The Summary Response Essay Assignment

Objective:  The Summary Response essay is the most commonly assigned essay in college because it proves that a student has understood what he or she has read.  This essay also demonstrates that a student can locate an author’s thesis, main ideas and differentiate between major and minor ideas.  Finally, it shows that the student has thought about the main ideas and can evaluate and respond to them.  The student must be able to both summarize or paraphrase the author’s words and use in-text citations correctly.  (Although I have used the word summary in the explanations below, you have the option to paraphrase when you choose.  Remember: you summarize longer passages into two-three sentences because your goal is to briefly cover a main idea, and you paraphrase a shorter passage to clarify several ideas which may be as long or longer than the original because your goal is to explain/translate).

The Use of In-text CitationsAuthor tags come at the start of the key point summaries rather than in parenthesis at the end

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Ex.  Johnson explains how –insert a key point summary here.  He further discusses how –insert another key point summary here.  The author brings in numerous experts to back up his idea –insert another key point summary.

The Use of In-text Citations: must give the page # for each key summary. See both examples below:

Key Point Summaries that are on different pages of an article:

Ex.  Johnson explains how –insert the key point summary here (1).  He further explains how –insert another key point summary here (2).  The author brings in numerous experts to back up his idea –insert another key point summary here (3).

Key Point Summaries that are all on the same page of an article:

Ex.  Johnson explains how –insert the key point summary here.  He further explains how –insert another key point summary here.  The author brings in numerous experts to back up his idea –insert another key point summary here (6).

Audience: You are writing for high school seniors at your former high school.  This then determines whether you should summarize or paraphrase for them.  If you think your audience is already knowledgeable about something, then you may decide to summarize an author’s main idea, but if you think your audience needs more clarification or translation of an author’s ideas, then you should paraphrase.

Length:  6-8 typed pages; double-spaced              Format:  MLA  8th Edition; Times New Roman; 12 size font

Homework assignments:  I will assign homework that will be due in the Assignment folder. The penalty for lateness is 10 points deducted each day.

The Writing Process + Due Dates:  Read the article several times; annotate along the margins; determine author’s thesis and main ideas;  using my templates to write your thesis and outline, write a rough draft, participate in peer evaluations, revise and edit rough draft based on peer evaluations and professor feedback, and hand in final essay in designated Assignment folder by deadline.  All due dates will show in the calendar on the D2L homepage.

PlagiarismThis can be a high-crimes and misdemeanors paper!  Students  are often accused of plagiarism for this paper because they fail to summarize/paraphrase correctly.  Students guilty of plagiarism tend to keep the same sentence structure while just changing a few words, yet this is STILL plagiarism.  Students must change the sentence structure, change the words, but NOT change the meaning all while using author tags and page #s correctly! Students accused of plagiarism will receive a failing grade (59) and will have to rewrite the paper (for no more than 11 more points).

Extra Credit Option:  You can take advantage of remote tutoring using the link in Table of Contents to work with a tutor online on your completed rough draft in order to earn 5 more points on your final essay; the tutor must send me proof that the two of you met.

Resources on D2L:  Numerous documents including videos, various readings, a thesis template, an outline template, a sample student essay, the grading rubric, and much more are meant to help you write this paper; don’t wait for me to point these out to you!

Revision policy:  If you earn a 79 or less you are eligible to revise your final essay for up to 10 more points.  You are NOT guaranteed the 10 points.  You must revise and edit the paper according to my feedback to have a better chance at earning more points.  The revised essay is due in the same Assignment folder one week after the essay has been graded.  You must then send me an e-mail indicating that a revised essay is waiting to be graded.

Late Essay policy: You want to try and avoid handing in the essay late, but if you do you will be docked 10 points for each day the essay is late.

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