Look and Listen... | Regardez et écoutez ...


Summarizing | Résumer

Good readers monitor their understanding and reflect on what they have read.


 Download this Reading Strategy as a PDF.

Summarizing is a reading comprehension strategy that involves understanding a text and being able to briefly state the main points or facts of that text. The reader aims to condense the key ideas or information and the major supporting details into his/her own words. A summary includes only the author’s ideas and leaves out the reader’s personal opinions or interpretations.

Summarizing encourages readers to:
  • monitor their comprehension
  • zero in on the big ideas of the text
  • differentiate between interesting and essential ideas or information
  • understand the organizational structure of texts
  • break down large selections of text into more manageable pieces or sections
  • focus on key vocabulary and phrases of a text
  • voice what is important
  • apply their decision making and analytical skills

Tips to help your child improve his/her summarizing skills.


Engage in a conversation with your child and ask him/her to summarize:
  • a program or an advertisement he/she has viewed
  • a movie, play or concert he/she has attended
  • a conversation he/she has had with a friend or a teacher
  • a passage from a text he/she is reading or has read
  • a text he/she has read in a local newspaper, magazine or online


Help your child summarize the meaning of what he/she has read:
  • have your child self monitor his/her reading comprehension
      • have him/her read material in short sections restating in his/her own words the text’s main message each step of the way
  • have your child read with a buddy or a sibling
      • have each child pause after reading a paragraph/page/chapter and have each child take turns summarizing what has been read


Help your child in determining key ideas and main points in the text:
  • have your child recall significant words, phrases, terms or expressions
    • have your child locate text features (e.g., titles | les titres, subheadings | les sous-titres, graphics such as diagrams, graphs, charts, illustrations and photographs | les graphiques tels que les diagrammes, tableaux, illustrations et photos, chapter headings | les titres de chapitres, quotes | les citations)