Main idea, Details, and Conclusion

The following exercises show how well you can identify the main idea as well as the supporting details.


“Will you give my kite a lift?” said my little nephew to his sister, after trying in vain to make it fly by dragging it along the ground. Lucy very kindly took it up and threw it into the air, but, her brother neglecting to run off at the same moment, the kite fell down again.

“Ah! Now, how awkward you are!” said the little fellow.

“It was your fault entirely,” answered his sister.

“Try again, children,” said I.

Lucy once more took up the kite. But now John was in too great a hurry; he ran off so suddenly that he twitched the kite out of her hand, and it fell flat as before. “Well, who is to blame now?” asked Lucy.

“Try again,” said I.

They did, and with more care; but a side wind coming suddenly, as Lucy let go the kite, it was blown against some shrubs, and the tail became entangled in a moment, leaving the poor kite hanging with its head downward.

“There, there!” exclaimed John, “that comes of your throwing it all to one side.”

“As if I could make the wind blow straight,” said Lucy.

In the meantime, I went to the kite’s assistance; and having disengaged the long tail, I rolled it up, saying, “Come, children, there are too many trees here; let us find a more open space, and then try again.” We presently found a nice grassplot, at one side of which I took my stand; and all things being prepared, I tossed the kite up just as little John ran off. It rose with all the dignity of a balloon, and promised a lofty flight; but John, delighted to find it pulling so hard at the string, stopped short to look upward and admire. The string slackened, the kite wavered, and, the wind not being very favorable, down came the kite to the grass. “O John, you should not have stopped,” said I. “However, try again.”

“I won’t try any more,” replied he, rather sullenly. “It is of no use, you see. The kite won’t fly, and I don’t want to be plagued with it any longer.” “Oh, fie, my little man! would you give up the sport, after all the pains we have taken both to make and to fly the kite? A few disappointments ought not to discourage us. Come, I have wound up your string, and now try again. And he did try, and succeeded, for the kite was carried upward on the breeze as lightly as a feather; and when the string was all out, John stood in great delight, holding fast the stick and gazing on the kite, which now seemed like a little white speck in the blue sky.

“Look, look, aunt, how high it flies! And it pulls like a team of horses, so that I can hardly hold it. I wish I had a mile of string: I am sure it would go to the end of it.” After enjoying the sight as long as he pleased, little John proceeded to roll up the string slowly; and when the kite fell, he took it up with great glee, saying that it was not at all hurt, and that it had behaved very well. “Shall we come out tomorrow, aunt, after lessons, and try again?”

“I have no objection, my dear, if the weather is fine. And now, as we walk home, tell me what you have learned from your morning’s sport.”

“I have learned to fly my kite properly.”

“You may thank aunt for it, brother,” said Lucy, “for you would have given it up long ago, if she had not persuaded you to try again.”

“Yes, dear children, I wish to teach you the value of perseverance, even when nothing more depends upon it than the flying of a kite. Whenever you fail in your attempts to do any good thing, let your motto be,—try again.”

Main idea, Details, and Conclusion