Wednesday, November 2, 2011


Question: What is one method for learning to summarize?

Answer/Quote: “Implicit within the ability to think on higher levels with text is the ability to summarize main points. Since many basic readers have not had systematic practice with recognizing the top-level structure of a text, they tend to focus on subordinate details to the exclusion of central ideas. Brown and Day’s (1983) rules for summarizing can be used to instruct students explicitly in how to focus on key points. (1) delete trivial and redundant information; (2) provide superordinate terms for lists of items or actions, and (3) select or invent topic sentences.”

Comment: According to this article, the key to summarizing is to identify the main points in the article or chapter. Of course those main points will appear in the title, the sub-titles, the first and last paragraphs and the first sentence of intermediate paragraphs. That is what is meant by the “top-down” structure of [expository] text. RayS.

Title: “Developing a Critical Stance Toward Text Through Reading, Writing and Speaking.” HA Spire, et al. Journal of Reading (October 1993), 114-122.

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