Producing effective summaries is an important part of academic writing. In fact, summary is a
necessary foundation for more complex thinking and writing tasks. A writer must be able to summarize
a text before being able to analyze or evaluate ideas and techniques in that text. Oftentimes, writers will
summarize the arguments or research of others in order to support their own main points, or writers will
summarize a text so that they can then evaluate its claims and support.
For this assignment, you will summarize the text by highlighting the main idea and supporting
points; then you will respond to and critique the text by evaluating the text's effectiveness and
providing your opinions on the main points. You should organize the paper into two well-developed
paragraphs -- one paragraph of summary and one paragraph of response. Make sure you don't include
any of your personal bias or opinions in the summary portion; save those ideas for the response.
Finally, you should have a Works Cited page, correctly formatted in MLA documentation style.
Organization & Content
First paragraph: Summary (Example: Not our actual reading)
Begin with a topic sentence, a sentence that summarizes the writer's overall argument o
Example: Michael Pollan's "The Cooking Animal" argues that ________.
Your goal with the summary is not to paraphrase the entire article but rather to highlight the
writer's key points and support.
Outline the text before beginning to write. Your organization of the main points should be
clean and orderly. While you don't have to sequence those points chronologically (in the same order in
which the writer presents them), they should have a logical order that condenses the text while also
preserving the relationships among its key ideas.
Second paragraph: Response
Begin with a topic sentence, a sentence that summarizes your overall response to the writer's
main idea. o Example: Stephen Marche's argument makes a valid point: he is right that _________.
In this portion of the paper, you will state your thoughts and opinions on the writer's
argument. In other words, explain to what extent you agree or disagree with his/her claim and why.
Support your thoughts with specific details and examples from your own knowledge and experience.
You may also consider the strengths and weaknesses of the writer's argument.
You will also include a relevant direct quotation from the essay that effectively illustrates a
key point that you are highlighting and to which you're responding. Use an MLA-formatted in-text
citation following that quote.
Video : the danger of a single story
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