Summary writing: Steps from note-taking to summary writing: Rebecca's story on the web-site for teachers and learners of English as a secondary language from a German point of view
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Steps from note-taking to summary writing: Rebecca's story

1. Note-taking: Headings
 
1. Rebecca's problem with her homework
2. The task
3. The smuggling of King Kong to NY
4. Contents of the film
5. Rebecca's thinking
6. The brainy kids' hope 
7. Sarah's story 
8. Rebecca's story and thoughts
9. Reading the story
10. Happy ending
2. Note-taking with headings and key-words
 
1. Rebecca's problem with her homework trouble - missed - twice
2. The task a story - 20th century - smuggling - posh kids
3. The smuggling of King Kong to NY a kick, film, King Kong, customs, NY
4. Contents of the film huge King Kong - hairy carpet - customs officer - squashed
5. Rebecca's thinking feeling better - Bacon's opinion - not brilliant
6.  The brainy kids' hope English lesson - reading out best stories - brainy kids
7. Sarah's story  all similar plot - Rebecca's different story
8. Rebecca's story and thoughts customs - clever - good story
9. Reading the story Mr. Bacon's excellent reading -  different voices
10. Happy ending flabbergasted - stupid - good
 3. From notes to retold
 
1. Rebecca's problem with her homework trouble - missed - twice Rebecca had had a lot of trouble with her teacher of English because she had missed her homework twice.
2. The task a story - 20th century - smuggling - posh kids She had to write a story about 20th century smuggling which all the posh kids knew by flights abroad which she didn't.
3. The smuggling of King Kong to NY a kick, film, King Kong, customs, NY She got a kick by a tv-film about King Kong who was smuggled through the customs to New York.
4. Contents of the film huge King Kong hairy carpet - customs officer
squashed
When they tried to go with him through the customs they couldn't hide him completely and declared him to be a hairy carpet. But when the customs officer asked too many questions huge King Kong squashed him and the customs.
5. Rebecca's thinking feeling better - Bacon's opinion
not brilliant
She felt much better when she went to bed although she thought that Bacon wouldn't find her story very brilliant
6.  The brainy kids' hope English lesson - 
reading out best stories - brainy kids
When Mr Bacon was going to read out some of the best stories in the English lesson the brainy kids started whispering which story he would read.
7. Sarah's story

 

all similar plot
R's story different
He read Sarah's story which was good, but which followed the same plot as a lot of others, but the next story was different.
8. Rebecca's story and thoughts customs - clever
good story
The kids wanted to know whose it was,
but Rebecca feared that Mr. Bacon would say how terrible it was. But he stated that it was excellent.
9. Reading the story Mr. Bacon's excellent reading - different voices Mr. Bacon did a good job reading the story out in different voices.
10. Happy ending flabbergasted - stupid - good Everybody was flabbergasted when they heard whose story it was. They had thought that Rebecca was stupid, but this story really was very good.

4. Preparing summary writing: Shift to Present Tense
 
1. Rebecca's problem with her homework trouble - missed
twice
Rebecca has a lot of trouble with her teacher of English because she has missed her homework twice.
2. The task a 20th century story about smuggling - 
posh kids
She has to write a story about 20th century smuggling which all the posh kids know by flights abroad which she doesn't.
3. Smuggling King Kong to NY a kick - film - King Kong - customs - NY She gets a kick by a tv-film about King Kong who is smuggled through the customs to New York.
4. Contents of the film huge King Kong hairy carpet - customs officer - squashed When they try to go with him through the customs they can't hide him completely and declare him to be a hairy carpet. But when the customs officer asks too many questions huge King Kong squashes him and the customs.
5. Rebecca's thinking feeling better - Bacon's opinion - not brilliant She feels much better when she goes to bed although she thinks that Bacon won't find her story very brilliant
6. The brainy kids' hope English lesson - reading out best - stories - 
brainy kids
When Mr Bacon is going to read out some of the best stories in the English lesson the brainy kids start whispering which story he will read.
7. Sarah's story

 

all similar plot
R's story different
He reads Sarah's story which is good, but which follows the same plot as a lot of others, but the next story is different.
8. Rebecca's story and thoughts customs - clever - good story The kids want to know whose it is,
but Rebecca fears that Mr. Bacon will say how terrible it is. But he states that it is excellent.
9. Reading the story B's excellent reading - different voices Mr. Bacon does a good job reading the story out in different voices.
10. Happy ending flabbergasted - stupid - good Everybody is flabbergasted when they hear whose story it is. They thought that Rebecca is stupid, but this story really is very good.

