Dos and Don’ts in Writing a Chapter Summary

Last Updated: May 24, 2024

Dos and Don’ts in Writing a Chapter Summary

How annoying would it be when you find a seemingly good book but when you flip it on its backside it has no synopsis or summary? How are you supposed to know what the story is about when there is not even a brief summary on how the story goes? Remember in middle school when the English teacher would assign a book to read overnight and expected you to submit a chapter summary writings of the next day? For sure you didn’t even know where to start, what to write about, what should go first and what should go last. But guess what? It doesn’t end there, you are still tasked to write about chapter summaries in college and even when you’re already working your dream job.

It is an advantage if you fully understand the essence of writing a chapter summary, know which points to write, where to place them and how to discuss it briefly but clearly. It is best to know the dos and don’ts in writing a chapter summary.

Why Write a Chapter Summary?

Sometimes you neglect the fact that chapter summaries are vital to better understanding a book or a novel. A chapter summary is a condensed version of the actual chapter in a book. It’s main goal is to efficiently present the most vital information within the chapter. It gives busy readers a glimpse of how the story goes the shortest yet most informed way possible. Aside from this, it is a great way for you to practice and enhance your reading and comprehension skills as well as your summarizing skills which can be useful even after your academic years. You may also see resume summary statement

Remember that a chapter summary is not a rewrite of the whole chapter, it doesn’t have to be long. It has to be written based on your understanding, however, it doesn’t need opinions but if necessary it should be done objectively.

Dos in Writing a Chapter Summary

Before writing a chapter summary, you must first thoroughly understand what you have read. Read the material and take note of the of the highlights of the story.

1. Take note of the main theme

Ask the usual 5 Ws and 1 H questions – Who, What When, Where, Why and How. This way it is easier for you to determine the main idea of the chapter. Sometimes, the main idea of the chapter is implied or suggested, thus you need to pay close attention to the details of the whole chapter. It can also be stated in the introduction or the first part of the story. And the supporting details are later on revealed in the following paragraphs.You may also see investment summary

2. Identify the conflict

Sometimes, the conflict is internal. For example, the main character is struggling with addiction, depression or anger management issues. Often times though, the conflict is external meaning the main character is against his or her environment or another character.

3. Pick out important supporting details

The feelings and actions that support the main idea are the supporting details. The supporting details answer the questions of why and how the main character attempts to solve the conflict. The supporting details are gradually introduced in the succeeding paragraphs, however, they can be overwhelming. Pick out the most important and most relevant details that can help with the explanation of the main theme.You may also see executive summary of a report

4. Write a chapter outline

A chapter outline is a very useful tool in summarizing. Before finalizing your chapter summary, an outline will be a big help in organizing ideas in ways that is easy to comprehend. An outline will make looking for the main points in the chapter easier.

5. Be objective

When writing the chapter summary, it is apparent that you use your own words in explaining the plot based how you have understood the story. If you must, opinions and criticisms must be done objectively, basing it on how it has affected the story not how it has affected you. You may also see informative writings.

6. Brevity and clarity

Do not get carried away with the story. Explain the plot as briefly and as clearly as possible. It is not necessary to go into details, as long as the main point and important supporting details are presented clearly you’re good to go.

Dont’s in Chapter Summary Writing

1. Avoid details not included in the expository text

An expository text will focus on explaining and describing the plot of the story. It is deliberate and concise. Details not included in the expository text should not be included in the summary. The summary should be designed like an umbrella, covering only the subject and nothing beyond it. You may also see essay writings.

2. Don’t compare

Do not compare the subject to another that is beyond the information in the expository text. Other details beyond your umbrella will only make the summary complicated and hard to comprehend.

3. Avoid first and second person point of view

Using first person will eliminate the supposedly unbiased point of view while using second person will make your reader the main character of the story which is not the case at all. Using a third person point of view will ensure an unbiased and objective summary.You may also see script writings

4. Do not interject

There is no need for your interjections in making a summary, you are trying to maintain an objective point of view. Asking questions is also not advised when writing a summary, you are only to present the subject and supporting ideas of the chapter.

5. Summary, not an outline

A summary is not a list of ideas. Details have to explained in a concise but clear manner. An outline is only relevant when you are still trying to identify and segregate the main subject and its supporting details. You may also see article writings.

Chapter Summary Writing Tips

1. Read the chapter thoroughly

It is best that you read the entire chapter first before making an outline for your summary. Skimming might make you miss some of the important details of the chapter. Make sure that you have completely understood the gist and the chapter as a whole.

2. Break down ideas

For shorter texts, write one to two sentences summary of each paragraph. This will make it easier for you to combine and formulate a coherent summary. For longer texts, you should make an outline. Separate the major sections that is focused on a common topic and the main supporting points for each section. You may also see formal writings.

3. Write in column

A handy technique in summarizing is writing in two columns. The first column would be for the important information and the second for the trivial ones. You can also use the columns for the main subject and its supporting details.

4. Always write a rough draft

In any writing scenario, writing a rough draft is always the key to publishing good quality outputs. Rough drafts will save you from a lot of corrections and ensure that A+ mark. When writing your rough draft, only refer to the original to check some points and proofread your summary thoroughly. You may also see free writings.

5. Take your time

No good can come after you rush your chapter summary. Take your time to fully understand the chapter as whole. Manage your time with your reading, outlining and summarizing. Mistakes can be avoided if you have full knowledge of your chapter and you take your time into finding the important and trivial details.You may also see writing templates.

6. Use sentence variety

In order to make your summary more interesting do not focus on one sentence formation. Use a variety of sentences to avoid being boring and sounding monotonous.

7. Write an interesting title

Chapter summary titles are not limited to the conventional title for example “The Catcher in the Rye Summary: Chapter Three.” Think of a more interesting title but is suitable to the content of your summary.

Summarizing is a skill that does not come naturally. You have to continually practice it. It is a great skill to have especially if you are a wide-reader, an aspiring writer and an avid movie goer. It is a skill that teaches you how to discern and segregate important ideas with less important ones. It helps you share information more efficiently.You may also see report writings.

It may sometimes become a chore, but summarizing is a great way to practice and develop your language-processing skills. It can help improve your vocabulary as well. Aside from that, it can also improve your memory and help you remember the things that you have read.

Chapter summaries serve as an overview that helps readers get an unbiased point of view of the events and highlights within the chapter. Busy readers get a glimpse of the chapter that can spark an earnest interest in finishing the whole book.You may also see minutes writings.

If you think chapter summaries are just serious and boring writing, you’re wrong. Chapter summaries can be interesting to write and read, too. You just have to know how to play with your words and use a variety of sentences to make your chapter summary factual yet a fun read. You may also see descriptive writings.

In conclusion, chapter summaries are vital for a faster and effective reading experience. You might dread having to write and summarize a whole chapter but think more of its pros than its cons.  In return, you develop your comprehension skills, vocabulary and your writing skills. Who knows, it might inspire you to start a book, movie, series, etc. review blog in the future. You may also see application writing.

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