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Summarising 1

Learning intention

For students to be able to develop the ability to write a short summary of the plot of a familiar text.


The stories chosen for this activity have been selected for their familiarity, so that students can focus on other aspects of the text. Teachers could replace these stories with any stories that are familiar and culturally appropriate for their class. Teachers using the stories supplied may wish to extend the activity to explore the inherent gender stereotypes portrayed.


to students that a summary of the plot should be very short and to the point, but still able to be understood. It should capture the essential parts of the plot or the main ideas. It is about the key things that happen. Students need to consider the whole story when they write a summary.


a short summary of The Three Little Pigs on the board so students have a model to base their thinking on. For example: Three pigs each built a house. A wolf wrecked two of the houses because he wanted to eat the pigs. The third brick house was too strong so the wolf went down the chimney. He fell into a cooking pot and was killed.


Cinderella to the students.


students in developing a summary of the story. An example of a short summary for Cinderella might be: A good girl is badly treated. She meets a prince then she runs away. He uses her shoe to find her. They get married.


to the students why it's not necessary to include all the details.


why you are using brief sentences. You may even use dot points.


what students believe should be included in the summary.


Is it essential for the story?


Could some aspects of the summary be left out and still be the story of Cinderella?


details that could possibly be interchanged. For example, the ugly sisters in Cinderella could be any mean people in her home.


Could the shoe have been a ring or a crown, or is a shoe essential to the story?


all the aspects of the story that could be changed and those it is essential to keep. There are no 'right' answers. The discussion is about engaging with the idea of the short summary and the details of and justification for your point of view.