A summary tells the important parts of a book without including unimportant details. Sometimes it is hard to decide what is important to include in a summary and what can be left out. When summarizing, it is helpful to identify the important parts in the beginning, middle, and end of the book.

Helpful hints for learning to summarize  

  • Read the summaries on the backs or inside flaps of books. Notice how they sound and what the author included or left out. Try to make your summaries sound like these published authors.
  • Summarize the story across your hand. Hold up one finger for each part. If you start to run out of fingers before you get to the end, you are probably telling too many details! Try using a starting word for each finger: “First…next….in the middle….then….finally.”
  • Can you tell the important parts of a story in two or three sentences? Try using this format: “This book was about ____________. First [the characters] wanted _________. Then ________ [what they did], and finally ___________ [the solution.]”

To learn more helpful hints about summarizing, download the guide.