How to Write a Summary of a Book

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Grade Level
Middle School
Reading & Writing
Length of Time
1 hour

Students will read a book and learn how to write a summary of a fiction book.

This lesson will take about an hour to discuss what to do and to choose a book. Then, students can read their book and write their summaries. You may assign this for homework.


Students will learn:
To read for understanding
To take notes
To write a summary of a book

Materials Needed

A fiction book of the student's choice
Notebook paper
Notecards or small spiral notebook
Pens and whiteouts for correcting errors.


First, you will explain the definition of a summary.

A summary is restating in your own words the main points of the book. The summary should include the protagonist, the conflict, and the resolution. It should be at least three paragraphs: Beginning, Middle, and End.

Summaries should also not give away the ending of the story. You want readers to read the book, but not know what happened without reading it.

Summaries do not include your own opinion. They are different from book reviews.

Book reviews include the writer's opinion of the book they read as well as a short summary.

Then, you will explain to the students that they need to jot down important information about the book in their spiral notebook or on notecards so they can have it ready to write their summary.

After you have explained to the students what they need to do, they will read their books and take notes. Then, they will write their summaries.

This assignment will take them more than an hour.

You can assign this lesson and have them complete it in a day or two depending on how large the book is they have chosen to read.


You can grade the students'summaries on sentence structure, paragraph structure, and the content of their summaries.

100 to 90 = A

89 to 80 = B

79 to 70 = C

69 to 60 = D

Below 60 = F

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