Date of Award


Degree Type


Degree Name

Bachelor of Education Honours


Faculty of Education

First Advisor

Dr Peter Sloan

Second Advisor

Judith Rivalland


Summarizing is one of several study skills students are asked to do as evidence of their ability to learn from texts and it is one which students find difficult. Research suggests that part of the difficulty students experience with summarizing is due to the lack of instruction students received in summary writing and the quality of that instruction. Therefore the purpose of this study was to design an instructional procedure for teaching summary writing to primary school students and to investigate the; effects this form of instruction had on students' summaries. This study involved pre-testing, instruction in summarizing, followed by a Post Test and a delayed summary writing task. The Post Test was administered immediately following the completion of instruction. The delayed summary writing task was administered one month later and was conducted in order to investigate the durability, application and contextual use of skills and strategies learnt from the instruction in summary writing. The instructional format for writing summaries was developed from a review of past research studies which had successfully taught students to summarize. The characteristics of procedures in each of the studies were tabled and the common elements identified. The rationale and theory behind these common elements were found to be similar to that of direct instruction, metacognitive instruction and co-operative learning strategies. Therefore the instruction procedure designed for this study was named the Combined Approach To Summarizing Procedure, or the C.A.T.S. Procedure. The results indicated that for this sample of 21 year 6 students both the quantity and quality of information being recorded in their summaries increased. Students in this study improved and maintained the number of main ideas statements being produced in their summaries and they were found to be combining main ideas and supporting details more frequently. Although immediately following instruction the amount of unimportant information was reduced, and the amount of inferences increased, this was not maintained in the delayed summary writing task. It was found that there was no difference between the improvements made by lower ability readers and the remaining students in the study, in terms of the amount and type of information being recorded in their summaries.