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I agree with you in many ways. My students, after seeing a model summary of the
selection they have tried to summarize, catch on to the main idea, and many are
able to come up with the appropriate length. The problem areas are
differentiating between the major details that should be included in their
summary, as support of the main idea, determining the pattern of organization
of the selection (I definitely vary the pattern or organization, because I
believe hat it is essential to writing a summary to see how the selection
itself was organized), and coming up with an appropriate conclusion when one is
warranted. This summary writing is a component of our developmental reading
class, where students must be reading at the 10tyh grade level or better, and
where many have completed one or two writing classes, as well. As you said - Go
Figure!

Bill B
Cerritos College