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Now that you've written your own contribution to the class conversation, it's time to look at what some other people to say on the topic of education. As you know, one effective reading strategy is to write about what you've read, so that's what you'll be doing for this next assignment. You've already "summarized" lots of times: anytime you take a phone message, or tell a friend what happened on your favorite TV show last night, for example. The process for an academic summary is similar--to take in information (in this case, by reading something by another writer) and condense it (by identifying the important ideas in that piece).

The key question you'll answer is "What are the main points of this writer's essay?"

You're answering the key question for a reader who has not read the essay you're summarizing. Therefore, you'll need to think about how to represent all of the main ideas of the piece fairly. Keep in mind that your reader will want to know more than just what the essay is about. She or he will want to know what the author thinks about his or her topic and how each idea within the essay is connected to the rest of the author's points.

Your goals as a writer include this most important one: to read and understand the essay thoroughly enough to be able to represent it accurately to someone who has not read the original, say, someone who is joining our class conversation late and wants to "catch up."

Strategies for completing the essay include these: