How to Write a Three Sentence Summary

Writing summaries helps to digest the information.

Writing a three sentence summary is a difficult task. A summary needs to be able to digest, condense, and present to the reader the essence of a text or a story. Writing summaries is a valuable educational device for high school or college students or for readers in general. Learning how to summarize the essential core of a text or story helps to focus your attention and appropriate the information in an efficient and effective manner.

Skim the text that you are summarizing. Write down the author's thesis statement, the heading and subheading titles, and author's conclusion.

Carefully read the text and underline the central main ideas. Pay attention to the author's arguments as well as the tone of the text.

Write a draft of the summary. Use the draft to outline the main points of your summary. Determine which essential points need to be included and which can be left out.

Write a overview of the text in the first sentence of the summary. The first sentence is a synopsis that summarizes the text or story in a nutshell. Imagine that you are responding to the question "What is the article or story about?"

Describe the author's central arguments or the story's main plot in the second sentence. This may be the most difficult part of a three sentence summary because you may be condensing a complicated multi-layered argument or a complicated storyline into one sentence.

Conclude the summary with an overall evaluation of the article or the story.

Robert Russell began writing online professionally in 2010. He holds a Ph.D. in philosophy and is currently working on a book project exploring the relationship between art, entertainment and culture. He is the guitar player for the nationally touring cajun/zydeco band Creole Stomp. Russell travels with his laptop and writes many of his articles on the road between gigs.