Writing a Summary

Last week we learned how to write a Resume when applying for a job.

Today we will learn how to write a Summary.

What is a Summary?

A summary is a shortened version of a text that includes the main points. It is actually a brief statement or account of the main ideas of a story or an article.

Is it important to learn how to write a Summary?

Certainly. Writing a Summary is an excellent exercise in Reading Comprehension and Writing.

Why Reading Comprehension?

Because the ability to write a good summary of a text proves that you have understood the text. Only then can you summarize, that is, identify what is most important and rewrite the text  in your own words. 

Why Writing?

In order to write a good summary we need first to understand the text, identify the most important ideas and do away with anything that is superfluous, redundant, or less important. In fact, detailed explanations and examples should also be excluded from the summary. Then we have to rewrite the text in our own words and style.

How do we do it?

  • Read the text.
  • Break the text down into sections.
  • Identify the key points in each section.
  • Write the summary.
  • Check the summary against the article.


Planning a lesson on writing a Summary

Step 1

I would suggest starting a lesson on writing a Summary with the following Oral Activity:

Write a list of ideas / elements that should / should not be included in a summary. Write the list on the blackboard. Ask the class which of them should be included in a summary. Make two columns. One column, under the title INCLUDE, should contain all the elements that should be included in the summary and the other column, under the title EXCLUDE, should contain what must not be part of the Summary.

Let's start:

Should the Summary include:

Essential information?

Minor information?

Background information?

The main topic?

Long explanations?


Direct quotes?

A conclusion?

Your personal opinion?

Discuss each item and justify your decision to include or exclude that item.


Step 2 – Reading and Writing

Now bring a text amd ask the students to read the text and then make an oral summary (class activity) or a written summary (group activity) of the text.

Start with an opening sentence:

This text focuses on / deals with…

The  class discusses the oral / written summary in the light of the previous oral activity. 


And that’s all for today. More Writing Activities in my next post.

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