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A summary is simply a recounting of the main points of an article. But what should it really include? How is the summary formatted? The best way to learn how to write a summary is to read and examine someone else’s summary.

Before you read the rest of this lecture, please read the short essay entitled “Sticks and Stones and Sports Team Names” from the bottom of page 255 through page 257 in your 10th edition textbook (pages 275-276 in your 9th edition textbook).** After you’ve read this essay, then please continue with the lecture.

A Sample Summary

The following is an example of how one student summarized the article “Sticks and Stones and Sports Team Names.”  (Remember: “Sticks and Stones” is not the article that you will be reading and responding to.  However, this example does provide a good example of how to craft summaries in general.)  As you read this example, ask yourself what you notice about the summary—in terms of purpose, focus, tone, organization and formatting.

Summary of  “Sticks and Stones and Sports Team Names” 

In “Sticks and Stones and Sports Team Names,” Richard Estrada argues that sports teams should not be allowed to continue using ethnic-based names and mascots.  Estrada claims that teams such as the Braves, Indians, Seminoles, and Redskins—no matter how established or popular—should change their team names and mascots, which are degrading to Native Americans.  He further suggests that the stereotypes accompanying these mascots, such as “tomahawk chops and war chants,” dehumanize and single out Native Americans, setting them aside from the rest of society.  “Nobody likes to be trivialized or deprived of his or her dignity,” Estrada asserts, and yet allowing ethnic-based mascots enables—and even promotes—such trivialization.  What makes matters worse, according to Estrada, is that such mascots target one of our nation’s least politically powerful ethnic groups.  He provides examples of other possible team names based on other ethnic minorities (such as the “New York Jews”), which would never be tolerated in our society.  As a result, Estrada concludes that Native Americans should be treated with simple human dignity, just like everyone else.   178 Words

So what did you notice?  What does the summary include?  How is it formatted?

Perhaps first you noticed that the student writer’s opinion of “Sticks and Stones and Sport Team Names” is not included.  Rather, the student is trying to simply convey the main points of Estrada’s original article.  Remember:   Whether you liked the article or didn’t like it, whether you agreed with the author or disagreed, your opinion does not belong in the summary.

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