Writing a Summary The following example shows how to break down a chapter using the Somebody, Wanted, But, So, Then, Finally strategy.
Somebody Annemarie and Ellen are two friends living in Copenhagen, Denmark. Wanted After school one afternoon, they wanted to race each other down the sidewalk. But However, the two girls were stopped by Nazi soldiers on the corner of Osterbrogade. So Annemarie and Ellen, interrogated by the two men, were both nervous yet respectful.
Then To avoid worrying their mothers, the girls swore they wouldn’t share this experience with them when they got home. Finally Having already found out, the mothers instructed the girls to never take that route home from school again.
Putting It Together Begin with a topic sentence that introduces what you are writing about (you may want to include where and when the story is taking place, the main characters, and the characters’ intentions in that chapter or story). Using your summarizer, combine each of the sections so that they are written in chronological order. Use transition words to go from one description of the chapter/story to the next description. Use strong vocabulary (vivid verbs, identifiable nouns, meaningful adjectives, etc.) Finish with a concluding sentence that wraps up your summary.
Example: The following example is a summary for chapter 1 of Number the Stars. Note: – Topic sentence – Detailed events in chronological order – Transitions – Vivid vocabulary – Sentence variety – Concluding sentence
Chapter 1 of Number the Stars begins with the two main characters, Annemarie Johanson and Ellen Rosen walking home from school one afternoon. The two girls decide to race one another down the sidewalk. Abruptly, the girls are stopped by two Nazi soldiers at the corner of the street. Interrogated by the two men, Annemarie and Ellen, although very nervous, both remained respectful and were eventually allowed to continue their walk home. The best friends promised one another that they would not tell their mothers of the incident to avoid worrying them. However, with the news spreading quickly, their secret did not last very long; Mrs. Johanson and Mrs. Rosen instructed the girls to never take that same route again.
4321 Organization Summary begins with a clear topic sentence that states the main idea of the original selection. All other major points are stated carefully and arranged in a logical order. Concluding sentence effectively brings the summary to a close, but no details or reflections are added. Writing is unified and coherent throughout. Summary begins with a topic sentence that states the main idea of the original selection All other major ideas are stated and arranged in a generally logical order Concluding sentence brings the summary to a close, but extraneous details or reflections may be added The progression of ideas and information is, for the most part, logical. Summary may or may not state the main idea of the original selection, or it may not do so at the beginning. States some, but not all, major ideas and not necessarily in a logical order. Summary may lack a conclusion or include extraneous details or reflections. Development of ideas is not completely logical or coherent. Summary does not state the main ideas of the original selection. States few major ideas and does not use a logical order Lacks a conclusion and includes extraneous or minor details or reflections. Writing lacks unity and coherence. Elements of Summaries Overall purpose of the summary is clear. Expresses only the main idea and major points of the original selection. Writing is tailored to the audience. Word choice is consistently efficient and concise. Purpose is generally clear Summary expresses only the main idea and most major points of the original selection Most of the writing is tailored to the audience. Word choice is fairly concise. Purpose wavers. Summary does not accurately express the main idea or most major points of the original selection. Most of the writing is not tailored to the audience. Word choice is vague or repetitive. Purpose is unclear. Summary does not convey the main idea or major points of the original selection. Most of the writing is not tailored to the audience. Word choice is confusing or misleading. Grammar, Usage, Mechanics, and Spelling There are few errors (0- 3) in mechanics, usage, grammar, or spelling. There are some errors (4-5) in mechanics, usage, grammar, or spelling. There are serious errors 6-7) in mechanics, usage, grammar, or spelling. Serious errors (8+) in mechanics, usage, grammar, or spelling make the summary difficult to understand.