think I am?” hollered Anansi,
jumping up and down in pain and dancing out of the village.
       His friends followed him down the trail from the village. His head
kept burning, so Anansi finally pulled off his hat. When friends saw the
steaming beans stuck to the top of his head, they laughed and shouted,
“Crazy Anansi! Why do you do such foolish things?”
        Because he was embarrassed, Anansi hid in the tall grass. That is
where you can find him today, and you will that he has a bald spot where
the hot beans burned his head. All this happened because Anansi was not
honest with his friends.
Question 1
                The following question is about “Anansi Does a Dance.”
             You can go back and reread the story by click on the back buttons.




  What is the main idea of the passage?
    a. Anansi goes to his mother-in-law’s funeral.
    b. Anansi hides hot beans in his hat and does a dance.
    c. Anansi does not eat for four days and grows very hungry.
    d. Anansi burns his head because he tries to impress his friends.


    To the start
     of Anansi
   Does a Dance.
                        Sorry
This is not the main idea, however. It is only a supporting
detail. Remember that Anansi’s troubles start when he
wants to show everyone how sad he feels.
                       Sorry
Yet these, too, are only supporting details.
                    Sorry
Although this causes him to sneak the beans and
hide them in his hat, his great hunger isn’t the main
idea.
                    Great Job!

Choices A, B, and C tell important details that support
the main idea, but they do not give readers the “big
picture”: Anansi tries to impress his friends and, in the
process, burns his head and loses his hair.
Click the NEXT button to go on to the next question.
 Question 2
 The following question is about “Anansi Does a Dance.” Read
 the question and click on the correct answer. You can go back
 and reread the story by clicking on the BACK button.

Which title would be the best summary for “Anansi Does a Dance”?
    a. “Aso’s Native Villiage”
    b. “How Anansi got His Bald Spot”
    c. “Anansi and His Mother-In-Law”
    d. “The Important Hat-Shaking Dance Festival”


    To the start
     of Anansi
   Does a Dance.
                        Sorry
This is not the main idea, however. It is only a supporting
detail. Remember that Anansi’s troubles start when he
wants to show everyone how sad he feels.
                   Great Job!
Choices A, C, and D tell important details that support
the main idea, but they do not give readers the “big
picture.” The title “How Anansi Got His Bald Spot”
best describes the main idea of the story, which is about
how the spider lost his hair.
Page 7
          This the last part of activity 3. Read the next two pages
                     and answer the question at the end.

                              The Trickster
     Tricksters appear in folktales from many cultures. The
     trickster is traditionally a male animal that acts like a
     human. He tries to outwit others, or fate, by clever schemes.
     He might be the spider Anansi from West African tales, the
     coyote of North American Indian tradition, or the fox from
     both South American and Japanese stories. The tradition of
     the trickster also can be seen in such modern-day characters
     as Daffy Duck and Bugs Bunny.
Page 8 Question 3
   Often the trickster is a fool who thinks he can control his life.
   Sometimes he is a hero fooling others who are trying to destroy him.
   Whether a fool or a fooler, the trickster’s role in storytelling around
   the world is to allow people to laugh at fate and see the humor in life.

 Which best describes the main idea of the information titled “The
 Trickster”?

  a. Bugs Bunny is a better trickster than Daffy Duck.
  b. Anansi the spider is a trickster from the West African tales.
  c. Trickster characters appear in the folktales of many lands.
  d. Tricksters appear in Japanese and South American folktales.
                        Sorry
This is not the main idea, however. It is only a supporting
detail. Remember that Anansi’s troubles start when he
wants to show everyone how sad he feels.
                       Great Job!

   Choices A, B, and C tell important details that support
   the main idea, but they do not give readers the “big
   picture”: Anansi tries to impress his friends and, in the
   process, burns his head and loses his hair.




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posted:11/16/2011
language:English
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