Поиск

Skim and summarize

Skimming is a form of rapid reading for finding the general idea - or gist - of a passage or a book.

When you skim, you have a general

question in mind, something you need or want to know about the text, such as:

  • What is the general meaning?

  • Does this agree with what I already know about this subject?

  • What is the writer's opinion?

  • Will this information be useful to me?

Your eyes should move very quickly as you skim and should focus only on the words or sentences that will answer your questions. Often these are found in the beginning and ending paragraphs, and in the first sentences of the other paragraphs.


Skimming is especially useful when you need to do research, since it allows you to look quickly through lots of material to get a general idea of the content and to decide if it is relevant for your purposes.

Skimming exercise
.pdf
Download PDF • 118KB
 

Summarizing what you have read is another strategy for learning and remembering the ideas. This means rewriting the important parts in a much shorter form, using some words from the text and some of your own words.


Summarizing is especially useful for:

  • Reviewing and memorizing information in textbooks for exams;

  • Preparing information or ideas from different sources so you can include them in a report or paper.

When summarizing a passage, the first step is to write a one-sentence summary of each paragraph. Then you can combine the sentences to write a summary of the whole passage.


Here come the main tips on how to summarize a paragraph:

  • Write a single, complete sentence that is much shorter than the paragraph.

  • Include the main idea and supporting facts and ideas.

  • In the summary sentence, follow the same pattern of organization as in the paragraph.

  • Do not add any facts, ideas, or opinions that are not in the paragraph.

These points relate to summaries of a whole passage:

  • Read the passage all the way to the end and mark the overall thesis and the supporting points.

  • Determine the overall pattern of organization.

  • Write a one-sentence summary of each paragraph.

  • Write a short paragraph by combining the summary sentences of the paragraphs (with any necessary changes to connect them).

  • The main idea of the summary paragraph should be similar to the thesis of the whole passage and the pattern of organization should be the same as the overall pattern of the passage.

When you summarize a long passage (more than four or five paragraphs), you need to add an additional step:

  • Read the passage all the way to the end and mark the main points (including the thesis and the supporting points).

  • Determine the overall pattern of organization.

  • Divide the passage into parts. Each part should match a supporting point and may include several paragraphs. (In textbooks, the chapters are usually already divided into subsections or parts.)

  • Write a summary sentence for each part.

  • Write a paragraph that combines the summary sentences (with any necessary changes to connect them).

  • The main idea of the summary paragraph should be the same as the thesis of the original passage, and the pattern of organization should be the same.

(!) Only the most important ideas and supporting points of the original passage should be included in a summary paragraph. It should not include minor details or your own opinions or ideas. Above all, it should be much shorter than the original.

Summarizing exercise
.pdf
Download PDF • 73KB