Identifying the concepts or main ideas in a chapter of academic text can be challenging in a second language. Here are two links to useful information about main ideas and concepts, and two strategies that I teach my students.
- Identify these from the paragraph: Who, What, Where, When, Why, and How and list them. Then write a sentence or two using these terms. That can get you the main idea.
- Read the paragraph, then think of a question you could ask that would be answered by that paragraph. The question will be the main concept.
You’ve asked me also about how to identify theories when you’re reading science or academic textbooks. Here is an explanation of the difference between an hypothesis and a theory. Look at the characteristics of ‘theory’. These will be documented in the text that you are reading.