ENG 4U 2011: Culminating Activities and Summary Writing

Today, we change pace completely.

There. Did you feel that? A new pace. See? Told you.

We will dedicate this week to preparation for your Culminating Activity.  One day this week will be reserved for independent reading; thus, you need to bring one of your novels in every day.

We also need to discuss how to write an effective summary.  Summaries, which are still part of the university and college experience, can help you develop your analytical and evaluative skills. While the nature of summaries differ slightly between disciplines, there are a few common characteristics:

  • the summary helps the reader understand the basic argument and main points of a much longer article. Think of the opening paragraphs of a Wikipedia entry; they summarize the much more detailed content that follows.
  • the summary should be roughly 20% of the original’s length
  • the first sentence should contain the article title, the author’s name, and the author’s central argument/thesis
  • use your own words as much as possible (make sure, however, that the tone is still appropriate to the task)
  • do not include examples. Instead, focus on the controlling ideas for each paragraph.
  • do not include your own opinion

You’ve got a brilliantly compelling article in front of you. Here is what you need to do:

  1. Read it (I assume this is an obvious point. Still….)
  2. Identify its thesis/central argument
  3. summarize the content of each paragraph in a single sentence (one sentence per paragraph)




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