Summarize What You’ve Read

I cannot believe how quickly this month is going by… seriously! This is the second section of this series that we’ve made it through and I’m even running two days behind (shhhhh)! So, we talked about planning for studying and now we’re on the final post of talking about how to read while studying. So far, we have learned a couple of methods/strategies for reading more effectively. And here is one more:

Summarize what you’ve read

Reason One: Better Grades

After reading each page/section of your assigned reading, write a 3 sentence summary that describes the main points. In this study, there were 5 groups of students who used different studying techniques to take the same amount of notes from a chapter. Then they were tested on their knowledge of the reading. The students who summarized their reading scored the highest on tests given the same day and a week later!

Reason Two: Boosts Learning

Summarization boosts learning and retention because it uses higher-level thinking… And if you’re an education major, you know what a big deal that is! If you aren’t an education major, it basically means this: Students (you and me) learn better when we have to evaluate material and create something ourselves: A paper, a speech, a project. And when we write a summary, we are evaluating the information from the textbook and using our own words to create that summary!

Three: Develops Skills

Summarization helps us locate and organize the important information within a text. Sounds kind of like a graphic organizer, right? That’s because graphic organizers are designed to walk us through the steps of summarizing the important points in our reading! Because, once again, we are not reading textbooks start-to-finish. Instead, we are basically reading them like outlines… looking for the pertinent information and ignoring all of the “filler sentences” that are all around it!

So, HOW do we summarize things? Maybe no one ever taught you to summarize your reading. If that’s the case, here are some printable worksheets that can help you out! They are also super handy for bringing to class discussions because, you know, sometimes you forget what you read by the time you get to class!

This graphic organizer guides you by asking relevant questions about the reading questions
(good if you don’t have much experience with summarizing)

This graphic organizer helps you summarize a section or page by breaking down the information
(good if there is a lot of content to remember)

This graphic organizer helps you summarize each paragraph in order to determine the main idea
(good if you are struggling with the content itself)

This graphic organizer helps you find evidence of the main idea in your reading
(good for quick references in class discussions)

To sum it all up, summaries are totally awesome! 🙂
(I know that’s totally lame but, thanks to Columbus Day, this is technically my Monday).

Did anyone ever teach you about summarizing? Do you summarize your reading now? If so, does it help?

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