How to Write a Summary

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Overview

In this lesson, you will learn how to summarize a text accurately.

Summarizing

A summary is a much shorter version of a text, with only the most essential information.

Using the main ideas from each section of a text to write your summary helps you include only the most important information!

Summarizing

Below, you can read the main points from each section of the Scholastic News article ​Running Into History:

  • ​Roberta “Bobbi” Gibb was the first woman to run in the Boston Marathon.
  • Gibb had to disguise herself as a man to participate in the race because people didn’t think women could run that far at the time.
  • Gibb helped open the race to other women.

To turn this information into a summary, you will need to add a few things!​

Tips for Summarizing: Introducing the Main Idea

When you write your summary, it’s important to follow a few steps.

First, start your summary by identifying the title, author and type of text.

You should include the information above and a brief explanation of the
author’s major point in the first sentence of your summary.

ExampleThe Scholastic News article, “Running Into
History,” explains how Roberta “Bobbi” Gibb changed the Boston Marathon.

Tips for Summarizing: Transitions

Have you ever read a text that was robotic and choppy? When that happens, the information is hard to follow and not very interesting! To avoid this, use
transitions between the main points of your summary.

Look at the list of ​Transitional Words and Phrases from the University of
Wisconsin. These can help your writing flow! Every few sentences,
use summarizing language that reminds the reader that they are reading a summary. Summarizing transitions include “The author claims…” or “The article
explains…

The Final Summary

After adding in an introductory sentence and transitions to the main points of the text, the next step is to complete the
summary
.

Read the summary of the Scholastic News ​art​icle below. Notice
how 8 paragraphs of text have been shortened into a one-paragraph summary!

The Scholastic News article,
“Running Into History,” explains how Roberta “Bobbi” Gibb changed the Boston Marathon.Gibb was the first woman to run in the Boston Marathon. She had
to disguise herself as a man to participate in the race because people didn’t think women could run that far at the time.  According to the article, Gibb’s success in the marathon helped to open the race up to other
women.

Conclusion

In this lesson, you learned how to:

  • summarize informational texts using main ideas and transitional words and phrases

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