Research - Summarizing and Note Taking


A. Chamot & O'Malley emphasize explicitly teaching summarizing for ELLs. (Chamot & O'Malley, 1994)

B. When ELLs are taught to understand different text patterns, such as cause-and-effect or chronological patterns, along with the signal words that accompany them, their reading and writing skills improve. (Short, 1994)

C. Reading comprehension and information retention increases when students incorporate "summary frames" which are a series of questions designed by the teacher to guide understanding and highlight critical elements for different texts. see Focus on Effectiveness.

D. Marzano, et. al, and Hill & Flynn reference the work of Anderson & Hidi, who reviewed and summarized numerous studies on summarization. They found three generalizations:

a. To effectively summarize, students need to delete, substitute and keep some information.

b. To delete, substitute and keep information, students need to analyze the information at a deep level.

c. Students need to be aware of the explicit structure of the information.

Note Taking

Flippo & Caverly, A Handbook of College Reading and Study Strategy Research, note:

A. Notetaking improves test performance, however, reviewing the notes had a bigger impact on test performance and memory storage.

Hill & Flynn note four key points:

A. Verbatim note taking is the least effective way to take notes, because students are not engaged in synthesizing information, a key component of note taking.

B. Notes should be considered works in progress and teachers need to explicitly teach the process using research-based strategies.

C. Notes should be used as study guides for tests, and teachers should ensure ELLs use visual representations, especially in early stages of acquisition.

D. The more notes the better, as long as they are NOT verbatim notes. For ELLs, the more graphics, the better.