ISEE Primary 4 Reading : Main Idea

Study concepts, example questions & explanations for ISEE Primary 4 Reading

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Example Questions

Example Question #1 : Main Idea

A Look Into Space

Did you know that we used to think that there were nine planets that made up the solar system? Up until 2006, Pluto was considered to be the ninth planet and was located furthest away from the sun in our solar system. However, since 2006 Pluto has been considered to be a “dwarf planet” because it is too small to be considered a planet. Now that Pluto is not considered a planet, only eight planets are left to make up our solar system. The order of the planets from the sun is as follows: Mercury, Venus, Earth, Mars, Jupiter, Saturn, Uranus, and Neptune. 

Mercury is planet to the closest to the sun; however, can you believe that Mercury is not the planet with the hottest temperatures in our solar system? Well, believe it because Venus is the planet with the highest temperatures! The only award that sets Mercury apart from any other planet in the solar system is that it is the smallest planet. 

Earth is the planet where you and I live. Earth is the only planet currently known to be the home of living things. However, Mars does show some signs that there may be water on the planet, which is necessary for living things to grow and live on Mars. Maybe one day we will learn that aliens really do live on Mars!

Jupiter is the largest planet is the solar system, but it has the shortest days out of all of the planets because it turns so quickly. A day on Earth is 24 hours long, but a day on Jupiter is less than 10 hours long and a day on Saturn is just over 10 hours long. If we lived on Jupiter or Saturn, then we would spend most of the day in school! 

Uranus is not the furthest planet from the sun, but it is the coldest! Even though Uranus is the coldest planet, Neptune might have the worst weather. One storm on Neptune lasted for about 5 years! Could you imagine a storm lasting for 5 years on Earth? 

One fun thing about science is that we are always learning something new because science can change. We could learn more unknown, fun facts about the solar system in the future! 

What is the main idea of the passage? 

Possible Answers:

Pluto is no longer a planet 

Facts about living on Earth

Facts about Pluto

Facts about the planets in our solar system

Correct answer:

Facts about the planets in our solar system


The main idea of a passage is what the passage is about. Throughout this passage we learned facts about each of the planets in the solar system. 

A common mistake is confusing a detail found in the passage with the main idea. In the passage we learned facts about Earth and Pluto, including that Pluto is no longer a planet. These examples are details found in the passage. Also, we learned many other details about the other planets in the solar system, so the main idea can't just include one planet.  This makes "facts about the planets in our solar system" the correct answer choice. 

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