Summarizing Text

When it comes to summarizing text, you need to be able to state the main point of a story. So, a summary is just stating the main point of a story.

So, you’re reading an entire story, and then, you’re just taking the important things, and writing about that.

The next lesson: Supporting Details, both lessons are included in Practice Tests.

The following transcript is provided for your convenience.

If you’ve ever looked at the back of a book, you’ll see a summary on the back of a book, and so, there’s a whole book that may be 100 or 200 pages, but the author summarizes it on the back of the books, so that you get an idea of what it’s about. So, that’s what you’re trying to do through a summary.

So, there are four main points that you should remember when writing a summary.

Focus, like I already said, on the main idea of the story.

Focus on the key points. In other words, you’re not worried about little details. You’re worried about the important things that contribute to the overall storyline.

The third point is to focus on the conclusion of the story, because in most stories, there’s some kind of problem. The whole plot is based around some kind of problem throughout the story, and eventually, that problem is resolved. And so, that happens in the conclusion of the story.

So, look at the conclusion of the story, and talk about that too in your summary. So, you’re going to be talking about the main idea of the story, the key points, the problem, you know, maybe a little bit about the main character, and then talk about the end of the story, and how the character ended up dealing with his/her problem.

Then, the fourth point is kind of a longer one. Focus on important information the author wants the reader to know. So, throughout the story, you may notice certain points that the author really wants the reader to understand. And so, what could that important information, and include that in the summary as well.

And so, a summary is typically one paragraph in length. So, it’s not very long, because it does not need to be long because you’re not focusing on details, you’re just focusing on the overall story.

And so, remember again, you’re looking for important information. And so, we’re not interested in details. Try not to even think about the details, just look for the main idea of the story.

Now, in some cases, you might be writing a summary for a long story with multiple settings and scenes. And so, a summary may be a few paragraphs in length, and these paragraphs give the main points of each major part of the story.

And so, the summary of a long story always includes a conclusion to wrap up the story as an entirety.

So, like I said, the summary is usually going to be one paragraph, but if it’s a really long story, it has lots of different settings, lots of different scenes, lots of different problems throughout the plot, you may need to write a paragraph for each main point or major part of the story.

And then, for that summary, you’re going to write a few paragraphs, and then you’re going to write a conclusion that’s going to kind of summarize that whole story.

And so, only make a summary longer than one paragraph if you feel like you cannot include all the important information in one paragraph.

So, again, a summary states the main point of a story.

Practice tests help you remember. Take this mini-test to solidify your memory.
Mini-test: Summarizing Text 

1. Which of the following does NOT belong in a summary?
2. Generally, how long should a summary be?


The next lesson: Supporting Details, both lessons are included in Practice Tests.