Summary is the most important part of the class activity because it shows the following:
1- You have understood the passage.
2- You know enough grammar and vocabulary to make your own sentences
3- Your writing ability ,especially if your teacher asks you to write the summary in your notebook and checks it in class
4- You can pronounce words correctly.
5- You can use your English to English dictionary well
6- You have practiced English enough at home
7- You can use your language well
8- You can say sentences with a fluent native(like) accent and intonation i.e. not Yazdi, Esfahani,….
So let’s get to the big question:
How should a good summary be?
In general, a good summary has to be
short ,simple ,understandable ,
and never forget,
It must not be a copy of the original passage
To make a good summary like this, there are some steps which we will work on here, one by one, using a sample paragraph.
Note: First of all you should know that preparing a summary is not going to take only a couple of minutes; it takes some time!!!
Step 1- Read the passage and make sure you have understood everything completely
“Water is the most common liquid in the world. Lakes contain water. Rivers contain water. Ponds contain water. Canals contain water. Oceans contain water. The water in rivers, ponds, and canals is fresh water. The water in oceans is salt water About 70% of the world is covered by water. About 97% of water in the world is salt water. Only 3% of the world’s water is fresh water. Fresh water is not salty. People usually think of water as a liquid. But water freezes to form a solid. The solid is called ice. And water boils to form a gas. The gas is called steam or vapor. Clouds are made of water. Water falls from clouds as rain. When it is cold, water falls as snow. Sometimes water falls as sleet. Sleet is partly water and partly ice. Sometimes water falls as hail. Hail is ice. People need water to live. Animals need water to live. Insects need water to live. Plants need water to live. All living things in the world need water to live. People all over the world need to drink clean water to live. About one billion people in the world do not have clean drinking water. The largest cause of preventable human death in the 15 world is drinking water that is unsanitary.”
Step 2- Now try to write another passage with the same meaning but in your own words
(We call it paraphrasing.)
- Do not use the exact words which are in the passage. (Use synonyms instead)
- Do not use many big and unfamiliar sentence structures, phrases, and words. (You have already learned enough suitable vocabulary and grammar.)
- Doing this part without working with an English to English dictionary is nearly impossible. (Why?)
- Do not just move the sentences of the original passage up and down or delete some sentences and add a couple of words; it is not paraphrasing!!
- Do not give your own ideas and opinions.
- If you want to cut some parts of the passage, do not delete the main parts of the it. You should delete the details, extra examples, etc.( now we call this summarizing the passage)
- Use enough transition words like but, although, and,….
“You can find water nearly everywhere like rivers, lakes, canals, oceans, wells, ponds, etc . However they do not have the same kind of water. We have two kinds of water: fresh water and salt water. Almost all the water of the world is salt water. When we say water we usually think about liquid water but it can be in another forms in the nature like ice, steam, snow, sleet, and hail. All live things need water. We needs clean water, but many people do not have clean water which is called unsanitary water.”
Step 3- Now read your own passage and correct your mistakes and check your own passage with the one in the book to make sure you have not forgotten the important parts of the story.
- Some parts and sentences of the passage in the book can be omitted but some cannot.
“You can find water nearly everywhere like rivers, lakes, canals, oceans, wells, ponds, etc . However, they do not have the same kind of water. We have two kinds of water: fresh water and salt water. Almost all the water of the world is salty. When we say water we usually think about liquid water ,but it can be in other forms in nature like ice, steam, snow, sleet, and hail. All live things need water. We need clean water, but many people do not have it which is called unsanitary water.”
Step 4- Now use your own passage (your summary) as a note and practice hard until you can talk about it without looking at it.
- Do not forget it is very important to finish one step and then go to the next one. Most students don’t do this and they are more confused and upset in class.
What is important to your teacher?
- Understanding the passage completely ( This can have a lot of points)
- Organization(Finding the main parts of the passage and putting them in the right place in the passage)
- Using proper grammar and vocabulary to paraphrase the sentences properly
- Saying the sentences of your summary well without long stops and thinking too long about them
- Pronouncing the words well
For getting 95 + grades
- Answering the questions that the teacher may sometimes ask you about the passage
- Beautiful style of your summary and the way of saying it.