To sum up: help your teen learn to summarise

12 - 15 years
Mother and son studying

One of the most important study techniques your teen will learn is how to summarise. Summarising helps students understand, remember and communicate information. Learning to summarise well early on can help your teen to set the foundation for good study habits in the later schooling years. Here are three quick tips to help your teen summarise.

Relevant and irrelevant

Summarising is all about recording shorter, key ideas out of a big chunk of text.  You could help your teen practice doing this by reading a page from a book and asking your teen to write down the important parts as you go. Then you could talk about why these were (or weren’t) the most relevant ideas in the text. Encourage your teen to identify and write down the most important ideas in their own words on a separate page.

Highlighting key notes and phrases

Once your teen has an understanding of key ideas, suggest they try highlighting or underlining the most important parts of a text. You could explain that this is one helpful way of summarising – when they’re looking at the text again, they can just concentrate on the highlighted areas.


Your teen can also learn to summarise by writing key headings on a page and jotting their notes underneath them. For example, if they are summarising a novel, you could suggest they use chapter names as the headings, and write five or six key ideas below the heading to capture what happens in the chapter.


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Last modified
20 April 2020