Section 2: Our Stories, Ourselves: Memory, Narrative, and Identity

Skills Focus: Sources Accurately paraphrase a secondary source

HW, part 1: Reading
HW, part 2: Reading Read They Say, I Say, chapter 2, “The Art of Summarizing.”

HW, part 3 Summarize to Communicate the Larger Conversation

As we discussed in the last class, to give your writing a sense of purpose, it can be helpful to present yourself as a participant in a broader conversation. But it isn’t enough to offer your own part in the dialogue—you need as well to evoke that virtual conversation you’re joining. Source summary can play a crucial role here. By summarizing what another writer has said, you can help readers understand where you’re coming from and what you’re reacting to, as well as how your own remarks contribute to the discussion.

  1. Choose a sentence or short passage from one of the readings for today or last class, ideally one that expresses an idea you could envision responding to in your personal essay.
  2. Briefly summarize the sentence(s) (75 words or less)
    • If you include phrasing from the original, put those words in quotation marks.
    • In summarizing the passage, make clear that you are summarizing another person’s idea by including a signal phrase such as “Susan Faludi claims” or “Writing in The Atlantic, Julie Beck observes that”
  3. Post your summary to the student writing section of the course website
    • Scroll over “Unit 1” and click on “Fri Jan 18” to post the passage and your summary of it. Your first post of the semester won’t appear immediately (I need to approve it).
    • Use quotation marks around the sentence(s) you’re summarizing, and follow the quotation with a parenthetical reference indicating the name of the writer(s) and, if available, the page number of the passage.
    • Then click on “reply” and post your summary as a response to the quotation