Integrated Writing (Summarizing)


This section of the textbook is the perfect time to talk about integrated writing. Integrated writing (especially on the TOEFL writing task 1) is all about comparison and summarizing. You are taking what you learn from different places and bringing it all together into a much shorter review of the most important and relevant information.

Important & Relevant

When you are summarizing the information from the sources, you must first decide what information is essential to understanding the topic. This means you need to think about the audience and your own writing. 

The idea of important and relevant information is that anything you include from a source must be purposeful. It needs to be directly connected to the prompt and the expected organization of your writing. Do not include something in your summary that is just interesting but not important and relevant.

 TOEFL IntegratedClass Integrated
AudienceThe reader wants you to explain as much as possible from each source in the limited time. The listening is more important than the reading. Think if the reader needs more or less context from that source. You only want to include what is necessary.
Your WritingYou cannot include any additional information from your background knowledge on the topic. Your own organization will be the standard for if general or specific information is needed.
ContentThere is always the same structure. There is a main idea. There are three major details in each source. The details either contradict each other or support each other.You need to decide if a very specific piece of knowledge (like a statistic) is important to support your major details. 

Writing the Summary

When you write your summary, using a T-chart and/or a list of the points that were most important and relevant is a good place to start. Making that short bullet list helps you to see the information in the most basic form.

Organizing that information then depends on the context.

In the TOEFL writing task 1, you should always present the information in the same order that it is given in the original sources. The structure follows the point-by-point comparision format rather than the block style.

In your own writing, you will need to think about where the summary will be used and why it will be used.

The summary should transition easily from your own supporting detail. This is most easily done if the first point from the summary matches the last idea in the sentence immediately before.

The purpose of the summary should be clear. Think about what the purpose of that summary is? What claim, detail, reason, description, etc is it supporting? 

Writing is not a mathematical equation. There are patterns that can help make things easier. However, using the same "formulaic" structure for your summaries makes them boring and weak. Remember that the context will always decide the importance, relevance, and organization of your summary.


Exercise 1: Review

With a partner, choose one of the review points to present to the class. Practice explaining the connection between the skill from that section and integrated writing. If possible, share an example with the class of a writer using this skill effectively.

Exercise 2: Integrated Writing Practice

Watch the video and take notes on the main idea and any major details. Then click on the article and read that source. You will then use your notes to answer the prompt. You will have 30 minutes to write your response. You should have at least 300 words in your answer.

Prompt: Describe the characteristics of a good listener using the points from the video. What benefits do the video and article explain result from really listening? Use at least one specific example from the reading to illustrate this concept.


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