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summary writing

Summary Writing
Step 1. Focus.
Write one sentence that tells the reader the main idea. This will be the first sentence of
your paragraph. To find the main idea ask yourself these questions:
What is the story about?
What is the most important thing the writer wants me to know?
You may want to use sentence patterns like these:
Harry Potter is a story about …. OR The movie “Ray” describes Ray Charles’ life and …
Step 2. Analyze-separate reading into small parts
Analyze means you take a big thing and divide it into small pieces. This is a great way
to understand something.
Divide the story into big pieces. Give each piece a short name. This is called “chunking”.
Now, you have a list of ideas. Use these chunks to write two or three sentences that
describe or explain the main idea. Write the information in the same order as the story.
Ask yourself these questions:
What happens?
Who are the people in the reading?
What is the most important thing the writer wants me to know?
Step 3. Conclude.
One sentence to say what happens at the end of the story.
Step 4. Tighten.
Tight writing means there are no unnecessary words and the paragraph talks about one
idea. Tight writing is a skill that all writers have.
Edit the paragraph so that the middle sentences and conclusion explain or support your
first sentence. This is called paragraph unity.
FACT Summary Writing.
Focus on the main idea.
Analyze by describing the main pieces of the story.
Conclude to tell us the ending.
Tighten your writing by editing grammar errors, deleting extra words and creating
paragraph unity.
Summary Writing
Writing a summary computer lab activity
1. Read the first two paragraphs of the Avalanche reading. What would the main idea
be from the options below?
People who spend time in snowy mountains know about avalanches.
People who spend time in snowy mountains should be careful of avalanches.
Avalanches are accidents that happen in snowy mountains and
Every year many people die from avalanches.
Many meteorologists don’t know how to predict avalanches.
2. Break down the reading into three or four chunks of information. List them below.
1. _______________________________________
2. _______________________________________
3. _______________________________________
4. _______________________________________
3. Write a summary sentence about each of the chunks you listed above.
4. Write a one-paragraph summary of the Avalanche reading. Use the main ideas and
chunks you wrote down. Remember to use your own words.