On Fri, 4 Aug 1995 Bill Broderick wrote:

> Jim -
> I incorporate writing in the basic and developmental reading classes I teach at
> Cerritos College. Students have no trouble responding to a selection they read,
> but they are totally lost - even with my step-by-step approach to teaching them
> how to do it - when it comes to summarizing.
> Anyone else agree?

Here's a mystery, Bill:
I don't know why, but most of my students come to me already knowing how
to summarize.  I don't think our populations are that different, and I've
had this luck at several colleges.  Go figure!  I require my students to
respond to a number of essays by first giving a summary within the
context of their essays.  A few students rewrite the original essay for
their summaries and end up with a summary that's longer than the
original, and a few simply give the main point or just the topic, but
they almost always get their acts together after being shown some good
samples.  Let me emphasize that these successes are NOT due to any
magical teaching from me.  I have NO idea why summary writing isn't a
problem!!! (I'm just enjoying my luck!)

A much greater problem is to get students to develop support for their
theses.  Not only is support often undeveloped, but the illustrative
examples are often inappropriate for the task in that they don't support
the thesis.

Lonna Smith
San Jose State University
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