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Writing a Summary of Nonfiction. What is a summary? What makes a good summary? How can I write a summary of nonfiction?. Essential Questions. A summary is all of the ideas from a text, written in your own words A summary is your opinions about a text

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essential questions
What is a summary?

What makes a good summary?

How can I write a summary of nonfiction?

Essential Questions
what is a summary
A summary is all of the ideas from a text, written in your own words

A summary is your opinions about a text

A summary is a shortened form of a text, with all of the main ideas

A summary is a review of a text, with main ideas and your opinions

What is a summary?
what is a summary1
A summary is all of the ideas from a text, written in your own words

A summary is your opinions about a text

A summary is a shortened form of a text, with all of the main ideas

A summary is a review of a text, with main ideas and your opinions

What is a summary?
why do we write summaries1
Summarizing a text helps you to understand it—as you figure out the most important ideas, your brain is engaged in understanding the textWhy do we write summaries?
why do we write summaries2
Students often write summaries as a school assignment

Summaries are also included on tests, to see how well you understood a text

Why do we write summaries?
how long should a summary be1
The length of a summary depends on the length of the original text

A summary should always be shorter than the original text

How long should a summary be?
what makes a good summary
Here are four basic rules for writing a summary of nonfiction:

Include the important ideas from the text

Put ideas in your own words

Leave out little details and repeated information

Use the text structure of the text

What makes a good summary?
what makes a good summary1
Here are four basic rules for writing a summary of nonfiction:

Include the important ideas from the text

Put ideas in your own words

Leave out little details and repeated information

Use the text structure of the text

What makes a good summary?
include important ideas from the text
This is easy to say, but sometimes hard to do! As you read, it’s important to think about what ideas are most important to the authorInclude important ideas from the text
include important ideas from the text1
If butterflies cannot find the food source they need for their eggs, the next generation will not survive. When habitats are changed, such as when wetlands are drained or forests are cleared, butterfly populations may drop dramatically. According to the Xerxes Society, an invertebrate conservation group, over 50 kinds of U.S. butterflies are at risk.Include important ideas from the text

Many butterflies depend on certain plants to survive. As adults, butterflies drink nectar. But caterpillars eat leaves. Some caterpillars only eat the leaves of specific plants. Monarch caterpillars, for example, eat only milkweed.

which ideas are important in this text
If butterflies cannot find the food source they need for their eggs, the next generation will not survive. When habitats are changed, such as when wetlands are drained or forests are cleared, butterfly populations may drop dramatically. According to the Xerxes Society, an invertebrate conservation group, over 50 kinds of U.S. butterflies are at risk.Which ideas are important in this text?

Many butterflies depend on certain plants to survive. As adults, butterflies drink nectar. But caterpillars eat leaves. Some caterpillars only eat the leaves of specific plants. Monarch caterpillars, for example, eat only milkweed.

which ideas are important in this text1
If butterflies cannot find the food source they need for their eggs, the next generation will not survive. When habitats are changed, such as when wetlands are drained or forests are cleared, butterfly populations may drop dramatically. According to the Xerxes Society, an invertebrate conservation group, over 50 kinds of U.S. butterflies are at risk.Which ideas are important in this text?

Many butterflies depend on certain plants to survive. As adults, butterflies drink nectar. But caterpillars eat leaves. Some caterpillars only eat the leaves of specific plants. Monarch caterpillars, for example, eat only milkweed.

Even though you might have some personal connection with some of the ideas, you need to think about what’s important to the author. Look for the topic sentences and big ideas.

which ideas are important in this text2
If butterflies cannot find the food source they need for their eggs, the next generation will not survive. When habitats are changed, such as when wetlands are drained or forests are cleared, butterfly populations may drop dramatically. According to the Xerxes Society, an invertebrate conservation group, over 50 kinds of U.S. butterflies are at risk.Which ideas are important in this text?

