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Summary Writing Skills


Identifying Topic Sentences

Identifying Main Ideas
Identifying Supporting Details
Linking Main Ideas



Identifying Topic Sentences

A paragraph usually has one main idea.
It can be the first sentence, in the middle or at the end.
Identifying Main Ideas
Sometimes, in longer passages, there will be more than one main idea in
every paragraph.
3. Identifying Supporting Details
A summary must also contain important details in support of these main

Reading a passage is like eating a delicious yummy BURGER. It has a layer of salad,
sauce, cheese and the buns! You are not eating a burger because of all those but
you eat a burger because you like the BEEf and the burger will not taste good
without the rest of the contents.
Just like reading a paragraph, you have to know its Main Ideas (the BEEF), Topic
Sentences (the BUNS) and Supporting Details (the SALADS).
4. Linking Main Ideas by Using Connectors
Examples of connectors are : furthermore, also, and, but, finally, then, thus

Lets Practise
Identify the Topic Sentence in this paragraph. Underline them.
I remember when I finished school, I had a problem of choosing career
path before college started in three months: to become a doctor or enter
the corporate world. My uncle suggested that I do a work placement to
gain experience for a month in a multinational company followed by a


Nike is one of the best known brands today. The brand is so well known
that the company routinely runs ads without mentioning the name. in
fact, it is not surprising to find that most of the
Nikes products carry no brand identification than the swoosh.


Young people are faced with many decisions today. They have to choose
between smoking and not smoking. They have to choose between
spending time with their friends and reading books in the library. Some
even have to choose between using drugs or not. For many of them, the

Main Idea and Supporting Details Practice Exercises


Read and answer the questions that follow.

Practice 1: Dietary Details
Everyone needs food as fuel for his or her body. But kids especially need the
right fuel to keep their bodies going as they're growing. To help everyone figure out
which foods supply the energy needed, the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA)
developed a new Food Guide Pyramid in 2005. Look at the visual.
You probably remember the old pyramid, with horizontal layers of blocks like
the ancient pyramids. Well, this new pyramid has six, tall, vertical stripes instead.
Each stripe represents one source of nutrition. There are horizontal steps on the side of
the pyramid, but they signify the need for exercise as well as good food30 minutes
of exercise a dayto create a healthy you!
This new pyramid is called MyPyramid, because it's supposed to help meet the
needs of each individual. Your food needs are based on your age, if you're a girl or
boy, and how active you are. You can go to the USDA website at to check out how much and which kinds of food you need.

Each stripe on MyPyramid is a different color:

Orange: grains The average kid needs 6 ounces a day from this group, which includes breads,
cereals, rice, and pasta.
Green: vegetables The average kid needs about
cups a day from this group, which includes
dark green veggies, like spinach and broccoli, and bright orange ones, like carrots.
Red: fruits The average kid needs about

2 cups of fresh, frozen, canned, or dried fruit a day.

Yellow: oils Kids need about 5 teaspoons of oil a day. Some have no cholesterol or are lower in
fat than others. Check food labels for information.

Blue: milk The average kid needs about 3 cups a day of milk, yogurt, or cheese.
Purple: meat, fish, beans, and nuts The average kid needs about 5 ounces a day from this group.
These provide a "healthy diet." That's one that has enough of each essential
nutrient; a variety from all food groups; energy to maintain a healthy weight; and no
excess fat, sugar, or salt. Eating healthy and exercising daily can help reduce the risk of
getting diabetes, cancer, or bone problems as you get older.

Which is the most likely main idea of this selection?

People need to exercise at least once a week.
Beans are a good source of vitamins.
People need to eat a variety of good foods and exercise for a healthy life.
Fiber is an important part of a healthy lifestyle.


Which is NOT a supporting detail for the main idea?

Always use sunscreen as protection from the sun's harmful rays.
Pick a variety of things from the vegetable group.
Get at least a half-hour of exercise every day.
Don't just pick foods from one food group.


Why was it suggested that someone go to the USDA website?

to check the local weather
to write a letter to Congress
to exchange recipes for wholesome, healthy foods that taste good
to find out exactly which foods and how much that individual should eat


Which would best be another title for the article?

The Nutrition Needs of Prehistoric Humans
Food for Thought
The Eating Habits of Senior Citizens
Thoughts about Work Routines


Which is the main idea of the last paragraph?

