How To Write A Summary in 7 Steps (With Examples)

by Powell

Summarizing may seem like a simple task, but it entails a lot more than just rephrasing sentences.

Crafting a well-crafted summary involves extracting the essential information from a text while maintaining its fundamental message.

Summarizing is a handy skill that can save you time, improve your attention to detail, and help you better understand complex topics.

These are some of the simple steps that can help you write a summary with confidence:

1. Read the text carefully

Before you even think about summarizing, it is important to read the text you want to summarize carefully.

Whether it’s an article, a book chapter, or any other piece of writing, take notes on the key ideas and important details.

Reading through the text multiple times is recommended, ensuring that you don’t miss anything essential.

2. Identify the main points

Now that you’ve thoroughly read the text, it’s time to determine the main ideas, arguments, or positions presented.

These are the key points that need to be included in your summary. Look for topic sentences, headings, or repeated information as clues.

Identifying the main points may be the most critical step, so be sure to take your time and reflect on what you’ve read.

3. Condense the information

Once you’ve identified the main points, it’s time to condense that information into a concise summary.

Focus on capturing the key ideas without including unnecessary details. Use your own words to explain the content, maintaining the original meaning.

You can condense the information further by grouping similar points together, using subheadings, or removing redundant information.

4. Organize the summary

Your summary should be structured in a logical manner. You can choose to organize it chronologically, by importance, or by following the structure of the original text.

Each paragraph should focus on a specific main point.

Be sure to create a clear introduction and conclusion that provide context and a summary of the overall message.

5. Use transitional phrases

To coherence and flow in your summary, make use of transitional phrases.

These phrases serve as connectors between different ideas and help provide a smooth transition between paragraphs.

For example, phrases such as “In addition,” “Furthermore,” or “On the other hand” can be used to introduce new points, provide additional information, or present contrasting ideas.

Using these transitional phrases will help you enhance the overall structure of your summary.

They act as signposts for your readers, guiding them through the logical progression of the ideas in your summary.

6. Check for accuracy

After completing your summary, thoroughly review it to ensure an accurate representation of the original text.

Take the time to carefully examine each sentence and paragraph, checking for any misinterpretation or omission of crucial details.

Additionally, if needed, conduct fact-checking to verify the accuracy of the information presented. Taking these steps will help ensure the integrity and reliability of your summary.

7. Revise and edit

Take a moment to review and revise your summary carefully. Ensure it is crystal clear, concise, and grammatically correct.

Craft it with finesse, eliminating any unnecessary words or sentences to maintain its brevity.

While doing so, consider adding a touch more detail to enrich its content and provide a deeper understanding of the subject matter.

Examples of Summaries

1. “The Snowy Day” by Ezra Jack Keats

“The Snowy Day” is a timeless children’s book written and illustrated by Ezra Jack Keats.

The story follows a young boy named Peter who wakes up to a winter wonderland after a fresh snowfall.

Excitedly, Peter ventures out into the snowy cityscape, exploring his neighborhood and engaging in various activities.

From making footprints in the snow to creating snow angels and even trying to save a snowball for later, Peter’s adventures capture the joy and excitement of a snowy day.

With its vivid illustrations and simple yet profound storytelling, “The Snowy Day” celebrates the beauty of winter and the wonder of childhood.

2. “Goodnight Moon” by Margaret Wise Brown

“Goodnight Moon” is a beloved children’s book written by Margaret Wise Brown. The story follows a young bunny as it prepares to go to sleep.

Throughout the book, the bunny says goodnight to various objects in its room, such as the moon, stars, toys, and even the quiet old lady whispering “hush.”

The rhyming text and gentle illustrations create a soothing atmosphere, making it a perfect bedtime story for little readers.

“Goodnight Moon” has become a classic bedtime tale cherished by generations of children and their parents.

3. “Green Eggs and Ham” by Dr. Seuss

“Green Eggs and Ham” is a delightful children’s book by Dr. Seuss that tells the story of a persistent character named Sam-I-Am and his attempt to convince another character to try green eggs and ham.

The main character, who initially refuses to try the strange dish, encounters Sam-I-Am in various locations, persistently offering him the unconventional meal.

As the story progresses, Sam-I-Am presents multiple scenarios and locations where the green eggs and ham can be enjoyed.

Eventually, the reluctant character agrees to try the dish and discovers that he actually enjoys it.

The book teaches children about open-mindedness, trying new things, and not judging something without experiencing it firsthand.

How do you start a summary?

Here are a few examples of effective starting lines for a summary:

  1. “In [title], [author] explores…”
  2. “This [genre] [title] delves into…”
  3. “With [topic] as its focus, [title]…”
  4. “From the mind of [author], [title] takes readers on a journey…”
  5. “Set in [setting], [title] follows the story of…”

Crafting the perfect opening line for a summary can differ based on the content and target audience. However you do it, try to encapsulate the essential elements and captivate the reader right from the start.

How short should a summary be?

A summary should be concise and succinct, capturing the main ideas without unnecessary details. It should aim to provide a clear and objective overview of the content.

Keep in mind that the length of a summary may vary depending on the specific requirements or context. Generally, a summary should be no more than one-third to one-fourth the length of the original text.

This ensures brevity while effectively conveying the essential information through numbered lists, bullet points, and contrast.

Summarizing is more than just rephrasing a piece of writing. It is a critical skill that requires attention to detail, an understanding of the material, and concise writing.

Following these simple steps will help you write a summary that is both informative and engaging.

Summarizing effectively takes practice, so don’t be discouraged if your first attempt isn’t perfect.

Keep reading and summarizing, and soon you’ll find that it becomes a natural and useful tool in your skillset.

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