Summarization Activities

Instructor: Matthew Hamel

Matt has degrees in Journalism and Business and has taught a variety of courses at high schools and universities around the world.

Summarizing is an important skill to have for a variety of academic disciplines. This lesson provides summarization activities teachers can use with middle and high school students.

Summarization Activities

Summarizing a text can seem like a daunting task, particularly when the text being summarized is lengthy or contains difficult vocabulary. However, with the use of a few tried and tested tools, summarizing can be simplified. The following activities are designed to enable students to confidently and accurately summarize a source.

The Five Ws

As students read a text, they highlight any sentence or phrase that answers or relates to one of the five Ws, namely:

  • Who - names of people
  • What - events
  • When - dates
  • Where - locations
  • Why - reasons and explanations

If possible, students should highlight each W with a different color pen. You can also have the class highlight the same text and then discuss how many of each W was found. This activity works especially well with longer sources because it allows students to keep an organized inventory of key information.

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