Summary Assignment Guidelines
For this assignment, you will be doing the following:
- Read and annotate the assigned essay
- Write a 250-350 word summary using the notes you took on the essay.
Remember these guidelines as you draft and revise:
- Your first or second sentence must identify the author’s name, essay title in quotation marks, and the author’s thesis (paraphrased).
- Use transitions. Transitions create fluidity, walking your reader through the ideas the same way you’d provide directions to your house (for example: First you go through the stoplight, then you turn onto Stony Point, after which you’ll pass a church on your right.” The difference here is that you’re walking your reader through the path of the author’s argument. Transitions also help your reader to understand the organizational pattern of the essay you’re summarizing.
- Always remind your reader that these are the AUTHOR’s ideas, not your ideas. You do this by inserting reminders every other sentence or so. For example, use signal phrases such as: He said, or He also argues, etc
- Vary your word choice. If you keep writing “He says” or “She states,” try a different introductory verb, like “He argues” or “He asserts.”
- Make sure ALL the sentences are in your own words. No quoting the author unless it is absolutely necessary (for example, maybe the author uses an unusual phrase or has created a new term for something that you can’t put in your own words).
- Identify only the main ideas. Stay away from supporting evidence and minor details. Your purpose is to CONDENSE the article down to what is basically an outline of its major ideas.
- Proofread before you submit your summary.