Mastering Summary Writing: Effective Instructional Tips

Summary writing is a crucial skill for students to master, as it requires the ability to concisely and accurately capture the main points of a text. Whether it be for academic purposes or professional settings, being able to summarize effectively is essential. However, many students struggle with this task, making it imperative for teachers to provide clear and effective instruction on summary writing. In this article, we will explore various techniques and strategies for teaching summary skills, providing a comprehensive guide for educators to help their students become proficient in summarizing.

Teaching Summary Writing: A Guide to Mastering this Essential Skill

In today’s fast-paced world, being able to summarize information effectively is a necessary skill. From education to the workplace, summarizing is used to condense large amounts of information into bite-sized chunks that are easier to understand and remember. However, many students and employees struggle with summary writing, often leading to frustration and lack of success. That is why it is crucial for teachers and employers to provide proper instruction on summary writing in order to help individuals master this essential skill.

What is Summary Writing?

Summary writing is the process of identifying and condensing the main points, ideas, and arguments of a piece of text into a shorter version. This shortened version should capture the essence of the original text and present it in a concise and clear manner. Summaries are useful in a variety of situations, such as note-taking, study guides, and business reports.

Why Teach Summary Writing?

As mentioned earlier, summary writing is a valuable skill in today’s fast-paced world. Whether it’s for academic or professional purposes, the ability to summarize information accurately and effectively is highly sought after. It not only helps in better understanding the material but also saves time when researching and reviewing information. In addition, mastering summary writing can improve critical thinking skills, as it requires identifying key points and arguments within a larger context.

Steps for Teaching Summary Writing

1. Introduce Your Students/Employees to the Concept of Summary Writing:

The first step in teaching summary writing is to make sure everyone understands what it is and why it is essential. Provide examples of summaries and discuss when and why they are used. You can also share real-world examples, such as news articles or business reports, to demonstrate the practical application of summary writing.

2. Teach Effective Reading Skills:

In order to write a good summary, one must be able to read and understand the material. Therefore, it is crucial to teach effective reading skills, such as skimming, scanning, and note-taking. These skills will help students/employees identify key points and important information when reading a piece of text.

3. Identify the Main Points:

The next step is to teach how to identify the main points of a text. This involves analyzing the content and identifying the most important ideas, arguments, and evidence presented. It is essential to emphasize the difference between main points and supporting details, as this will help in creating a concise summary.

4. Summarize Each Paragraph/Section:

Once the main points are identified, the next step is to summarize each paragraph or section of the text. This involves condensing the information into a shorter version while maintaining the original meaning. It is necessary to use one’s own words and avoid copying phrases or sentences directly from the original text.

5. Connect the Main Points:

After summarizing each paragraph/section, it is crucial to connect the main points to create a coherent and well-structured summary. This can be done by using transition words and phrases, such as “in addition,” “however,” or “furthermore,” to show the relationship between different ideas and arguments.

6. Edit and Revise:

Finally, it is crucial to teach the importance of editing and revising the summary before final submission. This entails checking for grammar, spelling, and punctuation errors, as well as ensuring the summary accurately conveys the main points of the original text.

Tips for Effective Summary Writing

In addition to the steps mentioned above, here are some tips for writing a good summary:

  • Focus on the main points and avoid including irrelevant details.
  • Use your own words and avoid plagiarism.
  • Include key arguments and evidence to support them.
  • Maintain a neutral tone and do not express personal opinions.
  • Avoid changing the meaning of the original text.
  • Keep the summary concise and to the point.

Using a Lesson Plan to Teach Summary Writing

A well-structured lesson plan can be a useful tool in teaching summary writing. Here is an example of a simple lesson plan that can be used:

Objective: Students/Employees will be able to summarize the main points of a text effectively.
Materials: A short text (can be from a textbook or a news article).
  1. Introduce the concept of summary writing and discuss its importance.
  2. Provide examples of summaries and discuss when and why they are used.
  3. Distribute the chosen text and ask students/employees to read it silently.
  4. Identify the main points of the text as a class.
  5. Summarize each paragraph/section of the text as a class.
  6. Connect the main points to create a coherent summary.
  7. Allow students/employees to work in pairs to practice summarizing another text.
  8. Share the summaries with the class and discuss any issues or questions that arise.
  9. Provide feedback and encourage students/employees to revise their summaries if needed.
Assessment: Observe students/employees during the lesson and provide constructive feedback on their summaries. You can also ask them to write a short summary as homework and provide written feedback.


In today’s fast-paced world, being able to summarize information effectively is a necessary skill. Whether it’s for academic or professional purposes, mastering summary writing can lead to better understanding of the material, improved critical thinking skills, and time-saving in research and review. By following the steps and tips mentioned in this guide, along with providing effective instruction and practice, one can master the essential skill of summary writing.

Link: How to Teach Summary Writing

In conclusion, learning how to write effective summaries is a crucial skill for students to master. With the right guidance and instruction, anyone can become a proficient summary writer. By implementing step-by-step techniques, such as identifying key points and using concise language, students can greatly improve their ability to produce clear and concise summaries. Furthermore, by incorporating strategies like frequent practice and peer review, teachers can create a more engaging and effective learning environment for their students. As we have seen, summary writing instruction plays an important role in developing critical thinking skills and enhancing overall writing abilities. By providing a comprehensive guide to writing summaries and utilizing various strategies, both educators and students alike can benefit from the many benefits of mastering this essential skill. With these tips and tools, students can confidently approach any text and effectively summarize its main ideas.


  • davidwong

    David Wong is a 29-year-old educator and blogger who focuses on helping students learn in creative and interesting ways. He has a background in teaching and has been blogging since 2006. David's work has been featured on a variety of websites, including Lifehack, Dumb Little Man, and The Huffington Post.