Examples of possible structures for the first sentence of a summary:


a)      In his/her article ________, (author’s name) verb (e.g., explains, details, introduces, tells, justifies, assumes, theorizes, hypothesizes) + general statement of the article.

b)      (Author’s name) + Verb + general statement + in (article title).

c)      In (article title) by (author’s name), general statement + passive verb.

d)      In (article title), (author’s name) + verb + general statement.


Summary Example


Summary of Weschler’s Functional-Translation Method


     In his article, “Uses of Japanese (L1) in the English Classroom:  Introducing the Functional-Translation Method,” Robert Weschler postulates that the short-comings of the grammar-translation method and the inadequacies of communicative methods deem it necessary to examine the effectiveness of combining these methods.  The author proposes a “hybrid” method, termed the “Functional-Translation Method.”  Weschler insinuates that the grammar-translation method results in grammatically inaccurate reproduction of target language sentence structures.  However, the widely accepted solution of forbidding the use of L1 in L2 teaching, not only simplifies the remedy, but creates additional complications for L2 acquisition.  

     The article begins with a brief historical background of the grammar-translation method and the move to more communicative methods.  The argument follows that the criticisms of each method are a misdiagnosis.  An analysis and reply to the misdiagnosis forms the basic support for the hybrid, functional-translation method.  Since L1 interference is likely to occur among adult L2 learners (and especially in an EFL class), the use of L1 in the L2 classroom should not be an added hindrance to language acquisition for the student.   However, word for word translations may influence learners to produce non-native like sentences and phrases in L2.  Therefore, using L1 to help learners understand chunks of language and social-functional meanings of L2 phrases becomes a logical solution in EFL classes.

     The author provides suggestions for the types of language to be translated.  He also advises teachers to use task-based materials such as, “holistic listening exercises, jigsaw puzzles, warm-up brainstorming templates in both the L1 and L2, idea cluster charts, role plays and information gaps” (p.14).  The article details several activities and provides ideas for further research.


The article that is summarized is “Uses of Japanese (L1) in the English Classroom:  Introducing the Functional-Translation Method,” by Robert Weschler and is available at: http://iteslj.org/Articles/Weschler-UsingL1.html



Suggested reading for writing summaries and assigning them to students:


Writing Summaries



The Summary



Three Types of Summary: A Guide to Writing Summary



Paraphrase and Summary



Less Is More: Summary Writing and Sentence Structure in the Advanced ESL Classroom

by George L. Greaney




English Writing Program for Engineering Students by Hui Mien Tan


Writing Resources


Advice on Academic Writing


Paraphrase: Write it in Your Own Words