Step 2: What is the most important thing that the author wants the
reader to know about the topic?
Step 3: What two or three important facts does the author use to
convince the reader about #2?
If the author gives contrasting ideas (advantages and disadvantages of
something, or comparing points of view), make sure you write down
important facts for both points of view.
Step 4: If this is a persuasive article, what does the author want
the reader to DO?
Step 5: Include the name of the author if you know it, the title of
the reading, and the topic in a sentence. It will look something like
Mark Warschauer and Deborah Healey in "Computers and Language Learning: An
Overview" discuss the past, present, and future of computer-assisted
language learning (Warschauer and Healey, 1998).
According to Derek Humphry in "Why I Believe in Voluntary
Euthanasia," there are times when a mature adult should be able to
choose to kill him or herself (Humphry, 1995).
Jeffrey Snyder gives his reasons for opposing gun control in "A
Nation of Cowards" (Snyder, 1993).
Step 6: Paraphrase the important facts you gathered in Step 3
If there is more than one point of view in the article (for example, if
the author talks about arguments in favor of assisted suicide as well as
the problems with
it), you will need to organize the ideas to be very clear to the reader of
your summary. Describe all the advantages together, then describe all the
disadvantages together (or describe what happens in Country A, then what
happens in Country B, etc.).
Follow the same order as in the original
reading where possible, but make sure you do one point of view completely
before going on to the other point of view.
Step 7: For a persuasive essay, your last sentence or two will
describe what the author wants the reader to do. If it's an objective
essay, that's not necessary or possible.
The summary must include the author's name and the title of the
piece somewhere within the summary, not just at the top or the end of
The full bibliographic citation, including year, place of
publication, and publisher should be at the top or bottom of the page.
See information about citations.
Remember--a summary gives the author's point of view, not yours.
Don't add anything to the summary that wasn't in the original!
Do the author's name and the title appear somewhere in the body of
Is the bibliographic citation at the top or bottom of the page?
Is the main idea clear and accurate?
Are there a few supporting details--enough to be clear, but usually
not as many as the original?
Have you changed the grammar and vocabulary of each sentence so that
nothing is copied directly from the original?
Did you make sure the summary includes ONLY information that was in
Not at all
Provide some comments
about your experience in working through this exercise
(e.g. I need help, it was okay, etc.)
Please be sure to explain your comments.
(Thanks to Jon Dorbolo for the inspiration behind this form!)