Many butterflies depend on certain plants to survive. As adults, butterflies drink nectar. But caterpillars eat leaves. Some caterpillars only eat the leaves of specific plants. Monarch caterpillars, for example, eat only milkweed.

Even though you might have some personal connection with some of the ideas, you need to think about what’s important to the author. Look for the topic sentences and big ideas.

which ideas are important in this text3
If butterflies cannot find the food source they need for their eggs, the next generation will not survive. When habitats are changed, such as when wetlands are drained or forests are cleared, butterfly populations may drop dramatically. According to the Xerxes Society, an invertebrate conservation group, over 50 kinds of U.S. butterflies are at risk.Which ideas are important in this text?

Many butterflies depend on certain plants to survive. As adults, butterflies drink nectar. But caterpillars eat leaves. Some caterpillars only eat the leaves of specific plants. Monarch caterpillars, for example, eat only milkweed.

Do you agree that these are the big ideas in the text?

finding important ideas
What strategies do you use to find important ideas in a text?

Why do you think this is important for summarizing?

Finding important ideas
what makes a good summary2
Include the important ideas from the text

Put ideas in your own words

Leave out little details and repeated information

Use the text structure of the text

What makes a good summary?
putting ideas in your own words
Putting ideas in your own words is also called paraphrasing

Instead of just copying down the author’s words, we need to use our own words

Putting ideas in your own words
putting ideas in your own words1
Can you paraphrase this sentence from the text?

Many butterflies depend on certain plants to survive.

Putting ideas in your own words
putting ideas in your own words2
Hint: Try using synonyms for important words

Many butterflies depend on certain plants to survive

Putting ideas in your own words
putting ideas in your own words3
Hint: Try changing the order of ideas

Many butterflies depend on certain plants to survive

Putting ideas in your own words
putting ideas in your own words4
Here’s one way to paraphrase the sentence. How does it compare to yours?

Butterflies need specific plants to live

Original Text:

Many butterflies depend on certain plants to survive

Putting ideas in your own words
paraphrasing
There are some words that you can’t change when you paraphrase. These key words are the important words from the passage.Paraphrasing

For example, in the passage that we read, the words butterfly and caterpillar cannot be replaced

what makes a good summary3
Include the important ideas from the text

Put ideas in your own words

Leave out little details and repeated information

Use the text structure of the text

What makes a good summary?
trivial details
Small details can be called “trivial details”—they might be interesting, but are not important to the main ideas of the passage

We do not need to include these small details in summaries

Trivial Details
what small details do you notice
If butterflies cannot find the food source they need for their eggs, the next generation will not survive. When habitats are changed, such as when wetlands are drained or forests are cleared, butterfly populations may drop dramatically. According to the Xerxes Society, an invertebrate conservation group, over 50 kinds of U.S. butterflies are at risk.What small details do you notice?

Many butterflies depend on certain plants to survive. As adults, butterflies drink nectar. But caterpillars eat leaves. Some caterpillars only eat the leaves of specific plants. Monarch caterpillars, for example, eat only milkweed.

what small details do you notice1
If butterflies cannot find the food source they need for their eggs, the next generation will not survive. When habitats are changed, such as when wetlands are drained or forests are cleared, butterfly populations may drop dramatically. According to the Xerxes Society, an invertebrate conservation group, over 50 kinds of U.S. butterflies are at risk.What small details do you notice?

Many butterflies depend on certain plants to survive. As adults, butterflies drink nectar. But caterpillars eat leaves. Some caterpillars only eat the leaves of specific plants. Monarch caterpillars, for example, eat only milkweed.

While this example supports the main idea, it is not needed for a summary

what other small details do you notice
If butterflies cannot find the food source they need for their eggs, the next generation will not survive. When habitats are changed, such as when wetlands are drained or forests are cleared, butterfly populations may drop dramatically. According to the Xerxes Society, an invertebrate conservation group, over 50 kinds of U.S. butterflies are at risk.What other small details do you notice?

