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    • Summarizing Strategies
    • Graphic Organizers
    • Checklist for Analysis of an Argument

    Summarizing Strategies

    The Important Thing Summary

    This summarizing strategy uses main ideas from a passage.

    • The important thing about (TOPIC) is (author’s point.) Main idea sentence. Main idea sentence. Main idea sentence. The important thing about (topic) is (author’s point.)

    Note: there may be more or fewer main idea sentences depending upon the structure of the reading.Here is an example:

    • The important thing about the Writing Process is that it has four steps. Begin by prewriting to get your ideas down. Focus yourself and compose your rough draft. Next, proofread and edit your work. Last, revise. You can repeat these last two steps until you are satisfied with your work, or at least can say “it’s good enough!” The important thing about the Writing Process is that it has four steps.

    The Sentence Summary

    A sentence summary is a method of summarizing where you sum up a text or section of text in only one sentence. This works best with a paragraph or shorter text.The sentence you write should reflect the author’s point in the section you are summarizing.

    Sentence Summary Frames for Common Text Structures

    • Description/Definition:
      • A __________________ is a kind of _______________ that…
    • Compare/Contrast:
      • ___x____ and ____y___ are similar in that they both…, but ___x___…, while ___y____…
    • Sequence:
      • _________ begins with…, continues with… ends with
    • Problem-Solution:
      • _________ wanted…, but…., so…
    • Cause/Effect:
      • _________ happens because….

    Variation on the Sentence Summary

    For longer texts, use the sentence summary strategy to develop a summary sentence for each paragraph or section. Assemble these sentences together with appropriate transitions to form a coherent summary paragraph.

    Bulleted List Summary

    Bulleted lists are commonly used in slide presentations, articles, to do lists, and they are an efficient way to notate textual material for later review.

    This is a bulleted list.

    • Topic
    • Important Point
    • Important Point
    • Important Point
    • Etc.

    Microsoft Word and Google Docs offer a number of options for bullet point styles.

    You may notice bulleted lists are used extensively in this text.

    The Inference Summary

    An inference is an informed assumption you make based upon the combination of information you are given (text, speech, visuals) and your own experience.

    Try this strategy to develop an Inference Summary of a text. Take notes using the structure shown in the table below. Then summarize this information in a paragraph. This example only uses one excerpt, but typically you should use several excerpts.

    Title:Why Do People Deny Science?Author: Judith Shulevitz

    The New Republic, Oct 21, 2013

    Pages/Chapter/Section: p. 16

    What the text says

    What I think this means

    My response

    “The urge to maintain status within one’s social network is so powerful, Kahan told me, that well-educated people will use their information-gathering and computational skills to marshal a more impressive body of evidence in support of whatever identity it is (freethinking skeptic, caring mother hen) that earns them brownie points in their troop.”

    The researcher Shulevitz interviewed notes that people use their intelligence to support their existing views rather than to objectively understand the topic, in this case, climate change.

    This explains so much of what happens and does not happen on facebook – why it is that nobody ever successfully persuades another person on social media to change their view on a subject.


    In the article, “Why Do People Deny Science,” New Republic science editor, Judith Shulevitz, attempts to explain why it is that people are denying what science tells us about things like climate change. She reports the work of Yale psychologist, Daniel Kanehman, who notes that people tend to disregard objectively viewing the body of scientific research, instead choosing to pay attention to that research which support their existing views in order to “fit in.”

    Graphic Organizers

    The Frayer Model

    The Frayer Model is a type of graphic organizer used for developing definitions of entire concepts or of individual vocabulary terms. Make these on a large index card or half sheet of paper.

    You can find a really great template for the Frayer Model here:


    Topic or Chapter Title

      1. Introduction
        1. Focus Statement/thesis:
          1. Main Points (as outlined in the thesis statement):
          2. Body Paragraphs (based on main points)
              1. Details and examples
      2. Conclusion

    MS Word has automated numbering options to help you to set up this kind of outline.


    You can find templates and examples for mapping online. It’s best to use your own system though. One word of caution with mapping – it can be messy! Plan on making more than one draft of your map.


    The best method for graphing Comparison and Contrast is a Venn diagram. You can find a good one here:

    Checklist for Analysis Of An Argument

    Follow these steps to effectively analyze an argument. Write full sentences for each item on the checklist.

    1. imageIdentify Author’s Thesis – A direct statement of Author’s Point/Argument. (Or was this an inferred main idea?)
    2. imageSupporting Details – How did the author support this point? Opinions, facts, statistics, persuasive language, testimony, etc.
    3. imageDetermine structure and pattern of organization.
    4. imageIdentify the author’s Worldview, Purpose, and Intended Audience.
    5. imageIdentify the Author’s Tone and give examples.
    6. imageIdentify any Evidence of Bias, or Objectivity.
    7. imageIdentify Facts/Opinions
    8. image Evaluate 2-3 facts.
    9. image Make reasonable inferences, and explain what those are.
    10. imageReflect/Connect to the ideas presented.
    11. imageWas argument effective?  If not, what would have made it more effective?
    12. imageForm your opinion.
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