Finding Summarizing Worksheets
Finding good summary activities can be a difficult task. It’s not that there’s any lack – the internet is full of them. It’s that very supply which makes it difficult to find what you need. After all, you only have so much time to spend fishing through six near-identical websites to find the one with the precise type of activity you need. That’s why we put together a helpful guide for finding and using summarizing activities.
Why You Need Summarizing Activities
It’s hard to learn how to summarize. The skill requires analysis and critical thinking, and these are things that not everyone is taught. Summarizing games make learning how to summarize more fun and easier. It’s much more enjoyable to learn a skill by turning it into a game. Our exercises are aimed at all ages, primarily at students. You can use these for yourself or for a class that you are teaching. We want them to be flexible so that you can adapt them for your needs.
Our Summary Writing Exercises
These activities will help you learn the basics of summarizing. Use them by yourself or in groups, whichever works best.
- The Important Thing: For this activity, you can list three important facts from the text, and then choose the most important thing of the three. This allows you to narrow down crucial points in the text and practice your critical thinking.
- Squares, Circles, Triangles: For this activity, you list four things that “square with your thinking,” three angles you disagree with, and one question circling in your head. This is good for argumentative texts, as it allows you to decide how you feel about the arguments suggested.
- Gist: Choose important questions and put them into a grid. Then, for each text, fill the grid out. This is a quick, simple way to get your thoughts going and often works as a warm up exercise.
- Headline Summary: Imagine that you are writing a headline for the text you’re summarizing. You have to get all the key points into just a few summarizing words. Brainstorming headlines for your text can really help you understand what’s important.
- Key Points: One of the simplest forms, the key points activity is simply listing the main points as bullets. Though uncomplicated, it can be surprisingly challenging.
- RAFT: The RAFT method involves choosing role, audience, form, and topic. Identify these for your main text, then change them up and rewrite the text with different ones.
- Points of View: Re-write the text to be from a different point of view. If it is argumentative, put yourself in the role of someone who might disagree, for instance. This can help you get a feel for the main points or events.
- Paragraph Summary: Take a text and condense it down to a coherent paragraph. While doing this, imagine you’re writing the description for a book jacket. Using another method to get the main points first might help.
- Inference Venn Diagram: Draw two overlapping circles. In one circle, list textual information. In the other, list background information. In the middle, put things that are both – in other words, things you inferred. This gives you a sense of what the text is discussing.
- Timeline: In sequential order, list the main events or points in the text. Laying them out along a timeline can really help you get a sense of what is being argued and when. This is particularly helpful if you are a visual learner.
Thoughts on Summary Writing
Although you now have strategies, it can still be intimidating to start out something new. Whether you’re an experienced summarizer trying to teach, or a student not sure about how to start, a little help is never amiss. Our website offers more than just these techniques. We also have more activities and a staff of professionals who can help you come up with more great ideas. Whether you’re writing or helping others write, we’re certain we have something to make your life easier.