Write a summary including key points

Write a summary including key points

I can summarize a story.

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Write a summary including key points

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Summarizing a text is when we recount the most essential facts of the story in our own words. By learning how to summarize a story, students can become better readers and more accurately identify key details on their first read-through of a text.

One strategy for summarizing a text is to remember SWBST - Somebody Wanted, But So Then. This lesson shows how this framework can help us to better comprehend a story as we are reading it.

Find other strategies for becoming a better reader and writer in our English lesson plans.



Learning Objective

Students will be able to summarize a story using the SWBST (Somebody, wanted, but, so, then) strategy.


Students will think about a movie or TV show they've watched and tell a partner only the most important details about it. Explain that a summary uses their own words and describes the main characters, settings, and events. They will discuss how to decide which details in a story are the most important.


Introduce the Somebody, wanted, but, so, then (SWBST) strategy and tell how it can help students write summaries. Students will read a passage titled Melany's Busy Week and answer questions. They will read two summaries of Melany's Busy Week and pick the best one. They will discuss why one summary was better than the other. Next, they will read a passage titled Washing the Dishes and underline the key details. They will fill out a graphic organizer with the SWBST strategy. They will also pick the best of two summaries for Washing the Dishes. They will discuss why one summary was better than the other.


These ten questions ask students how they can effectively summarize a text that they have read. There are also text samples provided so that students can continue practicing summarizing the most important details in a text.


Students will recall what they learned in the lesson: What does SWBST stand for and how can it help us summarize a text?

Read our blog post to learn more about reading comprehension exercises!

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