|Image by heathbrandon (CC BY-SA 2.0)|
By Corina Koch MacLeod and Carla Douglas
In last week’s post I noted that paragraphs are becoming shorter because of the demands of online reading. Keep this in mind if you’re reading information paragraphs online in preparation for the OSSLT. Unless there are changes to the OSSLT, the paragraph you will encounter on the test will likely be longer than most of the paragraphs you’ll encounter online.
What is a paragraph?
Regardless of length, a well-designed paragraph is a series of sentences organized around a main idea (See this post for tips on finding the main idea). The main idea is often stated somewhere near the beginning of the paragraph, in the first or second sentence, and the rest of the paragraph serves to support, explain, and expand on that main idea.
So, what is an information paragraph?
An information paragraph informs the reader. It’s designed to present facts rather than opinions. You’ll find information paragraphs on topics in science, health, business, culture, art, history, mathematics and sports.
Examples of Information Paragraphs
Explore the sites below for information paragraphs. Read a few paragraphs and see if you can identify the main idea in each. Let us know if you have some favourite sites that you’d like us to add to our list.
Use this quick-and-dirty checklist from Don’t Panic: More Practice for the OSSLT, 2nd Edition to develop a game plan for reading information paragraphs. This plan can also help you remember what you read.
- Have I read the first and last sentences to get a general sense of what the paragraph is about?
- Have I focused my attention by turning the first sentence into a question? Have I read for the answer?
- Have I reviewed the paragraph by rereading the first and last sentences?
- Do I know what the selection is about? Tell someone what you just read.
- Have I reflected on what the selection means to me?