Before diving into the various ways to start a summary of a text effectively, it’s important to understand what a text summary is. A summary is a shortened version of a larger text, designed to convey key points without including all of the details.

Text summaries are used for several reasons. They can offer a quick overview of a text to help readers determine if they want to read it fully. They also help to identify essential information quickly and can aid in explaining complex concepts. Ultimately, summaries help readers save time and better comprehend the content.

Despite their usefulness, summarizing a text can be difficult. A common problem many people encounter is knowing where to start when summarizing a large text. A great introduction can make a summary stand out, increase readers’ attention, and enhance the impact of the entire content.

Ways to Start a Summary of a Text

There are several ways to begin a summary of a text. Here are seven methods to consider:

A. Introduce the Topic

Many people prefer to start a summary by introducing the topic. This involves providing some background information and context before moving on to the key points of the text.

Starting with an introduction is a great way to help the reader understand the text’s purpose before moving on to the content itself. Introductions can be about the author, the context in which the text was written, or the general subject matter addressed by the text.

For instance, if summarizing an essay about climate change, an effective introduction could provide a brief overview of climate change itself and its significance.

B. Start with a Question

One way to start a summary is by posing a question to the reader. This approach can be effective, especially when it comes to grabbing the reader’s attention. It is commonly used with texts that include an overarching question or theme.

Starting with a question engages the reader and encourages them to continue reading to find out the answer. The question posed should be relevant to the subject matter of the article.

For example, a summary of an article about mental health care could start with a question like “What are the challenges faced by mental health patients in accessing affordable and effective care?”

C. Use a Quote

Using a quote can also be an effective way to start a summary. A quote is brief and can immediately attract the reader’s attention. It can be used to set the tone or introduce a key theme in the text.

The quote should be impactful and should reflect the ideas in the text accurately.

For instance, in summarizing a book about resilience, a quote like “The human spirit can endure a great deal of suffering and still rise up to meet life with dignity and kindness” could serve as a great introduction to the summary.

D. Provide Background Information

Another way to start a summary is to provide background information. This gives readers some context and an idea of what to expect in the text. It is particularly helpful for texts that might not be easily understood without some level of background knowledge.

Background information can include definitions of specific terms or concepts, a brief history to ground readers in a specific time period, or a description of the context in which a book or article was written.

For example, an essay about ancient Rome could open with a brief history of the period, highlighting its importance in history.

E. Start with an Interesting Fact

Starting with an interesting fact can also be an excellent way to capture readers’ attention. It helps them become more engaged and encourages them to continue reading.

The fact shared should be interesting, relevant, and related to the text’s central theme. It could be a statistic, a little-known fact, or a thought-provoking statement.

For instance, a summary of a book about the history of coffee could start with an interesting fact like “The first coffee plant was discovered in Ethiopia in the 11th century.”

F. Provide a Brief Summary

One of the most straightforward ways to start a summary is to begin with a brief summary of the text. This allows the reader to quickly understand what they can expect from the summary and can help set the article’s tone.

A brief summary should offer an overview of the book or article’s main points, usually in one or two sentences. It should be concise and representative of the whole text.

For instance, summarizing a novel like “The Catcher in the Rye” could start with a brief summary like “Holden Caulfield, a teenage boy from New York City, struggles with multiple issues as he transitions into adulthood.”

G. Use a Shock Factor

A shock factor is an attention-grabbing statement or fact that immediately captures the reader’s attention and encourages them to continue reading.

The shock factor could be a statement about a controversial subject, a surprising statistic, or a shocking revelation.

For instance, a summary of an article about climate change could start with “In just a few short years, humankind has pushed the planet to a point of no return, with extreme weather events becoming more frequent and more intense every year.”


In summary, starting a summary may seem daunting at first, but it is essential to crafting a good one. By introducing the topic, asking a question, using a quote, providing background information, starting with an interesting fact, providing a brief summary, or using a shock factor, you can create an effective introduction that will engage readers and help them understand the text.

Remember, the starting point matters. That you choose the appropriate approach will determine whether readers maintain interest and get value from the summary. By using these techniques, you will craft better summaries that get your readers excited and eager to learn more.

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By Happy Sharer

Hi, I'm Happy Sharer and I love sharing interesting and useful knowledge with others. I have a passion for learning and enjoy explaining complex concepts in a simple way.

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