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Implied Main Ideas


For most of the time, writers state their main idea clearly, but at times they suggest or imply the main idea. When writers do this, we must look closely at the supporting details to understand the point they are trying to make.

Coming up in our next video in the Seven Steps series, we will look closely at ways we can understand implied main idea.

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Word Reductions

Download Quiz

English speakers often shorten sounds and/or words in their speech. This is called REDUCTION. The words that are generally reduced are function words that don’t carry much meaning, such as pronouns (he, she, his, her, them), articles (a, an, the) and prepositions (in, to).
Listen to the audio below as you read the sentences.  When you become familiar with the sounds, download and take the quiz.

  1. I’m gonna buy that new car. I am going to buy that new car.
  2. How‘bout eating at Joe’s? How about eating at Joe’s?
  3. Couldya give’em this book? Could you give him this book?
  4. Tell’er we’ll be back tomorrow. Tell her we will be back tomorrow.
  5. Didya go last night? Did you go last night?
  6. You hafta pay your bills. You have to pay the bills.
  7. She hasta take the test yet. She has to take the test yet.
  8. Whadcha think about the new teacher? What do you think about the new teacher?
  9. Whadya do last night? What did you do last night?
  10. Do you wanna go shopping tomorrow? Do you what to go shopping tomorrow?

Because these words don’t carry as much meaning as content words, don’t worry if you don’t understand all of them.  It is more important for you just to know they are there, then to learn all of them.  In time you will understand more and more and be able to even use them in your speech.

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Writing an Effective Essay

One of the secrets to writing an effective essay is to be organized in your approach.  Use the following steps as a guideline to writing your next essay.

  1. Understand the topic
  2. Read and annotate articles
  3. Collect quotations and paraphrases on cards
  4. Write a clear Thesis Statement with predictors
  5. Freewrite, brainstorm, or cluster
  6. Outline your essay
  7. Write a topic sentence for each predictor
  8. Decide on a logical order
  9. Write your first draft
  10. Revise checking for unity and coherence
  11. Edit checking for grammar, punctuation, and spelling errors
  12. Write your final draft
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Preparing Your Final Draft

Download File pdf-155498_640 

Preparing Your Final Draft

Due date: ________________________

In preparing your final draft for your essay, you will edit, revise, and rewrite.

The first, look at the organization and content of your essay. Make sure your essay has a hook, a thesis statement (topic, controlling idea, three points of development), three body paragraphs with topic sentences, and supporting details, and a conclusion that restates the thesis statement, summarize, and includes closing remarks. Also, delete any sentences that are off topic and make sure your transitions are properly used to walk readers through your essay. (Avoid using first and second person pronouns, contractions, and words such as, always, never, a lot of, etc.).

Then edit your essay by looking for:

  • incorrect sentence structures
  • missing verbs
  • misspelled words
  • incorrect words

Check quotations for proper in-text citation. Use one of the two examples below. Each quote should be no more than one sentence.

Example One: According to, “Plants release water into the atmosphere through a process called transpiration.”

Example Two: “Plants release water into the atmosphere through a process called transpiration” (

You will then take your essay to your tutor and have them proofread it for you. After you have finished editing, revising, and rewriting, you will then write your final draft on the computer using WORD.

To set up your document, go to and follow the directions. (Essays that do not conform to this formatting will not be accepted).

Your essay should use:

  • Font: Times New Roman, 12 point
  • Line Spacing: Double-spaced
  • Indent First Lines: The first sentence of the paragraph is indented five spaces from the left margin.  This shows the reader where a new paragraph begins.
  • Margins: 1 inch on all size
  • Paper Size: 8 1/2 x 11 (Do not use A4 paper size)


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My Experience

RCarrigan_0921By Richard Carrigan

Many years ago in Japan, when I was studying the language, I remember thinking to myself that no one could really speak this language at home. Certainly they must speak English when they relax. After all, for me English was my mother tongue and came easily, but this Japanese was hard. So certainly, this also must be true for them. Well, after many years of studying, practicing, and struggling with this new language, I slowly begin to discover that Japanese really wasn’t that difficult. What had been difficult at the beginning of the journey, had slowly become more workable and even manageable with practice.

In the end (if there is an end to language learning), I learned more than a language; I learned what I believe to be the basic principles to language acquisition, which I will share with you here.

First, I learned that language cannot be memorize. When I first started to learn Japanese I tried this, but could never find a situation that matched a dialog. I learned that language is absorbed through meaningful listening and reading, in reality, becoming part of a community.

Second, language must be spontaneous. If I tried to translate words or grammar when communicating, the conversation would not go very far. Even if errors are made, the language must be spontaneous.

Third, language is best learned in meaningful interactions with native speakers. As I used the language that I knew, I found that I could begin to understand the language that I didn’t know.

The forth thing that I learned was the value of reading. I found that when I read material that was both interesting and easy to understand, that language then begin to become part of my thinking. Reading develops a natural flow of words.

Now I can hear someone saying, “What about grammar?” In my own experience, I found that if I studied a grammar book, one grammar point at a time, I soon became bored, discouraged and ready to give up. But if I used the grammar book as a reference when I heard or read something new, then the new grammar became meaningful in real-life communicate.

As I look back now on my Japanese learning experience, it proved to be very helpful in developing my own methods and classroom curriculum. Now when students come with their language struggles and frustrations, I am able to give them a new perspective and help them in their journey. After all, learning a new language is only difficult when we think it to be so. We may not all be native speakers, but we all can learn to communicate.

