A summary is a shorter version of a text that includes the main ideas and the most important information. To write a summary, give the basic ideas of the writing IN YOUR OWN WORDS. To do this, you have to identify the main ideas. Make sure to list the author.
Original text: “Chinese Water Dragon coloration ranges from dark to light green. Diagonal stripes of green or turquoise are found on the body, while the tail is banded from the middle to the end with green and dark brown. But more attractive are their throats, which can be quite colorful (generally yellow, orange, or peach), some with a single color, some with stripes” (Damann Miya, Chinese Water Dragons 1995). Summary: Chinese Water Dragons are different shades of green and have stripes or markings on their bodies and tails that are turquoise, green, or brown. Their throats can be a variety of colors (Damann Miya, Chinese Water Dragons 1995).
Original Text: “Komodo dragons were first discovered by Western scientists in 1910. Their large size and fearsome reputation make them popular zoo exhibits. In the wild their range has contracted due to human activities and they are listed as vulnerable by the IUCN. They are protected under Indonesian law, and a national park, Komodo National Park, was founded to aid protection efforts” (Jill Harper, History of the Komodo Dragon 11). Summary: Komodo dragons (first recognized in 1910) make good zoo exhibits and the IUCN considers them vulnerable. Several protective programs help survival rates (Jill Harper, History of the Komodo Dragon 11).
“In 2000, the Bengal Tiger project Tiger Canyons was started by John Varty, who trains captive-bred tiger cubs how to stalk, hunt, and regain their predatory instincts. It is claimed that once the tigers prove that they can sustain themselves in the wild, they would be released into the wilderness of South- Africa to fend for themselves” (Jason Dell, Studies on the Bengal Tiger Project 112).
“Penguins are popular around the world, primarily for their unusually upright, waddling gait and (compared to other birds) lack of fear of humans. Penguins have been the subject of many books and films such as Happy Feet and Surf's Up, March of the Penguins, a documentary based on the migration process of the Emperor Penguin; and a parody titled Farce of the Penguins. Mr. Popper's Penguins is a children's book written by Richard & Florence Atwater” (Martha Foxx, Penguins in Popular Culture 15).
“Compared to brown bear attacks, violent encounters with black bears rarely lead to serious injury. However, the majority of black bear attacks tend to be motivated by hunger rather than territoriality, and thus victims have a higher probability of surviving by fighting back rather than pretending to be dead” (Steven Willcox, Black Bear Studies 287).
“Scientists are dazzled and puzzled by the diversity of life on earth. No one knows how many different kinds of plants, animals, and other organisms there are. But we do know that the organisms identified so far are only a small fraction of all living things. There are millions—perhaps many millions—that await discovery” (Laurence Pringle, Living Treasure, 1).
To summarize the events of a story, give a brief recap of the main events (the most important events). Important events include turning points in the story (events that change the course of the story) and main events that affect the plot and help people understand the story.
“My head came slowly over the crest—and there was my quarry. He was lying down, evidently resting after his mournful singsong, and his nose was about six feet from mine. We stared at one other in silence. I do not know what went on in his massive skull, but my head was full of the most disturbing thoughts. I was peering straight into the amber gaze of a fully grown arctic wolf, who probably weighed more than I did, and who was certainly a lot better versed in close-combat techniques than I would ever be” (Farley Mowat, Never Cry Wolf). Summary: The main character finds himself only feet away from a giant wolf and is fearful (Farley Mowat, Never Cry Wolf).
“One day last summer my cousin and I went downstairs to iron our clothes. We entered the washroom and I stepped on something. It felt long, slimy, and as if it was crawling up and down my leg while wrapping around my foot. I screamed. My cousin immediately reached for the lights and turned them on, only to discover I was standing on a snake! We both yelled, ‘Snake!’ Jumping and screaming, we ran upstairs. Several hours later, we found the snake, captured it in bottle, and let it go. What a relief!” (Simone Tucker, Kirby Junior High School, St. Louis, MO) Summary: The main character and her cousin find a snake in their house. Later, they catch it and set it free (Simone Tucker, Kirby Junior High School, St. Louis, MO).
“On this mound, among the grasses and the plants, stood Rontu. He stood facing me, with his back to the sea cliff. In front of him in a half-circle were the wild dogs. At first I thought that the pack had driven him there against the cliff and were getting ready to attack him. But soon I saw that two dogs stood out from the rest of the pack, between it and Rontu” (Scott O’Dell, Island of the Blue Dolphins). Summary: Rontu is at the edge of the cliff surrounded by wild dogs. Two of the dogs are closer to him (Scott O’Dell, Island of the Blue Dolphins).
“Leaving my den in the morning, I felt an immense heat at my back. I turned around and there, before my eyes, was an enormous wall of fire and smoke! I bounded away from the fire and headed toward the safety of the ravine. The brush swept my face. The fire kept gaining on me, threatening me. I tried to propel myself faster, but my tongue hung down and my energy began running out. Suddenly, the landscape came into view” (Jenny DeLong, Canyon Park Junior High School, Bothell, Washington).
“Halting in the middle of the road, I tried to follow the scent. It came from the top of a nearby hill, where a little village sat like a tray of dirty, overturned cups that someone had left to gather dust. But the magic I smelled was too powerful for a small, sleepy place like that. Well, when trouble isn’t drawn to me, I seem to be drawn to it. Leaning on my staff, I stepped off the main road onto the side path that wound through the rice fields” (Laurence Yep, Dragon of the Lost Sea).
“People stop talking, stand in front of their cars, and raise binoculars to their eyes. We peer nervously at the launch site and then at our wrist watches. Radio voices blare unnaturally loud from car windows. ‘Now only thirty minutes to launch time…fifteen minutes…six minutes…thirty seconds to go…twenty…T minus fifteen…fourteen…thirteen… twelve…eleven…ten…nine…Ignition!’ A jet of steam shoots from the pad below the rocket. ‘Ahhhh!’ the crowd gasps, almost in unison” (Anne Morrow Lindberg, Earth Shine).
“For a few ecstatic moments Phaethon felt himself the lord of the sky. But suddenly there was a change. The chariot was swinging wildly to and fro; the pace was faster; he had lost control. Not he, but the horses were directing the course” (Edith Hamilton, Phaethon).
“As the boy sat with his body aching from the hard work and eating cold rice, he gazed up at the painting. His father had caught the horse as if it were suspended upon one hoof. And as he watched, the horse’s sides seemed to heave in the moonlight” (Laurence Yep, The Magical Horse).