7 - Summary Paragraph



Summarizing is how we take larger selections of text and reduce them to their bare essentials:  the gist, the key ideas, the main points that are worth noting and remembering.  Webster’s dictionary calls a summary the “general idea in brief form.”


Your task on the OSSLT will be to:

  • Read through an entire passage to get a sense of what it is about and what the author’s message or purpose is
  • Go back and reread the text in sections, highlight or underlining information you feel is important to the overall meaning
  • Decide what the main idea of the passage is, and choose one point that supports it
  • Write your summary, stating the main idea and one supporting detail clearly.


What is the difference between summarizing as we read (which was a reading strategy introduced in Workshop 1) and summarizing as a writing task?


Summarizing as you read will help you write a summary – but you will need to go one step further to write a summary paragraph.


You need to get what might be 300 words down to 50 words.  You might have some good summary notes that you made as you read – but you need to make some decisions on how to pair down your information down to just one main idea and just one supporting detail.



What are we doing when we summarize?

We focus on the heart of the matter.  We try to find the key words and phrases that, when uttered later, still manage to capture the gist of what we’ve read.  We are trying to capture the main ideas and the crucial details necessary for supporting them.

What are we not supposed to do when we summarize?

  • Copy from the reading selection word for word.
  • Try to get all the information from the reading into the summary.
  • Go over or under the six lines provided







Now go to 7.1 Reducing Words