Compose a summary of the article “Learning to Read.” (250-500 words)

First, review the notes about summaries. (If you are good at writing summary and critical response, you can ignore it)

Then, read the article titled, “Learning to Read” (file upload)

Last, compose a summary and response of the article “Learning to Read.” [based on what you have learned about writing summaries form the notes.]


A good summary:

  • Reports the overall topic right away (see list of reporting verbs below)
  • Begins with the name of the essay and the author
  • Is written in present tense
  • Gives the main points covered in the text
  • Includes supporting details as needed depending upon the length and depth of the summary desired
  • Mentions any important conclusions drawn
  • Uses language that shows the information is being reported on rather than being provided by the writer himself or herself
    • The article covers
    • The article is about
    • The author of the article mentions
    • The author discusses

Good summaries usually do not:

  • include your own opinion about the text unless you have been asked to do so
  • use quotes from the original text
  • exceed half the length of the original text

Reporting Verbs:

When writing a summary, it is very important to make it clear that you are describing the ideas in the text, not your own ideas. The use of reporting verbs shows that you are reporting on someone else’s (the author’s) ideas. Below are some reporting verbs that you might use:

The article

  • presents
  • reports on
  • deals with
  • focuses on
  • examines
  • covers
  • describes
  • addresses

The author

  • states
  • claims
  • argues
  • criticizes
  • describes
  • concluded with the idea
  • concluded by saying

The researchers

  • state
  • claim
  • report

  • A good critique will consider the following questions

    • Who is the author, and what are his/her qualifications?
    • What is the nature of the work (type, purpose, intended audience)?
    • What is its significance? How does it compare to other material on the same subject? By the same author?
    • What is the author’s thesis?
    • What is the organizational plan or method? Is it well conceived? Does it achieve the author’s objectives?
    • What are the underlying assumptions? Are they stated or do they lurk behind a stance of neutrality and objectivity?
    • How do assumptions and biases affect the validity of the piece?
    • Are arguments/statements supported by evidence? Is the evidence relevant? Sufficient?
    • Is the author’s methodology sound?
    • What evidence or ideas has the author failed to consider?
    • Are the author’s judgments and conclusions valid?
    • What rhetorical strategies does the author use? Are they effective?

    A word about the thesis statement

    Remember that no matter what format you follow in writing your critical analysis, it should have a thesis statement that establishes your approach to or opinion about the piece. Your thesis statement will not be the same as the original author’s thesis statement. For example, say that the original author’s thesis statement is “the moon is made of green cheese.” Your own thesis might be “the author’s assertion that the moon is made of green cheese is ill-founded and is not supported with adequate evidence.”