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Summarizing Tips

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Summarizing Tips

  1. 1. Summarizing Tips By Daniela Munca, PhD American Language Center April 2010
  2. 2. Summarizing like Carving … <ul><li>Michelangelo is said to have created David by &quot;taking a block of marble and </li></ul><ul><li>cutting away everything that was </li></ul><ul><li>not David.&quot; </li></ul><ul><li>Writing a summary is a similar process — you take a long work, and you cut out as much as possible. The question is, what do you cut? </li></ul>
  3. 3. Why teach our students to summarize? <ul><li>A valuable SKILL used in: </li></ul><ul><li>essay writing </li></ul><ul><li>presentation making </li></ul><ul><li>post-reading activities </li></ul><ul><li>Class projects: making a poster, participating in a debate, etc. </li></ul>
  4. 4. Why summarize ? <ul><li>Writing a good summary demonstrates that you: </li></ul><ul><li>clearly understand a text </li></ul><ul><li>can communicate that </li></ul><ul><li>understanding to your readers </li></ul><ul><li>apply your high-thinking skills (analyzing, processing, eliminating, etc) </li></ul>
  5. 5. <ul><li>The easy 8-step method </li></ul>
  6. 6. 1. Divide…and conquer <ul><li>skim the text you are going to summarize </li></ul><ul><li>divide it into sections </li></ul><ul><li>focus on any headings and </li></ul><ul><li>subheadings </li></ul><ul><li>look at any bold-faced terms and make sure you understand them before you read </li></ul>
  7. 7. 2) Read carefully <ul><li>Now that you’ve prepared, go ahead and read the selection: </li></ul><ul><li>Read straight through </li></ul><ul><li>At this point, you don’t need to stop to look up anything that gives you trouble </li></ul><ul><li>get a feel for the author’s tone, style, and main idea </li></ul>
  8. 8. 3) Active Reading <ul><li>Rereading should be active </li></ul><ul><li>Underline topic sentences and key facts. </li></ul><ul><li>Label areas that you want to refer to </li></ul><ul><li>Areas that should be avoided because the details—though they may be interesting—are too specific. </li></ul><ul><li>Identify areas that you do not understand and try to clarify those points.  </li></ul>
  9. 9. 4) Draw a graphic organizer <ul><li>Get a “ visual ” image of what your summary going to be about </li></ul><ul><li>write down the main idea of each section in one well-developed graph </li></ul><ul><li>Make sure that what you include in your sentences are key points , not minor details </li></ul>
  10. 12. Try a “Story Board” approach
  11. 13. 5) Write a THESIS STATEMENT <ul><li>This is the key to any well-written summary. </li></ul><ul><li>IT clearly communicates what the entire text was trying to achieve. </li></ul><ul><li>Difficult? Go back to step 4 and make sure your sentences actually addressed key points. </li></ul>
  12. 14. A good THESIS is like the top of a Big Mac <ul><li>The top and bottom bun hold the stuff inside together. </li></ul>
  13. 15. The topic sentence introduces the main idea of a paragraph <ul><li>Although most people believe that man’s best friend is a dog, I think it should be a cat. </li></ul><ul><li>Cats have been used as pets since the time of the pharaohs in Egypt. They have been found in countries all over the world. Obviously, cats have been the favorites of man for hundreds of years. I suppose cats are so well liked because they are gentle, friendly and easy to take care of. </li></ul>
  14. 16. A topic sentence is like a . . . <ul><li>A ship without its rudder. </li></ul><ul><li>An army without its general. </li></ul><ul><li>A vacation trip without a map. </li></ul>
  15. 17. What’s missing? <ul><li>The most beautiful flower is the rose because it comes in so many different colors. Another beautiful flower is the daisy which sometimes grows wild. Spring flowers like tulips, daffodils, and crocuses are also very pretty. </li></ul>
  16. 18. The most beautiful flower is the rose because it comes in so many different colors. Another beautiful flower is the daisy which sometimes grows wild. Spring flowers like tulips, daffodils, and crocuses are also very pretty. <ul><li>Which of the following topic sentences is the best one for the above paragraph? </li></ul><ul><li>A. Don’t you just love spring? </li></ul><ul><li>B. The rose is the most loved flower the world over. </li></ul><ul><li>C. There are many lovely flowers to consider for your garden. </li></ul>
