Here is an exercise that works well in Years 7 and 8.
Label paragraphs in the textbook with a number (e.g. Paragraphs 1, 2, 3, 4 and 5)
Do not choose more than 5 paragraphs
Condense each paragraph to 10 words or less
Start by identifying the key words or dates in the paragraph
Write a proper sentence or sentences (no bullet points)
Do not think of this as an exercise in merely rearranging the words. To condense these paragraphs you must come up with new words and phrases
At the end of the exercise, revise the sentences you have come up with
i. What were the key words or dates ?
ii. What choices did you have to make ?
iii. How can you reduce the number of words without ruining the meaning ?
(From Retroactive 1, p116-117)
Shi Huangdi: Ruler of the First Chinese Empire
Shi Huangdi was the first to rule a united empire and, apart from periods of disunity, this system of imperial rule lasted from 221BC to AD 1911. Shi Huangdi had built the foundation for a very long-lasting system of civilisation
The key words could be:
221BC to AD 1911
System of civilisation
To condense this into 10 words would require decisions like this:
‘He' instead of Shi Huangdi (which should already be in the note book as a heading)
Deciding whether 221BC is more important than AD 1911
The final version could be:
He created a united and long-lasting empire in 221BC (10 Words)
As a final exercise take the notes you have made and, without referring to the original text again, rewrite them into a paragraph. When you have finished, compare your paragraph with the original text. Alter as necessary if you think it does not convey enough sense.
Top | Return to Writing Skills Main Page