1.5 – Summary Writing

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In this lesson, you will learn about summarizing main ideas into a single sentence.

Summary Writing

Summarizing information is an important part of your educational experience. It not only helps you understand passages and texts more thoroughly, but it also helps you condense and convey important information to others.

A summary should be as objective as possible, only representing the writer's main points without details.

One-Sentence Summary

A one-sentence summary is a single statement that can either express the main idea of a passage or the main idea of paragraphs. In one sentence, refer to the title of the article, write the author’s full name, and the main idea. If you do not know the author's name, just use "author".

Note the use of commas.


In his article, “Beyond Education,” John Barns discusses the importance of teaching students how to handle life’s successes as well as life’s failures.

In the first paragraph of "Global Disaster," Jim Miser argues that when ecology becomes off balance, natural disaster begin to increase.

In the first section of the article, “We All Need a Hero,” the author describes a hero as someone who uses their abilities to rescue needy people and fight for the good.

Identifying the Main idea

When summarizing a passage, first read the passage.  Locate the thesis statement and the topic sentences. Then compare them to the conclusion.  From this, you should be able to identify the main idea of the passage.

When summarizing a paragraph, locate the topic sentence and compare it with the supporting sentences.

Things to remember when writing a summary

  1. Use your own words (Do not copy)
  2. Restate only the main ideas (No details)
  3. Do not include your ideas or opinions
  4. Vary your tags so you don't bore your readers (according to..., argues..., states..., refers to..., etc.)
  5. Include writer's full name, and refer to source


In the last lesson you read the article, "5 Effects of Poverty."  In this lesson quiz you will write a one-sentence summary on each of the 5 effects: Malnutrition, Health, Economy, Education, and Society.

*Allow 48 hours for grading.

Scoring Rubric for  One-Sentence Summaries

  • Clear reference to source
  • Reference to author’s full name
  • Does not contain supporting details
  • Sentence is logical and flows smoothly
  • Only contains one sentence
  • Main idea is restated clearly
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