Are you struggling with summarizing texts? Summarizing is an essential skill that helps you understand the main ideas and supporting details in a text. It also helps you remember the key points and communicate them to others. However, summarizing can be tricky, especially for beginner readers.

In this article, we will discuss the dos and don’ts of summarizing texts to help you become a more effective reader and communicator.

Firstly, it’s important to understand the purpose of summarizing texts. Summarizing allows you to condense a longer piece of writing into a shorter, more manageable form. It helps you identify the most important information and present it in a clear and concise way.

However, summarizing is not just about shortening a text. It also involves analyzing and evaluating the information, identifying the main ideas and supporting details, and interpreting the author’s message. By summarizing texts, you can improve your comprehension, critical thinking, and communication skills.

So, let’s dive in and discover the dos and don’ts of summarizing texts for beginner readers.

Understand the Purpose of Summarizing Texts

Let’s dig into the reasons why we condense information from written works into shorter versions. The purpose of summarizing texts is to provide readers with a quick and concise understanding of the main points without having to read the entire piece.

This is especially helpful for beginner readers who may struggle to comprehend longer texts. Summaries allow them to grasp the essential ideas and information while building their reading skills.

Providing a summary also allows readers to quickly decide if the piece is relevant to their needs, interests, or research. By providing a clear and concise summary, readers can determine if they need to read the entire text or move on to another source.

Summarizing texts also helps in retaining important information from the text. By condensing the information, readers can focus on the key points, which they’re more likely to remember.

Identify the Main Ideas and Supporting Details

You need to identify the main ideas and supporting details when summarizing, and it’s important to make sure you understand the most important points and what evidence supports them.

Start by reading the text and highlighting the main ideas. These are the most important points that the author is trying to convey and should be included in your summary.

Supporting details, on the other hand, are the evidence the author uses to support their main ideas. They’re important to include in your summary because they help to explain and reinforce the main ideas.

To identify main ideas and supporting details, you can follow these steps:

– Read the text carefully and identify the topic.
– Look for the main idea of each paragraph or section.
– Identify the supporting details that help to explain the main ideas.
– Use your own words to summarize the main ideas and supporting details.

By following these steps, you can ensure that your summary is accurate and includes all the important information from the text. Remember to focus on the main ideas and supporting details, and use your own words to summarize them.

Avoid Plagiarism and Over-Summarizing

It’s important to be mindful of plagiarism and over-summarizing when summarizing information, as it can misrepresent the original author’s work and discredit your own writing.

Plagiarism occurs when you copy someone else’s words or ideas without giving them proper credit. When summarizing, it’s crucial to put the information into your own words and to cite any sources you use. This not only avoids plagiarism but also gives credit to the original author.

Over-summarizing is also something to avoid when summarizing. This happens when you include too much information from the original text, making your summary almost as long as the original text itself. To avoid this, focus on the main ideas and supporting details of the text and leave out any unnecessary information.

Your summary should be concise and to the point, giving the reader a clear understanding of the text without overwhelming them with too much information. By avoiding plagiarism and over-summarizing, your summary will accurately represent the original text and showcase your own writing skills.

Use Your Own Words and Style

Using your own words and style when summarizing is essential to showcase your understanding of the text and your writing abilities. It’s important to remember that summarizing is not just about condensing the text, but also about presenting it in a clear and concise manner.

To do this effectively, you need to use language and phrasing that is unique to you. When summarizing a text, try to put yourself in the shoes of the reader and think about what they would want to know.

Use your own words to convey the main ideas and key points of the text, but be sure to maintain the original tone and intention of the author. Additionally, don’t be afraid to inject your own style and personality into your summary. This will make it more engaging and help the reader connect with the text on a deeper level.

By using your own words and style, you’ll not only demonstrate your comprehension of the text but also showcase your writing abilities.

Practice Summarizing Different Types of Texts

Get ready to put your summarizing skills to the test by practicing with a variety of texts. Summarizing different types of texts can help you become more comfortable with identifying the main ideas and key points, as well as adapting your writing style to match the tone and purpose of the original text.

Here are three types of texts you can practice summarizing:

1. News articles: These articles often have a clear structure and are written in a straightforward style. Look for the main idea in the headline and the first paragraph, then summarize the key points in the rest of the article.

2. Academic papers: These papers can be more challenging to summarize, as they often contain technical language and complex arguments. Focus on the introduction and conclusion to identify the main argument and key findings, and use your own words to explain them.

3. Short stories: These texts are often more subjective, and require you to look beyond the plot to identify the themes and messages conveyed by the author. Look for the characters’ motivations and the author’s use of language to summarize the main ideas and key points in your own words and style.

By practicing summarizing different types of texts, you can become a more confident and skilled summarizer. Remember to use your own words and style, and to focus on the main ideas and key points to create a concise and effective summary.

Review and Revise Your Summaries

Reviewing and revising your summaries is important in ensuring accuracy and clarity. When it comes to peer review and feedback, be open to constructive criticism and use it to improve your work.

In terms of editing and revising techniques, try reading your summary out loud. Focus on the main ideas and look for areas where your writing can be more concise.

Peer Review and Feedback

Providing constructive criticism and feedback to one’s peers is an essential part of enhancing one’s summarization skills.

When you review a peer’s summary, it’s important to give specific feedback that highlights both the strengths and weaknesses of the summary. Be sure to mention what the summary did well, such as capturing the main idea or including important details.

Also, provide suggestions for improvement, such as clarifying unclear sentences or including more supporting details.

Remember to be respectful and provide feedback in a non-judgmental manner, as this will encourage your peer to take your feedback seriously and apply it to their future summaries.

In addition to providing feedback, it’s also important to receive feedback from your peers.

When someone gives you feedback on your summary, be open to their suggestions and take them into consideration.

It can be difficult to receive criticism, but remember that it’s a valuable tool for improving your summarization skills.

Ask questions if you don’t understand their feedback or if you need clarification on certain points.

By receiving feedback from your peers, you can identify areas where you need to improve and work on them in future summaries.

Editing and Revising Techniques

Editing and revising are crucial for improving your summarization skills and creating a polished final product that effectively communicates the main ideas and important details.

Once you’ve finished your initial summary, take some time to step back and revisit your work. Start by reading through your summary out loud to get a sense of how it flows and whether there are any awkward or unclear passages.

Look for places where you might have left out important details or failed to capture the essence of the original text. As you move into the revision stage, think about ways you can tighten up your summary and make it more concise.

Look for opportunities to use stronger verbs and eliminate unnecessary adjectives or adverbs. Consider whether you have included any redundant information or repeated ideas in different ways.

Finally, think about the tone and style of your summary. Is it appropriate for the intended audience? Have you used language that’s engaging and accessible to beginner readers?

By taking the time to carefully edit and revise your summary, you can ensure that it’s a clear, concise, and effective summary of the original text.


Congratulations! You’ve successfully learned about the dos and don’ts of summarizing texts for beginner readers.

By understanding the purpose of summarizing, identifying main ideas and supporting details, avoiding plagiarism and over-summarizing, using your own words and style, practicing with different types of texts, and reviewing and revising your summaries, you can become a proficient summarizer.

Remember to always keep your audience in mind and use language that’s appropriate for them.

With practice, you’ll be able to create concise and accurate summaries that effectively convey the key points of a text. Keep up the good work!