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Summarization is a collection of strategies that support the ability to extract the core message or gist of a text, distinguish between important points and details, and express one's understanding of the gist and main points in one's own words. The hypothesized development of these skills is presented in Development Table 20.

This class of strategies corresponds to Reading Standard 2 from the Common Core State Standards.

Literature Note - Summarization

Development Table 20. Hypotheses about Development of Summarization Strategies

(oral to sentence)
Can recognize the main topic of a text or conversation.
Can apply ranking strategies based upon considering several ideas mentioned in a text or conversation and ranking them by their importance in that text.
Can state the main topic of a text or conversation by giving a word or short phrase that successfully identifies it.
(sentence to paragraph)
Can identify a statement or sentence that represents the central point of an expository paragraph (its topic sentence) or the theme or moral of a short narrative.
Can distinguish between the main point or theme of a paragraph and supporting details.
Can apply elaboration strategies by starting with a statement and finding or generating details that support it.
Can apply generalization strategies by starting with a collection of details and extracting a central idea or theme that they illustrate.
Can summarize a paragraph or other short text in a single sentence by stating its main point or theme in one’s own words.
Can explain how a particular detail supports the main point of a paragraph or other short text.
(paragraph to text)
Can identify a statement or sentence that represents the central point of an extended text (its thesis sentence).
Can identify the elements of a narrative that must be included to produce a complete and comprehensible synopsis.
Can apply analysis strategies that examine how particular points fit into the larger structure of a text.
Can summarize an extended text by stating its main points or (in the case of narrative) by giving the key plot points.
Can summarize a variety of different text types with different organizational patterns.
(text to context)
Can scan a text to identify key points and leading ideas that may not be explicitly identified as such by the structure of the text, but which emerge as important when the text is read for a particular purpose or in a particular context.
Can apply analysis strategies in which parts of a text are detached from their immediate context and examined for their relation to some externally-defined point or issue.
Can control how detailed or objective a summary is depending upon the purpose and audience.
Can write objective summaries intended to be embedded in an extended argument or exposition, and which conform to the structural and stylistic requirements of that mode of summary (no personal opinion, explicit citation of author and title, use of present tense).
(text and context to discourse)
Can identify the leading ideas and contributions of a text and distinguish them from shared knowledge common to a particular field or discourse.
Can apply analysis strategies in which attention is paid not just to the content of a text but to the provenance of the ideas it presents and the way in which that particular text uses established themes while establishing its own particular take on the subject.
Can write summaries intended to form part of a review of some larger literature, in which the selection of key information is informed by knowledge of the shared background contributed by the literature and the unique contributions of that particular source.

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