In this section you will find information pertaining to summary writing. Should you have any questions, need more resources, or would like to set up a time for me to visit your classroom, please do not hesitate to contact me.
ELA Standards for Reading Informational Texts:
- Determine two or more central ideas in a text and analyze their development over the course of the text; provide an objective summary of the text. (Grade 7)
- Determine a central idea of a text and analyze its development over the course of the text, including its relationship to supporting ideas; provide an objective summary of the text. (Grade 8)
- Determine a central idea of a text and analyze its development over the course of the text, including how it emerges and is shaped and refined by specific details; provide an objective summary of the text. (Grades 9-10)
- Determine two or more central ideas of a text and analyze their development over the course of the text, including how they interact and build on one another to provide a complex analysis; provide an objective summary of the text. (Grades 11-12)
Summary writing is an important writing skill but it is equally as important for comprehending text. Especially informational text. Quite simply, it is reducing a text to its main points and including the most important details. Here are some things students must do to write a good summary:
- Analyze text structure (compare/contrast, problem/solution, description, sequence, cause/effect)
- Analyze text features (headings, subheadings, graphics, data, title, captions, vocabulary etc.)
- Think about the overall theme of the text and what the author wants the reader to "take away".
- Differentiate the main ideas from the "nitty-gritty" details.
- Condense the most important information by paraphrasing.
Strategies for Writing a Summary
Differentiating the Main Idea from the Details
- Introduce vocabulary words: Encourage students to focus on these words while reading.
- Identify text structure: Introduce or review the different types and help students identify the main ideas in each one.
- Practice using a modified sentence completion activity:Provide students with Two-Column Note format with scaffolding. Fill in some main ideas and some details and have students fill in the rest. You could also write part of the sentences and the students must find the words to complete the sentences.
- Rewrite the text: Have students rewrite the main ideas and details from the Two-Column Notes into sentences. Make sure they paraphrase and use transition words.
Using GRASP to Write a Summary (Guided Reading and Summarizing Procedure)
- Have students read a text then turn the book face down and try to remember everything that was important. The teacher records information on the board. Guide the class to eliminate information that is repeated or too detailed. Provide an opportunity for students to go back to the text and make sure the class list includes all the main points.
- Assist students in organizing the information from the board into a Top-Down Web or Two Column Notes.
- Work together as a class and use the note organizers to write main ideas into sentences. Be sure to include transition words.
Polishing a Summary
- Look at a well-developed summary and students summary. Make some comparisons. How can the ideas be better linked? Where do words or sentences need to be better paraphrased?
- Compare and contrast an excellent summary, an average one, and a poor one. Allow the students to rate and discuss the three summaries.
- Allow students to read each others summaries and provide feedback.
- With the permission of a student, have the whole class look at a summary and provide feedback.
Resources for Writing a Summary