Summary Writing Skills for English Language Learners: An Effective English Writing Process Skill
by Stephen E. Dew, hbicambodia.com, Phnom Penh, Cambodia.
Table of Contents
- 1 Introduction
- 1.1 Prologue
- 1.2 Who is this book for?
- 1.3 Who else will benefit from this book?
- 1.4 How will this book help me?
- 1.5 What are the 4 most important things I’ll learn from this book?
- 1.6 What essential skills will summary writing develop?
- 1.7 What English academic writing skills do I need?
- 1.8 What if I don’t learn summary writing skills?
- 2 Related
This ESL summary writing guide will help you produce consistent results and grades for your English written assignments and essays. With 5 years TESOL experience in practical English essay writing, the author has managed to make himself clearly understood by his students.
“Summary Writing for English Language Learners: How to Improve English Writing Skills for ESL Students” is by far one of the more condensed and easy to read guides for development of English essay writing skills you will find anywhere.
This practical academic writing skills guide will aid in developing good English academic writing and reading skills.
From the author:
I use many examples to help guide you on your journey to better your summary writing. These examples come from various sources on the internet, and I give credit to those sources in the references for making such valuable learning material available for students and teachers alike.
Who is this book for?
“Summary writing for English language learners: How to Improve English writing skills for ESL Students” is the latest (fifth) book in the author’s series “Academic Writing Skills”. The book was primarily written as a supplementary handbook for non-English speaking International ESL Students to gain university entrance, but by no means only for ESL students wanting to learn English academic writing. Summary writing is a key skill when learning English academic writing.
As the author has said previously, “Academic essay writing is an essential skill for universities, colleges, and other tertiary educational institutions. English writing skills form a part of the assessment requirements of many courses at university, college, or even high school, so it is extremely important you can summary write to become a competent English essay writer.
The book is ideal for the International ESL Student in a low-intermediate to mid-advanced English Class.”
Who else will benefit from this book?
This practical summary writing guide can not only be used by high-school students or undergraduates or graduate students but also used by mature age students wishing to understand more about English academic essay writing. In addition, people in careers such as business, commerce, industry, or education who need to write reports or summaries as daily activity can use this summary writing guide to develop their summary skills.
How will this book help me?
While ESL students may not realize it, reading and writing skills are closely related and can easily be mixed together in assignments for their benefit, although, ESL instructors tend to focus on just one skill at a time in your ESL class. By using this guide to develop your summary writing skills, you will be combining two English skills, which provides students with a greater range of understanding and information that can be used in the future.
What are the 4 most important things I’ll learn from this book?
Writing a summary is an important skill that students will use throughout their academic careers. Summarizing improves reading skills because students find the main ideas of a reading. It also helps with vocabulary skills because students must paraphrase a reading and alter the vocabulary and grammar as they go. In addition, critical thinking skills are improved because students must decide on the main ideas of the reading to include in a summary.
Finally, writing and editing skills are improved as students draft and edit the summary. Remember, you should also work with your peers throughout the writing and revision process, because it aids in cooperative learning.
Thus, as you can see, there are many benefits to understanding and learning how to write a summary.
What essential skills will summary writing develop?
Summarizing is actually a specific and technical skill. Therefore, not only will you improve your reading, vocabulary, critical thinking, and your writing and editing skills, you will develop essential skills in:
- Learning the summary format which includes using phrases such as “In [title of text], [name of author] explains/states/describes/believes/thinks/expects…” to begin the summary. This helps readers to get right to the main idea of the text.
- Asking analytical questions while reading the material. This certainly doesn’t only apply to just ESL students; all students require this skill. Some of the basic questions ESL students should ask as they read include:
- What does the author want the reader to know?
- Why does the author have this opinion?
- How does the author prove his/her opinion?o Does the author provide any suggestions/advice/solutions to a problem?
- What does this phrase mean? How is it related to the main idea or supporting points?
When you find the answers to these questions, you will be able to write a summary more easily.
- Finding the main idea of the material. ESL students sometimes have difficulty finding the main idea in a text. In higher levels of ESL, texts are purposely complex so that students must combine ideas to form one coherent main idea. If you struggle with writing a thesis statement and/or topic sentence, it will be more difficult for you to find the main idea of a text, so be sure to answer the questions and review thesis statements and topic sentences to make summary writing easier for you.
- Identifying the writer’s opinion in the material. Whilst not every text will contain an opinion, you should still learn how to identify it. It will be easier when writers or authors use phrases such as “I believe” and “I think,” and so on. In higher ESL levels, however, those phrases should not be present, so students need to look for modals that imply a writer’s or author’s opinion.
- Understanding the writer’s reason for writing the material. While a text might not contain an opinion, there will still be a purpose to find and write about. For example, “Why are you reading this text?” and “What are you supposed to understand after reading it?” At this stage, you should be asking more questions to discover the writer’s purpose of the material. For instance, “What type of material is it (informative, persuasive, narrative)?”, “Is the writer or author trying to change my opinion of a subject?” and “Is the writer or author highlighting a problem?”
- Identifying supporting ideas in the material. By looking for main points within the text that support the writer’s opinion or purpose, you develop skills to identify the difference between major points, key points that need to be included in a summary, and minor supporting points that don’t need to be included in a summary.
What English academic writing skills do I need?
One of the most difficult points for ESL students to grasp is the idea of concise writing. In your first years of learning English, you are constantly told to write more. As you reach higher levels of ESL, you need to change your style and write more concise sentences. This is especially important when you are writing summaries. Learning to write concise sentences takes a lot of time, energy, and patience. The main point to remember is you should focus on writing in the active voice rather than the passive voice. As you write more summaries, you’ll see more phrases to correct, but you will improve your conciseness. Using proofreading skills and eliminating simple vocabulary also assists in developing a more concise written English. The author recommends ESL Students in low-intermediate to mid-advanced English classes use this summary writing guide for developing their English essay writing skills.
What if I don’t learn summary writing skills?
If you do not endeavor to develop your summary writing skills, you will not be as successful at university as you could be. Professors and instructors at universities require you to submit summaries of text for course related materials to demonstrate understanding. In addition, summary writing is crucial to responding critically to materials in your own written words. Writing a summary also helps you to fully understand and remember course related materials for exam purposes.
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