Summary / Response

How to Write a Summary / Response

A summary is a collection of main points and major supporting details of a reading passage.

Your summary should:

  1. Arrange the main points in approximately the same order as they appeared in the original article.
  2. Make notable references to either the article or to the author. 
  3. Make sure your opinion is NOT expressed in the summary.

A response is the reader’s evaluation of a passage.

To write a response, 

  1. Select one or two points the author made and respond to them, either agreeing or disagreeing. 
  2. Support your position by using persuasive language.  Include facts, examples, explanations, or experiences that can either support or refute the article.



  • The first sentence in the summary states the title, author’s full name, and the main idea of the article.
  • The supporting sentences capture the main points of the passage in a paragraph style using transition words for readability.
  • The conclusion restates the main idea and leads into the response.
  • All information is written in your own words.


  • The first sentence of the response states the title, and then a quote from the article that the writer wants to comment on.
  • In the next sentence the writer paraphrases the quote in their own words.
  • Then the writer clearly states their position on the issue. Ex: I strongly disagree with…
  • In the supporting sentences the writer  provides convincing evidence in the form of explanations, examples, or facts .
  • The response does not need a conclusion.



In the article, “South Carolina City makes being homeless illegal” Barnini Chakraborty discusses the city’s decision to penalize the homeless in an attempt to restore the economy. A plan to prohibit homelessness was passed by the Colombia City Council on August 13, 2013. As a result, of the new law, homeless shelters will be moved outside the city in an attempt to reduce crime and reestablish business. However, according to the article, not everyone believes this plan will solve the issues because they say it does not address the main problems of homelessness or accurately addresses the cost of such a project.


In “South Carolina City makes being homeless illegal” (2013) the author states that, “…the city’s homeless problem has been eroding economic opportunities for decades.” If it is true that the homeless are to blame for the “eroding economic opportunities,” then the issue of societal responsibility to the “homeless” equally needs to be addressed. I strongly disagree with the South Carolina City Council’s decision to “criminalize” homelessness, and at the same time strongly agree with “the others” who believe the plan is defective in that it does not adequately solve the heart of the problem of homelessness. Homelessness is a symptom of a much larger issue that is not always evident on the surface, or understood by the public. “Criminalizing” homelessness is to merely “sweep it under the carpet” hoping it will go away. If we are to eliminate homelessness, we must own the problem as if it were ours.

Richard Carrigan

Richard Carrigan has been an educator for over 30 years and a filmmaker for the past thirteen years. He has experience teaching business English and conversational English in Asia and teaching academic English at the university level in the United States.