Question: How do students summarize?
Answer: Students generally were able to recognize good summaries. They had a more difficult time producing good summaries.
Example of how one student produced a good summary:
--My big job was to decide which of the ideas were important and which weren’t as important. I reread the article and underlined the important parts I wanted to use in my summary.
--I didn’t underline little details .
--When I started to write, I combined things.
--I kept looking for sentences the author wrote that were good topic sentences for the paragraphs. I didn’t find any real good ones, so wrote some. I divided this thing into three parts—one part about the rocks from space, one part about their danger, and one part about protection—and I wrote my own topic sentences.
--This is my final summary…
“Meteoroids, meteors, and meteorites are all pieces of rock or metal moving in space. The flash of light from a burning meteoroid near earth is a meteor. A meteoroid piece that hits earth is a meteorite. Meteoroids make holes in spacecrafts. Protection for the spacecraft and people inside may come from self-sealing skins.”
Comment: Interesting view of how to produce a good summary. It might always be interesting when students produce a product that is considered good to ask them how they did it. RayS.
Title: “Multiple Measures of Text Summarization Proficiency:: What Can Fifth-grade Students Do?” R Garner, et al. Research in the Teaching of English (May 1985), 140-153.