  17. 19. 6) Ready to write <ul><li>Use the thesis statement as the introductory sentence of your summary </li></ul><ul><li>Add transition words ( then , however , also , moreover ) </li></ul><ul><li>Write in the present tense . </li></ul><ul><li>Make sure to include the author and title of the work. </li></ul><ul><li>Be concise : a summary should not be equal in length to the original text. </li></ul><ul><li>If you must use the words of the author, cite them. </li></ul><ul><li>Don't put your own opinions , ideas, or interpretations into the summary. </li></ul><ul><li>The purpose of writing a summary is to accurately represent what the author wanted to say, not to provide a critique. </li></ul>
  18. 20. 7) Check for accuracy <ul><li>Reread your summary and make sure: </li></ul><ul><li>that you have accurately represented the author’s ideas and key points </li></ul><ul><li>that you have correctly cited anything directly quoted from the text </li></ul><ul><li>your text does not contain your own commentary on the piece. </li></ul>
  19. 21. 8) Revise <ul><li>For style, grammar, and punctuation </li></ul><ul><li>Give your summary to someone else to read. </li></ul><ul><li>This person should be able to understand the main text based </li></ul><ul><li>on your summary alone. </li></ul>
  20. 22. Tips: Summarize, don’t Describe <ul><li>Weak:  This article covers the topic of measuring the extent of global deforestation. The article discusses reasons for concern, the technique, the results, and the project’s current goal.                </li></ul>
  21. 23. <ul><li>Strong : </li></ul><ul><li>According to the author of “Seeing the Forest,” the extent of global deforestation was difficult to measure until satellite remote sensing techniques were applied. Measuring the extent of global deforestation is important because of concerns about global warming and species extinctions. The technique compares old infrared LANDSAT images with new images. The authors conclude the method is accurate and cost effective. </li></ul>
  22. 24. How long / big ? <ul><li>There is no universal set length for a summary </li></ul><ul><li>it should not be excessively long </li></ul><ul><li>well-written summaries touch upon the major events / reasons / issues in the work </li></ul>
  23. 25. Variations: Summary Essay <ul><li>Advanced students </li></ul><ul><li>to convey to others an understanding of a text, without their having to read it themselves.  </li></ul><ul><li>an important feature of the summary essay is its fidelity to the source </li></ul><ul><li>must represent your source accurately and comprehensively </li></ul>
  24. 26. Format <ul><li>The introduction (usually one paragraph) </li></ul><ul><li>one-sentence thesis statement that sums up the main point of the source </li></ul><ul><li>this thesis statement is not your main point;  it is the main point of your source. </li></ul><ul><li>gives the title of the source, the name of the author of the source;             </li></ul>
  25. 27. 2. The body of a summary essay (one or more paragraphs): <ul><li>This paraphrases and condenses the original piece; </li></ul><ul><li>Includes important data but omits minor points; </li></ul><ul><li>Include one or more of the author’s examples or illustrations (these will bring your summary to life); </li></ul>
  26. 28. 3. There is customarily no conclusion to a summary essay <ul><li>When you have summarized the source text, your summary essay is  finished. </li></ul><ul><li>Do not add your own concluding paragraph unless your teacher specifically tells you to.  </li></ul>
  27. 29. Variation: What is a response paper?
  28. 30. Structure <ul><li>1) Summary of the text / </li></ul><ul><li>article / story / book / movie </li></ul><ul><li>2) Your opinion: your own reflection on the text / article / story / book / movie </li></ul>
  29. 31. The Summary Translation Method <ul><li>First, the students make a summary in the original language </li></ul><ul><li>Then, they translate the summary in the target language (English or Romanian) </li></ul>
  30. 32. Purpose: <ul><li>to create a short summary of the key points or messages of the source document in the target language </li></ul><ul><li>not to create a full translation of every word of the original </li></ul><ul><li>can be completed much faster </li></ul>
  31. 33. Summary Translations: <ul><li>They don’t require students to translate every single passage </li></ul><ul><li>students are required to be aware of the global features , and salient points of the text, and to make decisions as to how to reflect these in the translated summary </li></ul><ul><li>writing a summary can be set as a timed exercise, perhaps done in pairs : the students have to make strategic decisions about what to include, condense or exclude </li></ul><ul><li>oblige students to exercise judgment and make practical decisions </li></ul><ul><li>could use as source material two or three texts , from different newspapers or periodicals, on the same topic (feature, news item, opinion, and so on) </li></ul>
  32. 34. <ul><li>[email_address] </li></ul><ul><li>Daniela Munca, PhD </li></ul>