Text summary and analysis

Copyright © 2014 Emma Gore-Lloyd

This is a great way to get Proficiency students (although it could be adapted for Advanced or FCE students) reading, finding useful vocabulary in the text and sharing it with each other. I got it from the inspiring Elspeth Pollock who gave a talk on teaching CPE students in Seville in February.  She reminded us that proficiency students are (at least in Spain) pretty special students and this should be reflected in the classes. I have used her General Text Analysis handout and also adapted it to make my own for my class and I attach both here with her permission.

Here´s what you do: After doing a class activity or exam practice on a certain topic, ask your students to go home and find an article in English on the same sort of general topic – something which interests them – and to follow the instructions on the handout. The instructions are as follows: summarise the text (practice for Part 1 of the Writing paper), highlight the facts and opinions in 2 different colours, and find some collocations and expressions. They then report back in class and share their new vocab.

Even though there are instructions involved, the students are encouraged to read what they want and investigate and share what piques their interest. My students were really motivated to do this task, enjoyed sharing their vocabulary and asked to do it again. I found it really interesting to hear about what interests them and it was great to see them owning their class. Highly recommended!

Elspeth’s original text analysis handout.

My version: text summary and analysis


  1. You are LUCKY! We do something similar with our TOEFL students, and they despise it. They much prefer being assigned vocabulary words rather than discovering their own. I don’t know if it takes more effort for them, or what!
    Regardless, glad to see some students enjoy this!

  2. Reblogged this on susiesays.

  3. Reblogged this on Ella's World of English and commented:
    This is a great follow-on to my last post about learning words with corpora. I have to try ozdic.com for collocations with my students

  4. I heard about a very similar activity at the UECA PD FEST in Australia last month. I used it in my class recently and it went across very well with most of the students. The presenter, Garth Brennan, did a research project on this, explained here if you’re interested:
    Brennan, G. (2012). Students Perception of a Content-Learning Tasked Based Activity that Uses Authentic Material to Promote Meaningful Conversation. Studies in International Relations, 33(1), p.65-71. http://www.ir.nihon-u.ac.jp/pdf/publication_02_33_01.pdf

    1. I am interested! Thanks!

  5. Reblogged this on ICT in ELT and commented:
    I’ve tried to do it this way and received very positive feedback from my students. I also created a summary template students can use to write their summaries. It’s quite simple but effective. Basically, it looks like this: First, the authors draws attention to/emphasizes… Next, s/he gives an example of… Further, s/he specifies that… Finally, s/he makes a conclusion that… It helps to organise a summary better, which is smth. my Ss have a problem with

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