Home > Strategies and Skill Development > Discourse Strategy Families > Summarization > Literature Note - Summarization

Summarizing, as we view it, is both a method for consolidating knowledge from reading (by forcing self-explanation and expression of ideas) and a method for expressing what one knows about a specific topic or source for inclusion in a longer text. Summarization is closely connected to a key reading skill, extraction of the main idea from a text (Williams, 1988), and there is considerable evidence that summarization both measures and encourages reading comprehension (Armbruster, Anderson, & Ostertag, 1989; Bean & Steenwyk, 1984; Duke & Pearson, 2002; Friend, 2001; Hill, 1991; Pressley, 2002; Taylor, 1982; Theide & Anderson, 2003). But the development of summarization skill is not something to be taken for granted and generally requires explicit instruction if all students are to develop effective summarization strategies (Anderson & Hidi 1988/1989; Brown & Day, 1983; Brown, Day, & Jones, 1983; Hidi & Anderson, 1986; Kirkland & Saunders, 1991). Summarization is one of a small set of target strategies known to improve writing quality (Graham & Perin, 2007) and is one of the more important task types for academic writing (Bridgeman & Carlson, 1984).

Anderson, V., & Hidi, S. (1988/1989). Teaching students to summarize. Educational Leadership, 46, 26-28.

Armbruster, B. B., Anderson, T. H., & Ostertag, J. (1989). Teaching text structure to improve reading and writing. Reading Research Quarterly, 22, 331-346.

Bean, T. W., & Steenwyk, F. L. (1984). The effect of three forms of summarization instruction on sixth-graders' summary writing and comprehension. Journal of Reading Behavior 16(4), 297-306.

Bridgeman, B., & Carlson, S. B. (1984). Survey of academic writing tasks. Written Communication 1(2), 247-280.

Brown, A. L., & Day, J. D. (1983). Macrorules for summarizing texts: the development of expertise. Journal of Verbal Learning and Verbal Behavior 22(1), 1-14.

Brown, A. L., Day, J. D., & Jones, R. S. (1983). The development of plans for summarizing texts. Child Development, 54, 968-979.

Duke, N. K., & Pearson, P. D. (2002). Effective practices for developing reading comprehension. In A. E. Farstrup & S. J. Samuels (Eds.), What research has to say about reading instruction (pp. 205-242). Newark, DE: International Reading Association.

Friend, R. (2001). Effects of strategy instruction on summary writing of college students. Contemporary Educational Psychology 26(1), 3-24

Graham, S., & Perin, D. 2007. A meta-analysis of writing instruction for adolescent students. Journal of Educational Psychology 99(3), 445-476.

Hidi, S., & Anderson, V. (1986). Producing written summaries: Task demands, cognitive operations, and implications for instruction. Review of Educational Research, 56, 473-493.

Hill, M. (1991). Writing summaries promotes thinking and learning across the curriculum -- but why are they so difficult to write? Journal of Reading 34(7), 536-639.

Kirkland, M. R., & Saunders, M. A. P. (1991). Maximizing student performance in summary writing: Managing cognitive load. TESOL Quarterly, 25, 105–121.

Pressley, M. (2002). Metacognition and self-regulated comprehension. In A. E. Farstrup, & S. Samuels (Eds.), What research has to say about reading instruction (pp. 291-309). Newark, DE: International Reading Association.

Taylor, B. M. (1982). A summarizing strategy to improve middle grade students' reading and writing skills. The Reading Teacher, 36, 202-205.

Theide, K. W., & Anderson, M. C. M. (2003). Summarizing can improve metacomprehension accuracy. Educational Psychology 28(2), 129-160.

Williams, J. P. (1988). Identifying main ideas: A basic aspect of reading comprehension. Topics in Language Disorders 8(3), 1-13.

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