Helping your child write summaries {FREE PRINTABLE}

Summarizing is one of the hardest parts of writing and reading for kids. Teachers expect details, but not too many. They want to know about a specific event or book, but rewriting the summary on the back of the book isn’t acceptable and telling the play-by-play is just way too much information. Here’s a free printable to help your child write summaries. This is useful in elementary through high school summarizing activities.

Learn more: 3 Ways To Get Your Kids Reading This Summer

Use this printable in writing, reading, social studies, science, current events… nearly any classroom assignment of “summarize” will be a bit easier using this simple graphic organizer.

how to write a summary

How to use this free summarizing worksheet

To help your child with a summary, ask him first to identify the event, reading, or book and write a brief “what happened?” summary. It may be as simple as “she found the dog”, “he was elected president”, or, in the case of the sample, below, based on the Power Outage during the 2013 Super Bowl, “the power went out.”

To make things even easier, I have kids fold back the first box so that they only have to think about a basic summary first.

Next, ask children to fill in the boxes identifying who, where, when and why. No sentences are necessary here, just the details.

Finally, move to the bottom What happened? box. This time, children should combine their answers in the green and blue boxes to write 3-5 detailed sentences that will summarize the event, topic or story.

Sample Event Summary

how to write a summary

Please enjoy this free printable from Julieverse!

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mom of 3 and wife living in the Philadelphia suburbs, Julie is a former elementary school teacher and a Public Relations manager. She is the owner/editor of Julieverse, a merchandiser with Chloe + Isabel ( and founder VlogMom and Splash Creative Media. A marketing strategist and freelance education and parenting writer by trade, Julie attempts to carve out time to enjoy playing with her kids, PTO, cooking and exercise.

© 2013 – 2016, Julie Meyers Pron. All rights reserved.


    • says

      Hi Erica, Yes, this worksheet can be used for non-fiction summaries. The example summarized a live event. Depending on the passage, it should be easy to use for historical Non-Fiction. Some science may be a bit more difficult, though it’s easy to use to summarize an experiment or a law of science. Hope this is helpful!

      • says

        Oh it is so helpful.i am only ten and i wasn’t really sure what a summary was,but then i found this and i thought maybe i CANuse this.thankyou so much.if you didn’t make this website,i would have never knew.
        I bet i will a great grade for my homework thanks.


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