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Creative Thinking Exercise C

Creative Thinking Exercise C

Learning to Think Outside the Box

Directions: Read the passage below, and then answer the questions. This is a NO CELL PHONE activity.

Download: Creative Thinking Exercise C

By Laura Pappanobeb (2014)

1. Once considered the product of genius or divine inspiration, creativity — the ability to spot problems and devise smart solutions — is being recast as a prized and teachable skill. Pin it on pushback against standardized tests and standardized thinking, or on the need for ingenuity in a fluid landscape.

2. “The reality is that to survive in a fast-changing world you need to be creative,” says Gerard J. Puccio, chairman of the International Center for Studies in Creativity at Buffalo State College, which has the nation’s oldest creative studies program, having offered courses in it since 1967.

3. “That is why you are seeing more attention to creativity at universities,” he says. “The marketplace is demanding it.”

4. Critical thinking has long been regarded as the essential skill for success, but it’s not enough, says Dr. Puccio. Creativity moves beyond mere synthesis and evaluation and is, he says, “the higher order skill.” This has not been a sudden development. Nearly 20 years ago “creating” replaced “evaluation” at the top of Bloom’s Taxonomy of learning objectives. In 2010 “creativity” was the factor most crucial for success found in an I.B.M. survey of 1,500 chief executives in 33 industries. These days “creative” is the most used buzzword in LinkedIn profiles two years running.

5. Traditional academic disciplines still matter, but as content knowledge evolves at lightning speed, educators are talking more and more about “process skills,” strategies to reframe challenges, extrapolate and transform information, and to accept and deal with ambiguity.

6. The view of creativity as a practical skill that can be learned and applied in daily life is a 180-degree flip from the thinking that it requires a little magic: Throw yourself into a challenge, step back — pause — wait for brilliance to spout.

7. The point of creative studies, says Roger L. Firestien, a Buffalo State professor and author of several books on creativity, is to learn techniques “to make creativity happen instead of waiting for it to bubble up. A muse doesn’t have to hit you.”

Retrieved from


Answer all questions from the passage using your own words.

  1. According to the passage, what is creativity?
  2. Why are more and more universities focusing on creativity?
  3. In this passage, does the author’s equate critical thinking with creative thinking? Explain.
  4. According to the passage, is creative thinking an inherent ability? Explain.
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Creative Thinking Exercise B

Creative Thinking Exercise B

Directions: Reading the passage below, then answer the questions.

Louis Pasteur

Download: Creative Thinking Exercise B

“Exploration into this mysterious world of germs began around 1850 by a Frenchman by the name of Louis Pasteur (1822-1895). At that time Pasteur, Dean of the Faculty of Science at the University of Lille, was approached by a man who worked at a factory that produced beer from sugar beets. Much to the businessman’s lament, vats of the fermented beer were turning sour, so the businessman asked Pasteur to find out the cause.

“Pasteur used a microscope to analyze the beer samples and found thousands of microorganisms. His theory was that these microbes or “germs” were not the result of the beer going sour, rather they were the cause. Pasteur went on to study other liquids such as vinegar and milk.

“From his experiments with liquids, Pasteur became convinced that the air contained tiny living organisms unseen by the naked eye. These organisms could cause putrefaction of liquids and could be prevented by killing the germs with heat. Initially his beliefs were ridiculed by the medical community, but he was able to prove his case beyond doubt. Indeed, we are all familiar with the term “pasteurized milk” which was named in Pasteur’s honor.

“Further, in his career Pasteur became convinced that microbes could affect not just liquids, but humans as well. Furthermore, he believed these microbes could spread diseases among humans. . This became known as the “Germ Theory of Disease”. He continued his work by searching for ways humans could be protected from getting diseases.”


  1. According to the passage, what is a synonym for “germs?”
  2. The author uses the word, “putrefaction” in the third paragraph. From the context, what does the word mean?
  3. Why do you think Pasteur’s beliefs were “ridiculed by the medical community?”
  4. Is there any evidence in this passage that would suggest that the “medical community” finally accepted Pasteur’s ideas? Explain.
  5. What was Pasteur convinced of? (Paraphrase)
  1. Paraphrase the last paragraph in this passage.


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Creative Thinking Exercise A


Exercise A

Discovery of Machu Picchu

Download:  Creative Thinking Exercise A

Directions: Read the excerpt from “Machu Picchu’s anniversary, cause for celebration and caution.” Then answer the questions. (

“Why was the discovery of Machu Picchu in 1911 a significant moment in history? It was the first opportunity that our world had to learn about this mysterious Incan royal city located high among the mountains. In the 16th century, Spanish invaders destroyed most of the Incans’ civilization, but never found Machu Picchu during their conquest in Peru. For that, it is highly significant as a relatively intact cultural site, which has helped it garner attention from historians, academics, and tourists across the globe. The discovery not only changed the perception of the world; it also changed the way people thought about the world and increased their understanding of the significance of ancient civilizations. On a more personal note, it has provided incredibly enriching experiences for Northeastern students participating in the Peru Dialogue of Civilizations programs.” (Shemin)


  1. Summarize the main idea of the paragraph in one sentence.
  2. The author says, “Spanish invaders destroyed most of the Incans’ civilization.” Explain why she calls the Spanish “invaders.”
  3. Why does the author say the discovery of Machu Picchu was “highly significant?”
  4. Why do you think this discovery changed the perception and understanding of the world? (Do not use personal pronouns).