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The central ideas of a text convey the most important points that the author is trying to make. Central ideas can be determined by examining key details, like significant facts, definitions, quotations and text features. Once you have determined the central ideas in a text, you can use the central ideas to develop a summary.

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A good summary contains the most important central ideas and supporting key details written in your own words. Often times, a text has an overall central idea and several additional central ideas for different sections of the text. When drafting your summary, use your own words to state the overall central idea as your topic sentence. Include only the most important central ideas and key details from the different sections of the article to complete your summary.

You have already identified the central ideas in the article, “Making Waves: How Wind Whips Up the Perfect Swell Opens a new window. On the following page, you will use these central ideas and key details from the text to write a summary.