Summary Writing

A summary is a short statement in your own words that tells the main ideas of an article or the most important parts of a story.  A summary for an article should tell the main ideas and leave out unimportant details.  Ask yourself who, what, when and where to help you find the main ideas.  A summary for a story should tell the important parts, such as the goals of the character, how they tried to reach these goals, and whether they succeeded. 


How to Write a Summary

  1. Read the material first.

  2. Find a sentence that states the main idea. 

  3. Look for other import facts and details to add.

  4. Occasionally, you may want to quote directly from the article or passage.  Use quotations marks when you do. (do so sparingly)

  5. To summarize a long piece of writing, write the main idea of each paragraph.  Then combine these main idea sentences into a single paragraph. 


Directions:  Circle the best summary for each paragraph below.


Paragraph 2

Have you ever turned red when embarrassed or pale when frightened?  The circulation of your blood can change with your emotional state.  When you are embarrassed, signals from your brain trigger the release of hormones that cause the walls of your arteries to relax.  This relaxation allows more blood to flow into the capillaries near the surface of the skin.  As a result, the skin becomes red and hot.  Other emotions, such as fear, have the reverse effect.  The walls of the arteries contract.  Less blood than normal reaches the capillaries, and the skin grows pale. 


  1. The circulation of your blood can change with your emotional state. 

  2. Some people think that when you get embarrassed, you turn red but I do not believe in that.

  3. Your emotions can contribute to various reactions in your body.

  4. None of the above

Paragraph 3

The Saint Bernard is a breed of dog that originated in Europe.  It is believed that Roman soldiers brought a large Asian dog with them to Europe.  The Saint Bernard stands about twenty –seven inches high at the shoulder and weighs up to two hundred pounds.  In 1880 the dog got its name for the hospice of Saint Bernard of Menthon in the Alps.  Since the 1600s the dog has been used to rescue people.  It has been used to help rescue people lost in snowdrifts in the Alps. The Saint Bernard has a keen power of scent and sense of direction.  It uses these abilities to detect people and lead rescuers back to safety.  Saint Bernards have helped rescue people in dangerous situations. The have helped rescue thousands of people.  


  1. The Saint Bernard is a dog that stands about twenty-seven inches at the shoulder and weighs up to two hundred pounds.

  2. The Saint Bernard is a helpful dog.

  3. The Saint Bernard is a breed of dog that originated in Europe.

  4. They have helped to rescue thousands of people

Paragraph 4

Have you been to Yosemite National Park?  The U.S Congress created this park in 1890.  It is a magnificent park.  It was created largely because of the efforts of John Muir, the founder of the Sierra Club.  Muir was born in Scotland in 1838.  At the age of 11, his family moved to Wisconsin.  In 1867, he suffered an eye injury that left him temporarily blind.  He regained his sight after a month of blindness.  Then he decided to devote his energies to enjoying nature.  He walked from Indianapolis, Indiana, and to the Gulf of Mexico, which was some one thousand miles.  In 1868, he settled in the Yosemite Valley in California.  He herded sheep and came to love the region that he would later help to preserve.