Quite often, you will be asked to write a summary of an article for a class. Summarizing is taking the most important elements, and condensing and retelling them into a shorter version. When you summarize an article in writing, you are proving that you understand it. You are synthesizing the article to give its big picture ideas.
Writing a summary of an article is a great way to study. Students from upper elementary school all the way through college and graduate school can use the same techniques given here to write an ace summary of an article.
Survey the article, by reading the title and subtitles. Look at each picture and/or diagram. Read the captions. This gives you an overall idea of what the article is about. Be thinking of what you already know about the topic. Taking this step helps you understand the reading more easily and well.
Read the article for the first time, and be sure to visualize what is being described as you read. This makes it more real to you, so you can connect better with the content.
This time, read through the article with a pencil in hand. In the margin, jot down just one key word, phrase, or short sentence in your own words that gives the main idea of each paragraph.
The Five W’s and How
On a piece of fresh paper, jot down “Who-“, “Did What-“, “Where-“, “When-“, “Why-“, and “How-“. Leave space after each of these headings. Look back at your main idea notes in the margins of the article to help you find the answers to each of these most basic questions. Write no more than a few sentences to answer each of the six questions. Expect that sometimes, your article will not have the answers to all of the questions.
Write the Summary
Write the main idea of the article in your first sentence. Use the answers you’ve just written to flesh out the summary. Write your sentences in an order that makes sense for your article.
Make sure you are using only the main ideas from the reading. Check that the article summary is complete with the most essential details only. Is there anything you should add or take away to make it complete, correct, and clear? Proofread your spelling, grammar, and punctuation.
You’ve written a fine summary, so you’ve proven you understand what you’ve read. You’ve worked with the ideas enough to remember them. You’ve done a fine job of summarizing an article.