It's nice to choose a variety of foods.
Many older people have heart problems.
Eating right and exercising now can reduce health risks in the future.
Getting enough sleep is important to good health.

Practice 3: Radio Days

Read the selection, and then answer the questions that follow.
Before there was TV, Americans gathered around their radios daily to listen to the
news and more. In the 1930s and 1940s, mystery shows, like Sam Spade and The
Shadow, were favorites with young and old alike. Every week people tuned in to hear the
top tunes on Your Hit Parade. And on Sunday mornings, radio stars read the comics
aloud to kids.
Did you think soap operas were a TV phenomenon? No way! They started on radio.
Do you know why they were called "soap operas"? Most shows were sponsored by soap
companies and, because characters had many problems, people said the stories were like
operas, most of which don't have happy endings!
Because there were no pictures to show what was going on, radio required people to
use their imaginations. So, as a sportscaster described the action, people had to imagine
"he hits a pop fly high into the infield, the shortstop moves in . . . reaches . . . grabs it . . .
throws to second . . . and he's out!" Not only did they picture it, many people cheered as
if they were right there in the stadium!
11. Which best states the main idea of the article?
a. Soap operas started on TV.
b. Before there was TV, people listened to the radio a lot.
c. Quite often, operas don't end happily.
d. Top tunes were played on the radio.
12. The author says radio required people to use their imaginations because
a. Radio stars read the comics.
b. People cheered as if they were at the stadium.
c. The Shadow was a mystery show.
d. There were no pictures to show the action.
13. Which could the author best use as another supporting detail?
a. Television was not in many American homes until the 1950s.
b. Many cars did not have a radio.
c. The modern home has two or more TVs.
Two-way radios were important during the war.
Section C

[25 marks]
Questions 26 31 are based on the following passage.



It is not an easy task to be a good sportsman. What is

actually sportsmanship? A good sportsmanship is the quality of
someone who is inclined to the area of sports and plays rather fairly
by following the rules of the game. Besides, the sportsman
respects the judgment of the referees and all the officials in the
game, knowing that they are not biased. A good sportsman will also
treat the opponents with respect.
Practising good sportsmanship in real-life situations is not
easy. However, there are some guidelines in which one can follow.
Firstly, it is of the utmost importance to learn as much of the
sports as possible. This is because a good sportsman should play
by the rules. The sportsman must be cooperative by showing up for
practice, working hard and realizing that teamwork is important to
ensure success.
In addition, it is important to talk politely and act courteously
towards the teammates, the opponents, the coaches and even the
opponents coaches before, during and even after the games or
events. Furthermore, never forget to get in touch with the officials
presiding over the game and also the spectators.
Remember to stay cool. Never ever lose your temper. A
good sportsman should not give up easily. A game is only a game
and the chances of winning are fifty-fifty, so no matter how hard you
have played the game, be realistic. Remember that there is a
winner and a loser in a game. No one likes to lose, but learn to take
defeat as a challenge.
Another thing a good sportsman must remember is to avoid
settling disputes with violence. In case there is such a dispute, seek
the advice of a coach or an official. If you respond with violence, the
problem is that as a sportsman, you can be penalized. The effect is
that your chances in winning a game are very slim.
It is important to cheer your teammates with positive
statements. Every member in the team is important. It is good to
avoid trash talking about the other team.
Moreover, remember to acknowledge and applaud the good
plays. If your team loses the game, do not feel disappointed. A
good play should be given the credit.
Lastly, congratulate your opponents if they win the game.
Learn to accept defeat gracefully. Congratulate your opponents on
a game well played.

31 Based on the passage given, write a summary on:

what is good sportsmanship








ways to practise good sportsmanship

Credit will be given for use of own words but care must be taken not to change
the original meaning.
Your summary must:

be in continuous writing form (not in note form)

use materials from line 1 to the end

not be longer than 130 words, including the 10 words given below
Begin your summary as follows:
Demonstrating good sportsmanship is important in any games or sports

Lee, A.,Nan, Y.A. (2011). Write Better : Compositions & Summaries for

SPM 1119 English. Shah Alam, SA: Oxford Fajar Bakti

English Language Unit, Kedah Educational Department.(2011). SPM
English Language 1119: Smart Module 2