Is your secondary school child facing difficulties with summary writing? Does he complain about how difficult it is? Well, you have come to the right place!
Summary writing is an advanced writing skill which tests a student’s ability to extract and reorganise information as well as manipulate vocabulary and sentence structure. It is no wonder that he or she finds summary writing challenging. A deficiency in any of the above mentioned skills will pose obstacles to successful task completion.
Over at Adam Khoo Learning Centre, we believe in breaking down complicated concepts and skills into bite-size, manageable and most importantly, easy-to-remember strategies. May we present our acronymic summary strategy:
What does it stand for?
Does it have to follow that order?
Yes and no. Allow us to explain. This is the recommended order in which your child should go about completing his or her summary task. Alternatively, steps 4 & 5 are interchangeable, depending on which order your child prefers to do it. In fact, they can do both steps simultaneously if they have a good grasp of sentence and paragraph structures as well as an extensive knowledge of synonyms!
Here are the elaborations for each step. Get your child to read this!
Identify question requirements
Look at the question and ask yourself these questions:
- What is the question looking for?
- What are the conditions for a point to prove relevant or irrelevant?
- Which paragraphs should I look at?
*Hint: It’s a good idea to write down the topics that the question wants you to cover above the page containing the relevant paragraphs itself. In this way, you will not need to keep turning back and forth to refer to the question.
Find & Locate
What should you find and locate next? All the relevant points, of course! Look out for at least 8 points, so you know that you’ve fulfilled the marks for content. When looking at a phrase or sentence and determining whether you should include it in your summary, ask yourself these questions:
- Is this phrase/sentence a main point, an elaboration or an example?
- If it’s an elaboration, will including it in my summary explain the main point better?
- If it’s an example, is it important enough to place in my summary?
Think of this step as visiting the various aisle in the supermarket to shop for ingredients!
Identify key words
Key words are mainly the minimal number of words you need to extract in order to preserve the meaning of a sentence. These include nouns, verbs, adjectives, adverbs and conjunctions. Extracting key words helps a great deal because it makes it easier for you to see whether you can rephrase them into a new sentence or whether you need to replace any of the words!
Think of this step as extracting all the necessary ingredients from the fridge to make a good meal!
It’s exactly what it says! Rephrasing contributes to 2 points out of your total of 15 points, so don’t miss out on this! Play around with the keywords you’ve extracted from the previous step and think about whether combining 2 or more sentences helps to explain the paragraph better. If not, avoid combining sentences if it will result in changing the original meaning intended!
Think of this step as arranging the order as to which dish will be cooked and served first!
*Hint: A good rephrasing technique is to change the sentence’s verb to its continuous form and place it at the beginning of your sentence!
Yup! Transforming, also known as “looking for a synonym”, has stumped pupils ever since time immemorial! What you need is a strong vocabulary base to draw out words and use them to replace words you’ve copied directly from the passage. So don’t forget to read whenever you’re free! Reading widens one’s semantic store. So once again, remember this step contributes to 2 points out of your total of 15 points.
Think of this step as the actual cooking process. When you cook the ingredients, their taste, texture and colour all transform!
*Hint: A good way to test whether your synonym works is to put the word back in the sentence again and read it to yourself. If the sentence makes sense structurally and its meaning is preserved, congratulations!
If it doesn’t, be on the safe side and use the original word instead!
We hope that this sharing of one of our the key strategies we teach here gives your child more confidence the next time he or she tackles their exams. Fight on, summary warriors!
To find out how we can help your child more, sign up for a free trial class here!