5. Preparing summary writing: Adding functions
 
1. Rebecca's problem with her homework trouble - missed
twice
In the first part the author explains that Rebecca has a lot of trouble with her teacher of English because she has missed her homework twice.
2. The task a 20th century story about smuggling - 
posh kids
In the main part the reader is informed that she has to write a story about 20th century smuggling which all the posh kids know by flights abroad which she doesn't.
3. Smuggling King Kong to NY a kick - film - King Kong -  customs - NY Then the author describes how she gets a kick by a tv-film about King Kong who is smuggled through the customs to New York.
4. Contents of the film huge King Kong - hairy carpet
customs officer
squashed
Further on we are told that when they try to go with him through the customs they can't hide him completely and declare him to be a hairy carpet. But when the customs officer asks too many questions huge King Kong squashes him and the customs.
5. Rebecca's thinking feeling better - 
Bacon's opinion
not brilliant
Afterwards we read that she feels much better when she goes to bed although she thinks that Bacon won't find her story very brilliant
6. The the brainy kids' hope English lesson - 
reading out best stories - brainy kids
Next the author stresses that when Mr Bacon is going to read out some of the best stories in the English lesson the brainy kids start whispering which story he will read.
7. Sarah's story

 

all similar plot
Rebecca's different story
Moreover the writer goes on readingSarah's story which is good, but which follows the same plot as a lot of others, but the next story is different.
8. Rebecca's story and thoughts customs - clever
good story
In the end the author emphasises that the kids want to know whose it is, but Rebecca fears that Mr. Bacon will say how terrible it is. But he states that it is excellent.
9. Reading the story Bacon's excellent reading - different voices At last the writer stresses that Mr. Bacon does a good job reading the story out in different voices.
10. Happy ending flabbergasted
stupid - good
As a conclusion the author hints that everybody is flabbergasted when they hear whose story it is. They thought that Rebecca is stupid, but this story really is very good.

6. A global view on the way
 
Headlines Key-words Shift into the presence of the reader Summary
1. Rebecca's problem with her homework trouble
missed
twice
Rebecca has a lot of trouble with her teacher of English because she has missed her homework twice. In the first part the author explains that Rebecca has a lot of trouble with her teacher of English because she has missed her homework twice.
2. The task a 20th century story about
smuggling -
posh kids
She has to write a story about 20th century smuggling which all the posh kids know by flights abroad which she doesn't. In the main part the reader is informed that she has to write a story about 20th century smuggling which all the posh kids know by flights abroad which she doesn't.
3. Smuggling King Kong to NY a kick -film - King Kong - customs - NY She gets a kick by a tv-film about King Kong who is smuggled through the customs to New York. Then the author describes how she gets a kick by a tv-film about King Kong who is smuggled through the customs to New York.
4. Contents of the film huge King Kong - hairy carpet - customs officer - squashed When they try to go with him through the customs they can't hide him completely and declare him to be a hairy carpet. But when the customs officer asks too many questions huge King Kong squashes him and the customs. Further on we are told that when they try to go with him through the customs they can't hide him completely and declare him to be a hairy carpet. But when the customs officer asks too many questions huge King Kong squashes him and the customs.
5. Rebecca's thinking feeling better - 
Bacon's opinion - 
not brilliant
She feels much better when she goes to bed although she thinks that Bacon won't find her story very brilliant Afterwards we read that she feels much better when she goes to bed although she thinks that Bacon won't find her story very brilliant
6. The brainy kids' hope

 

English lesson - reading out best stories - 
brainy kids
When Mr Bacon is going to read out some of the best stories in the English lesson the brainy kids start whispering which story he will read. Next the author stresses that when Mr Bacon is going to read out some of the best stories in the English lesson the brainy kids start whispering which story he will read.
7. Sarah's story
 

