Writing Effective Summary and Response Essays
A summary is a concise paraphrase of all the main ideas in an essay. It cites the author and the title (usually in the first sentence); it contains the essay's thesis and supporting ideas; it may use direct quotation of forceful or concise statements of the author's ideas; it will NOT usually cite the author's examples or supporting details unless they are central to the main idea. Most summaries present the major points in the order that the author made them and continually refer back to the article being summarized (i.e. "Damon argues that ..." or "Goodman also points out that ... "). The summary should take up no more than one-third the length of the work being summarized.
A response is a critique or evaluation of the author's essay. Unlike the summary, it is composed of YOUR opinions in relation to the article being summarized. It examines ideas that you agree or disagree with and identifies the essay's strengths and weaknesses in reasoning and logic, in quality of supporting examples, and in organization and style. A good response is persuasive; therefore, it should cite facts, examples, and personal experience that either refutes or supports the article you're responding to, depending on your stance.
Two Typical Organizational Formats for Summary/Response Essays:
1. Present the summary in a block of paragraphs, followed by the response in a block:
Summary (two to three paragraphs)
Agreement (or disagreement)
Disagreement (or agreement)
Note: Some essays will incorporate both agreement and disagreement in a response, but this is not mandatory.
2. Introduce the essay with a short paragraph that includes your thesis. Then, each body paragraph summarizes one point and responds to it, and a conclusion wraps the essay up.
Summary point one; agree/disagree
Summary point two; agree/disagree
Summary point three; agree/disagree
Date of Statehood: August 1, 1876
Did You Know?
In 1972, Colorado rejected the International Olympic Committee's invitation to serve as host for the 1976 Winter Olympic Games because its voters opposed the use of state tax revenue to finance the games. It is the only state ever to reject an Olympic invitation to host the event.
Population: 5,029,196 (2010)
Size: 104,094 square miles
Nickname(s): Centennial State; Colorful Colorado
Motto: Nil sine Numine (“Nothing without the Deity”)
Tree: Colorado Blue Spruce
Flower: White and Lavender Columbine
Bird: Lark Bunting
- Mesa Verde National Park contains more than 4,000 archaeological sites—including around 600 cliff dwellings—from the Ancestral Puebloans who inhabited the area from about AD 550 to 1300. By the late 13th century, they began to migrate south to New Mexico and Arizona, where their descendants continue to live today.
- Discovered by Lieutenant Zebulon Pike in 1806 during an expedition to determine the southwestern boundary of the Louisiana Purchase, Pikes Peak became a landmark to the thousands of fortune hunters who traveled west with the slogan “Pikes Peak or Bust” on their wagons after gold was found in the area in 1858.
- On November 29, 1864, more than 150 peaceful Cheyenne and Arapaho Indians—believing themselves to be under the protection of the U.S. government—were slaughtered by close to 700 Colorado volunteer soldiers under the command of Colonel John Chivington. The atrocity devastated the tribes and served as a catalyst for years of subsequent warfare between Native American Indians and the U.S. Army.
- The lyrics to “America the Beautiful” were written by Katharine Lee Bates after an awe-inspiring trip to the top of Pikes Peak in 1893. Although it is now commonly sung to the tune “Materna,” composed by Samuel Ward in 1882, the patriotic poem was often sung to “Auld Lang Syne” in the early 20th century.
- The Colorado Rockies are part of the North American Cordillera, which sweeps the western part of the continent all the way from Alaska into northern Mexico. With 58 named peaks over 14,000 feet and an average altitude of 6,800 feet, Colorado has the highest elevation of all the states.