Leon has a problem: Once again he is supposed to write a table of contents. Reading different books and writing a summary of their content is a part of German lessons, both in primary and secondary schools.
Writing a summary – what to include?
If you know the main points of the synopsis, you can easily write a good grade in it. Leon has not yet succeeded. This should now be different. Leon gets help. He asks his friends, parents and also looks on the internet. Collects and compares all the information. Then he starts with the summary. Leon now knows how to.
How to write a summary?
A table of contents must be factual
Unfortunately, many students mix up the synopsis with a narrative or a report. No matter if Jim Knopf and Lukas the locomotive driver, the flying classroom or Alice in Wonderland, nobody can avoid reading books and writing a summary at school.
- Children improve their reading skills,
- they learn to understand texts,
- expand their vocabulary,
- question passages of the books together and
- increase their general knowledge.
One aspect of reading together is always writing a summary of the book. It cleverly and informatively summarizes the content of the stories told, without depriving future readers of the fun of reading for themselves.
Learning materials German – here you can find help for your child
Writing a table of contents helps to understand the plot
Synopses are concise and factual descriptions of a reading, without adding an opinion of their own. Capture the entire story by focusing on the major plot lines. This is not difficult if the content is understood and a few characteristics are taken into account.
Surely you have had your child describe the content of a movie or a book before. The younger the children are, the more difficult it is for them to write a synopsis. Only when a plot is completely understood can a child write a factual synopsis. However, if a child is still captivated or strongly impressed by certain aspects of the story, he or she will not only start with it, but will have a hard time disengaging from it.
How to start the summary?
The table of contents is about the whole
It is only in school that children learn to grasp a story (book or film) as a whole and to understand the story line. Now they can learn how to write a summary. Great importance is attached to a factual description. What the individual child thought or felt while reading the book does not belong in the table of contents. In various situations, not only in the reproduction of a book, factual descriptions are important, for example, as a witness statement to the police. This practices writing a table of contents.
There are 6 points to keep in mind when writing a synopsis
1. The table of contents is always written in the present tense
Wrong: Jim Knopf was a little black boy who lived on the island of Lummerland.
Correct: Jim Knopf is a little black boy who lives on the island of Lummerland.
2. Retrospectives within the summary are written in the perfect tense
Table of Contents
Wrong: It had now been three years since Jim Knopf landed on the island.
Correct: It is now three years since Jim Knopf landed on the island.
3. Only the relevant parts of the plot are mentioned
Wrong: The locomotive Emma is at least as important for the locomotive driver Lukas as his always steaming pipe. Every day he makes his rounds on the steaming train. But one day Luke receives a terrible message from his king. The locomotive is to be abolished for reasons of space. The locomotive engineer cannot allow this and makes a plan.
Correct: When the king of the island wants to get rid of the locomotive for lack of space, Luke makes a decision.
4. A direct speech becomes an indirect speech
Wrong: The king Alfonso the quarter-twelfth says: "Dear subjects, I am of the opinion, the dear Mrs. Waas should take this that new subject and mother place represent."
Correct: King Alfonso the Quarter Twelfth decides that Mrs. Waas should raise the baby.
5. The style remains sober and factual
Wrong: When Luke the locomotive driver learns that Emma is to be abolished, his breath catches in his throat and he grabs at his heart. He will not survive this loss, the man knows that. He fights back tears and ponders how he can avert disaster.
Correct: Since Luke doesn’t want to live without his locomotive, he looks for a solution.
6. The conclusion punch line is part of the content statement
Wrong: Luke, Jim and Emma survive all adventures without a scratch.
Correct: In the end, little Jim not only solves the mystery of his origins, but also frees the beautiful princess Li Si. And there is even a solution for the return to Lummerland. Video on indirect speech
Practice with the W questions and your child’s favorite stories
Don’t wait until the summary becomes a topic in school. Even beforehand, you can practice summarizing the plot of your favorite story with your child from time to time. The well-known W-questions are helpful. Who does what, when, why?
How does he do it and what does it lead to? In this way, your child gradually learns to recognize the most important elements of a story and to form a factual summary from them. By the way, it’s much more fun together! Form a small study group and practice writing a table of contents with the children.
This does not belong to writing a synopsis
Tension, humor or long-winded descriptions are just as wrong in the summary as intense descriptions of emotions or an open ending. Students should learn to write objectively. Your own feelings are not relevant in a content summary. Also, a rating of the story is not desired. The more mistakes your child finds, the better. This is how the 6 points of the synopsis are memorized very well!