Summarizing - Orchids The International School
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Comprehending the Text

Concept: Summarizing

Definition:

  • Summarizing the passage or a story means the presentation of the most important facts or ideas about a text in short.
  • Summarizing is an important skill, but sometimes it is difficult to concise the story short.
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What Must a Summary Include?

There are several steps that help make a good summary - some parts should be included and some should not. Let us take a look at what should be included in a summary.

No. Must Include Must Avoid
1. Information from the passage like dates, events, names, etc. Must not have your opinion.
2. Include only important information. Not to be copied the same sentence from the text or passage.
3. What is the story about? What does the main character want? Do not write information that is not given in the story.
4. Identifying the problem and the solution mentioned in the passage.  

Examples:

Once upon a time, there was lived in a faraway village outside the village a shepherd boy. He would go to the village often to watch over a flock of sheep near a village, brought out the villagers three or four times by crying out, “Wolf! Wolf!” and when his neighbours came to help him. He laughed at them, for they were fooled by him. The shepherd’s boy cried, “Wolf! Wolf!” again, he fooled the villages. As there was no wolf, the shepherd’s boy had a good laugh on seeing the disappointed look on the villager’s face.

After a few days, the Wolf, however, did truly come at last. The Shepherd-boy, now really alarmed, shouted in an agony of terror: “Pray, do come and help me; the Wolf is killing the sheep;” but no one paid any attention to his cries, nor did they help him. The Wolf, having no cause of fear, at his leisure destroyed the whole flock.

The moral of the story is that there is no believing a liar, even when he speaks the truth.

Points you should focus on in a Story

    a) Who is the main character in the story?

  • The story is about a boy who cried wolf.
  • b) What does the main character want?

  • The main character lied for amusement.
  • c) What was the main problem that the main character experienced?

  • There was actually a wolf who attacked the sheep, and no villagers came to help.
  • d) How does the character solve the problem?

  • When he shouted for help by crying wolf, no villagers came for help.
  • e) How does the story conclude (ends)?

  • There were no sheep left, and the boy learned a lesson.

How to Summarize a Short Story?

When writing a summary of a story, it’s important to cover these elements in your own words.

There are five elements of a story:

  • Character
  • Setting
  • Conflict
  • Resolution
  • Plot

The following process will help you summarize:

  1. State the main idea or gist of the story.
  2. Mention the setting of the story.
  3. Mention the main characters of the story.
  4. Give the problem of the story.

To show the sequence of events, use words like first, then, next, and finally.

Examples:

Sequencing Words When to use it?
First What happened first? Includes the main character and main event /action.
Then What important things happened during the event?
Finally what were the results of the event? Now write about how the problem was solved.
Conclude the story in short.

Common Mistakes

  1. Summarizing is generally retelling another author’s words in a shorter paragraph. When writing something that another author wrote, ensure that you do not copy the same words.
  2. Do not use too many quotations. When you are summarizing another author’s story, the main aim is to write their story in your own words. So do not use too many direct quotations. The aim of writing summaries is that the reader needs to read less yet get the basic meaning or have a simplified version of the original story. You can also rephrase the quotes and put them into your own words.
  3. When you are writing a summary, do not give your personal opinion on the story or text. Opinions must be avoided as they change from person to person. A summary will only include rephrasing the original.
  4. Do not forget to mention the main points of the story in your summary. Sometimes while writing a summary, students might get distracted by concentrating on small details. Your aim is to present to the readers a better idea of what the story is about. Do not focus on minor details, but focus on how the story progresses.
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