 

all similar plot - Rebecca's different story  He reads Sarah's story which is good, but which follows the same plot as a lot of others, but the next story is different. Moreover the writer goes on readingSarah's story which is good, but which follows the same plot as a lot of others, but the next story is different.
8. Rebecca's story and thoughts customs - 
clever - good story
The kids want to know whose it is,
but Rebecca fears that Mr. Bacon will say how terrible it is. But he states that it is excellent.
In the end the author emphasises that the kids want to know whose it is, but Rebecca fears that Mr. Bacon will say how terrible it is. But he states that it is excellent.
9. Reading the story Mr. Bacon's excellent reading - different voices Mr. Bacon does a good job reading the story out in different voices. At last the writer stresses that Mr. Bacon does a good job reading the story out in different voices.
10. Happy ending flabbergasted - stupid - good Everybody is flabbergasted when they hear whose story it is. They thought that Rebecca is stupid, but this story really is very good. As a conclusion the author hints that everybody is flabbergasted when they hear whose story it is. They thought that Rebecca is stupid, but this story really is very good.



Full story:
Learning English Red Line 5 Klett 1992 p.27

Rebecca's Story
(Adapted from Your friend, Rebecca by Linda Hoy, 1982)

When I get home from school, I decide to do something unusual. I decide to do my English homework for Mr Bacon. I don't want any trouble with teachers this week; lessons are bad enough. I missed the English homework twice last week, and Mr Bacon will be furious if I miss it again.

We've got to write a story about smugglers. All because of this stupid book that we're reading -it's about smugglers in ... I don't know, the twenty-first century B.C., I think it is. Whenever it is, it's rubbish. Streaky - that's Mr Bacon (in case you hadn't guessed) - said that we could write about modern day smugglers if we wanted to. He said this as if he was doing us a really big favour. And all the posh kids in our class started to show off - about going through customs at airports and things like that. I've never been through customs, so you can just imagine how easy it's going to be for me to write this story.  I haven't much energy tonight. So I sit down and switch on this old King Kong film on the television, to help me think while I'm writing.

 I like King Kong. And then it gets to the part where they've caught him and they're taking him to America. This suddenly reminds me of the story that I've got to write. Because I notice that they don't take King Kong through the customs. The man who wrote the film just cheats and misses that part altogether. A really good story would be the scene when they try to smuggle King Kong through the customs.
It's quite a good story. King Kong is huge, and when he walks through the customs, people can only see his hairy legs. The people who are trying to get him into the country say it's a special black hairy carpet. When the customs officer starts to get difficult and asks too many questions, King Kong steps on him - and all the customs hall gets squashed. It's a very good plot. I like it anyway.
 
I feel a bit better when I go upstairs to bed because I think I've written something good.
Streaky Bacon will probably say that it's stupid,  but I don't care. He always reads out Amelia Hamlet's stories, or Sarah Swille's, and he says mine are rubbish. Of course, I usually write them while I'm on my way to the lesson, so they're never very brilliant.

The first lesson on Monday is English. Mr Bacon says he's going to read out some of the best stories from last week. Some of the brainy kids start to whisper, "Mine's rubbish", and "Ooooh, I hope he doesn't read mine out". This really means that they think their story's fantastic, and that they hope he'll read it out to the class.
I don't say anything. Streaky takes Sarah Swille's book and starts to read out her story.
Her work is always read out, but really I don't think it's so good. Streaky gives Sarah her book back. Then he says, "Most of the stories were good, but they were all very similar. Most of you used exactly the same plot. All except this one. .." And he picks up my book and starts to read the story out. The brainy kids look at each other and whisper, "Whose is it?" and "Is it yours?" - but none of them know. I don't say anything. I expect that Streaky will soon say how terrible it is. But he doesn't. He reads it very well and uses different voices for the customs man and for King Kong.

When he gets to the part where the customs man tells King Kong that he'll have to go into quarantine in case he's got rabies, everybody starts to laugh. They laugh more when King Kong steps on him. I even smile myself. Streaky reads it out very well, so it sounds really funny. When he's finished, Streaky says what a clever story it is. He even says it would make a very good play. Everybody else in the class agrees.

Then he gives the books back.

Everybody in the class is flabbergasted when they find out that the story that Streaky's been reading is mine. They think I'm too stupid to write anything more exciting than the date. I can write good stories when I feel like it, you see.
And poems. It's just that I don't feel like it very often.


<Click here and you will always get back to the table of contents>
Table of Contents
Steps from note-taking to summary
writing: Rebecca's story
HOMEback to the homepagePAGE back to the previous page back to 
Summary: an example:
Maze Prison
go on to
Example: 
The Independent
on to the next page