This resource presents instructional practices for writing summaries of expository text in English language arts, mathematics, science, and social studies classes.
Download and print the handout packet for this resource by clicking the button below.
Summary writing is an authentic writing task commonly used in a variety of contexts across content areas. However, students seldom receive explicit content area instruction on how to write a good summary.
Summarizing a text involves both reading and writing. It requires deeply comprehending the text—for example, being able to distinguish important from less important information—and writing a concise synthesis of the important points. In general, summaries are shorter than the original text, requiring writers to condense information.
A good written summary includes a specific set of elements.
Locate the Elements of an Expository Text Summary and Expository Text Summary Mini-Chart handouts from the handout packet.
Read the elements of expository text summaries. The mini-chart can be placed in students' writer's journals or displayed in the classroom.
One way to introduce and teach students the elements of this genre is to use an expository mentor text and a model summary of that text. After reading both the original text and the summary, record what students notice about the summary. Point out any other elements, if necessary. Then, compare the similarities and differences between the original text and the summary.
Locate the Introducing the Elements of Expository Text Summaries handout from the handout packet.
Read the mentor text, model summary, and annotated summary on the handout. Think about how you can introduce and teach the elements of this genre by using a mentor text and model summary related to a topic in your content area. Write your ideas in your teaching journal.