Before you read, skim the passage and make predictions about the content.
First, read the first paragraph to make predictions about the main idea of the passage. The first paragraph is the introduction to the passage, and it tells the reader who or what the passage will be about. It introduces the passage by giving general information about the topic of the passage. It may explain why this topic is interesting or important. It may give some facts that help define the topic.
The introductory paragraph has a thesis statement. This is the sentence that sums up the topic of the entire passage. The thesis statement is often the first or last sentence of the paragraph.
PRACTICE 1 – Read the first paragraphs below. As you read, identify the thesis statement and make predictions about the content of the passage.
Obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD) is a clinically diagnosed anxiety disorder characterized by distressing and obsessive thoughts that lead to repetitive behaviours, such as counting silently or washing hands. Up to four percent of the population, including both adults and children, suffers from this condition. OCD sufferers feel unable to control their obsessive thoughts and resulting behavioural patterns even though these are time consuming and can interfere with daily routines. Many people with OCD delay seeking treatment because they are ashamed of their own thoughts and behaviours.
The spread of wildfire is a natural phenomenon that occurs throughout the world and is especially common in forested areas of North America, Australia, and Europe. Locations that receive plenty of rainfall but also experience periods of intense heat or drought are particularly susceptible to wildfires. As plant matter dries out, it becomes brittle and highly flammable. In this way, many wildfires are seasonal, ignited by natural causes, most specifically lightning. However, human carelessness and vandalism also account for thousands of wildfires around the globe each year. To gain a clear understanding of how wildfires spread, it is necessary to analyze what it takes to both create and control these fires.
The term "bird brain" has long been a common means of expressing doubts about a person's intelligence. In reality, birds may actually be a great deal more intelligent than humans have given them credit for. For a long time, scientists considered birds to be of lesser intelligence because the cerebral cortex, the part of the brain that humans and other animals use for intelligence, is relatively small in size. Now scientists understand that birds actually use a different part of their brain, the hyperstriatum, for intelligence. Observations of different species of birds, both in the wild and in captivity, have shown a great deal of evidence of high levels of avian intelligence.
In 1834, a little girl was born in New Bedford, Massachusetts. She would grow up to become one of the richest women in the world. Her name was Hetty Green, but she was known to many as the Witch of Wall Street.