Facebook pixel Three Steps to Summarize

Three Steps to Summarize

R.A.T.—Read. Annotate. Think.

To summarize, write the main ideas of the text and restate them in your own words in your own writing style. The summary should be shorter than the original (approximately 1/3 of the original length).


To read means you must comprehend the text.

To better read a text, you might:

  • Read the text more than once
  • Read to get familiar with topic and read for enjoyment
  • Read out loud
  • Read and make connections to what you already know
  • Read as a believer
  • Read as a doubter


To annotate means to write notes about the text as you read. Engage with the text by responding to and arguing with it.

To annotate, you might:

  • Write in margins
  • Underline important parts
  • Use sticky notes to make comments next to paragraphs
  • Circle words you don’t understand - then look them up


To think means to analyze what you’ve read.

To analyze a text, ask yourself these questions:

Why did the author write the text?

  • To inform?
  • To persuade?
  • To entertain?
  • To compare/contrast?
  • Some of all?

What are the facts in the text? What are the opinions?

  • What facts back up the opinions?

What assumptions are made?

R.A.T. Practice

Read this text and try to summarize it. Then compare your summary to the one below. Remember your summary will be different. While it should include the main ideas, it will be written in your own words and writing style.

Practice Text

Four Types of Tattoos

There are four major types of tattoos: traumatic, amateur, professional, and cosmetic. The first type is caused by the embedding of dirt or debris beneath the skin, which leaves an area of pigmentation after healing. For example, this commonly occurs in “road rash” after a motorcycle accident. The second type is placed by the person being tattooed, or by a friend, and often shows little artistry or detail. An example would be a gang symbol or one word tattooed using a pin and India ink, pen ink, charcoal, or ashes as the pigment. The third type takes two forms: cultural and modern. Cultural tattoos are placed using the time-honored methods of certain cultural ethnicities. For example, the Samoans use tattoos to display the artistry of their particular heritage. Modern tattoos are performed using a “tattoo gun” and are placed by experienced, paid artists. The fourth type is a rapidly growing area of the tattoo industry. Permanent makeup, including eyeliner, lip liner, rouge, and eyebrow pencil can be placed by a tattoo specialist. (173 words)


Cronin, T. A. (2001). Tattoos. Journal of Dermatology Nursing, 13, 380. Retrieved from www.dermatologynursing.net/

Practice Summary

In the 2001 Journal of Dermatology Nursing, T. A. Cronin reveals four categories of tattoos: “traumatic, amateur, professional, and cosmetic” (p. 380). Traumatic tattoos are usually acquired by accident, caused by falls where dirt blasts itself under the skin. Amateur tattoos consist of single words or symbols and usually a lack workmanship. Professional tattoos can be either intricate cultural symbols or modern ones made by experts, using needles. Lastly, cosmetic tattoos involve permanent makeup and are drawn by tattoo artists. (74 words/42% of original text)


Learn more about "Summarizing."

Back to top