Many butterflies depend on certain plants to survive. As adults, butterflies drink nectar. But caterpillars eat leaves. Some caterpillars only eat the leaves of specific plants. Monarch caterpillars, for example, eat only milkweed.

what other small details do you notice1
If butterflies cannot find the food source they need for their eggs, the next generation will not survive. When habitats are changed, such as when wetlands are drained or forests are cleared, butterfly populations may drop dramatically. According to the Xerxes Society, an invertebrate conservation group, over 50 kinds of U.S. butterflies are at risk.What other small details do you notice?

Many butterflies depend on certain plants to survive. As adults, butterflies drink nectar. But caterpillars eat leaves. Some caterpillars only eat the leaves of specific plants. Monarch caterpillars, for example, eat only milkweed.

The description of the Xerxes Society is not needed in a summary.

repeated ideas
Authors also might repeat ideas. When the same idea is restated, we only need to include it once in a summary.Repeated Ideas
what makes a good summary4
Include the important ideas from the text

Put ideas in your own words

Leave out little details and repeated information

Use the text structure of the text

What makes a good summary?
using text structure
The text structure of a text refers to how the text is organized

Description

Cause and Effect

Chronological Order

Problem/Solution

Compare and Contrast

Using text structure
using text structure1
When you look at the text structure of a text, you can find the big ideas and see how to organize your summary

Description

Cause and Effect

Chronological Order

Problem/Solution

Compare and Contrast

Using text structure
what is the text structure
If butterflies cannot find the food source they need for their eggs, the next generation will not survive. When habitats are changed, such as when wetlands are drained or forests are cleared, butterfly populations may drop dramatically. According to the Xerxes Society, an invertebrate conservation group, over 50 kinds of U.S. butterflies are at risk.What is the text structure?

Many butterflies depend on certain plants to survive. As adults, butterflies drink nectar. But caterpillars eat leaves. Some caterpillars only eat the leaves of specific plants. Monarch caterpillars, for example, eat only milkweed.

what is the text structure1
If butterflies cannot find the food source they need for their eggs, the next generation will not survive. When habitats are changed, such as when wetlands are drained or forests are cleared, butterfly populations may drop dramatically. According to the Xerxes Society, an invertebrate conservation group, over 50 kinds of U.S. butterflies are at risk.What is the text structure?

Many butterflies depend on certain plants to survive. As adults, butterflies drink nectar. But caterpillars eat leaves. Some caterpillars only eat the leaves of specific plants. Monarch caterpillars, for example, eat only milkweed.

Overall, this paragraph shows the text structure of cause and effect.

text structure in a summary
If butterflies cannot find the food source they need for their eggs, the next generation will not survive. When habitats are changed, such as when wetlands are drained or forests are cleared, butterfly populations may drop dramatically. According to the Xerxes Society, an invertebrate conservation group, over 50 kinds of U.S. butterflies are at risk.Text Structure in a Summary

Many butterflies depend on certain plants to survive. As adults, butterflies drink nectar. But caterpillars eat leaves. Some caterpillars only eat the leaves of specific plants. Monarch caterpillars, for example, eat only milkweed.

In your summary, you need to show the cause and effect!

what makes a good summary7
What do you remember about the four rules for writing a good summary?

Include the important ideas from the text

Put ideas in your own words

Leave out little details and repeated information

Use the text structure of the text

What makes a good summary?
write your own summary
If butterflies cannot find the food source they need for their eggs, the next generation will not survive. When habitats are changed, such as when wetlands are drained or forests are cleared, butterfly populations may drop dramatically. According to the Xerxes Society, an invertebrate conservation group, over 50 kinds of U.S. butterflies are at risk.Write your own summary

Many butterflies depend on certain plants to survive. As adults, butterflies drink nectar. But caterpillars eat leaves. Some caterpillars only eat the leaves of specific plants. Monarch caterpillars, for example, eat only milkweed.

slide44
by Emily Kissner

For more on summarizing, read my book: