Summarizing Text Practice Exercises

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Updated on Sep 29, 2011

Read the following study guide for a concept review:

Summarizing Text Study Guide

Summarizing Text Practice Exercises

Practice 1: The Gift of the Magi

Based on a story by O. Henry

Read the selection; then answer the questions that follow.

(1) One dollar and eighty-seven cents. That was all she had. And the next day would be Christmas. Della flopped down on the shabby old couch and cried. She wanted so much to get something special for her husband Jim, but she only had $1.87. Della stood and looked at herself in the mirror. Her eyes were red. She didn't want Jim to know she'd been crying. She let her hair fall to its full length, almost to her knees, and began to brush it. Jim loved her soft, long hair. The only thing he liked more was the gold watch that had belonged to his father and grandfather.
(2) Suddenly Della had an idea. She piled her hair on top of her head, put on her old brown jacket and hat, and fluttered out the door and down the steps to the street. She stopped at a door that read: Madame Sofron, Hair Goods Della ran in and asked, "Will you buy my hair?"
(3) "Take off your hat and let me see," said Madame Sofron. She looked at Della's shiny hair and said, "I can give you 20 dollars."
(4) For two hours, Della went from store to store, looking for a special gift for Jim. At last, she found it . . . a simple gold watch chain. It would replace the old leather strap he now used on his beloved watch!
(5) When Della got home, she fixed her head in short close-lying curls. She looked in the mirror, satisfied with the new look. She had dinner ready by 7 o'clock, but Jim had not come home. Della began to worry; he was never late. At last she heard him come up the steps. The door opened and in walked Jim. "You've cut off your hair!" he said sadly when he saw Della.
(6) "I sold it," said Della. "But I'm still me, aren't I?"
(7) "Of course," Jim said softly as he took a package from his coat pocket. "But if you'll unwrap this package you'll see why I am sad."
(8) Della's fingers tore at the string and paper. Inside she found a set of combs she'd once admired in a shop window. They were beautiful, with jeweled rims that would have looked magnificent in her handsome, long hair.
(9) "Oh, Jim, how lovely," she cried. "I shall wear them when my hair grows. It grows fast. But see," she added happily, "I have a gift for you!"
(10) Della held out the watch chain in her open palm. "I hunted all over town to find it. Give me your watch. I want to see how it looks on it!"
(11) Instead, Jim sat on the couch and began to laugh. "Oh, Della," he said, "I sold my watch to get the money to buy your combs!"
(12) Della sat beside him and together they laughed. They were happy, yet sad, to know that each had given up a prized possession for the love of the other. It was a special Christmas that year, a day filled with love.
1. A summary is a retelling of a story that
a. is always shorter than the original text.
b. must be at least two paragraphs long.
c. has no ending.
d. gives new information that was not in the story
2. Which is the best one-sentence summary for paragraph 1?
a. Della is sad because Jim sold his watch.
b. Della is sad because she doesn't have much money to buy a gift for Jim.
c. Della is sad because her mother can't come to visit.
d. Della is sad because she has no new coat to wear.
3. Which would NOT be important to include in a summary of the story?
a. Della has beautiful long hair
b. Jim has a gold watch that belonged to his father and grandfather.
c. Della wanted something special for Jim.
d. Della and Jim lived in an apartment.
4. Which is the main idea of the story?
a. Della changes her hairstyle.
b. Jim and Della plan a special Christmas dinner.
c. Jim and Della sacrifice to get each other special gifts.
d. Della only has old clothing to wear.
5. Write a summary of the story. Try to summarize in just a few sentences.

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