Developing a Summary
Prewriting Planning Your Summary
Skim and Take Notes 🟪 Learn as much as you can about your reading selection before you try to summarize it.
Skim it. Look at the title, table of contents, headings, pictures, and so on to get the general meaning. Then read the selection more carefully.
Take notes. While reading and taking notes, follow these important rules:
- Write down headings. Note headings and topic sentences, which often contain the main points.
- Use the 5W’s questions. Write down answers to the following: Who? What? Where? When? Why?
- Note repeated ideas. Authors often say important things several times. Pay attention to words and phrases that are repeated.
- Record repeated ideas just once. Avoid repetition in your notes and summary.
- Focus on key information. Don’t write down details that are unimportant. Some details may be interesting, but if they are not key to the meaning of the text, do not include them in your notes or summary.