Summary Assignment Sheet   

Purpose: Summary writing is an essential critical reading/ thinking skill that you will use in almost every college course. Learning how to summarize effectively and efficiently is also a skill that will serve you later in life, whether it is summarizing business reports or newspaper articles. The purpose of a summary in this instance is to faithfully reproduce the main ideas of an article for a reader who has not read the original.

Assignment: A summary is (and you must include all of these elements in your essay):

Brief (one sentence or one paragraph or one page, depending on the assignment) for this assignment: one page.

Complete (contains the author’s thesis and major supporting points)

Objective (contains only the author’s opinion—not yours)

Acknowledged (gives full bibliographic information)

In your own words (except for one or two brief, carefully chosen quotations—words or phrases—from the original).

Begin by comprehending the article completely: Preview, skim, read, annotate (analyze), reread. Start your summary with a sentence that immediately tells your reader the facts he or she wants to know (again this information is required):

The title of the article (in quotation marks);

The author’s full name;

A brief, relevant phrase that identifies the author;

The source of the original publication (italicized);

The author’s thesis (in your own words).

Follow this sentence with a paragraph (or two) in which you restate the author’s major supporting points in your own words.

After the initial information, a summary follows the order of the original (don’t skip around). Check your draft against the article for accuracy. Resist the temptation to comment on the article or to change the emphasis or tone. Most drafts are choppy, so use transitions for a smoother effect. Try sentence combining if your draft is too long. Keep only essential content.

*Adhere to MLA format, as usual.


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