ost of us agree that students need help--or perhaps just practice--with their abilities to summarize material. The following exercise gives them practice while it also aids their comprehension: Ask students to summarize in no more than 50 words the main points of their reading assignment. They might do this on regular notebook paper or index cards. The activity encourages them to read the assignment and helps them to remember what they have read. And its brief format is not threatening to them.

You might also combine this activity with small group work, asking each group to work collaboratively on the best version. They could also shorten their summary to 25 words and/or to one sentence.

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