Sunday, October 22, 2017

Seven Summarization Tools for Students

When students go to read an article online, it can be helpful to start with a simpler, shorter, summarized version.

Having a summarized version of an article can help student comprehension in several ways:

  • It can serve as an advanced organizer to help the students know the main ideas to look for in the full article.
  • It can provide the student with the key points of the article, if they struggle with pulling out this information themselves.
  • It can be a replacement for the full article for a struggling student who wants to read the same article as other students but would benefit from a shorter version.

Thankfully there are many summarization tools available online for students to use. Most all of these tools work by analyzing the full article, using algorithms to weigh the relative importance of each word and sentence in the text, and then pulling out what is determined to be the most critical information.

See below for a list of seven such tools. Most of these are Chrome Web Extensions, but the list also includes a bookmark tool and a website.

Bookmark Widget - Resource Link

SMMRY is one of the tools in this list that is not a Chrome Web Extension. Instead SMMRY is what's called a Bookmark Widget. To get the tool, go to the SMMRY website at and drag and drop the widget onto your bookmarks bar. Now you will have the tool to use on any website you visit.

To use SMMRY:

  • Visit a website with an article to read.
  • Click the SMMRY bookmark widget which will read "One-click Summary".
  • You will now get an abridged version of the article with 7 sentences by default.
  • If you want more or fewer sentence, enter a new number in the sentence summary box at the top of the page.
  • Optionally you can click the "Settings" button at the bottom to make adjustments such as excluding questions, exclamations, and quotations.

Chrome Web Extension - Resource Link

TLDR stands for "Too Long Didn't Read". This was a great summarization tool that went away for several years, but recently came back. With the extension installed, simply open an article online, and click the extension to get a summary.

By default TLDR will open a pop-up with a short version of the article. However, you can use the toolbar on the side to switch from the short version to medium length, long length, or full size for the article. When done, simply close out of the TLDR window.

3) Resoomer
Chrome Web Extension - Resource Link

Resoomer is another Chrome Web Extension for summarizing articles. When you view an article online and click on the extension, a new tab will open up with the summarization. Resoomer offers three levels of summarizing, from short to medium to long. By default the article will open up in the long version, but you can use the slider to reduce it further to the other levels.

In addition to summarizing the article, Resoomer also cleans up the page in the new tab by removing ads and other non-article content, and displays the text with simple black words on a white background.

4) Internet Abridged
Chrome Web Extension - Resource Link

Another option for summarization is the Chrome Web Extension called Internet Abridged. Clicking on this extension will open a pop-up window with a bullet list of the most important sentences from the article. This tool does not have an options to change how long the summary is, but longer articles will have more bullet points in their summary.

One thing feature that is different about Internet Abridged is the option to get a summary for just a portion of text, rather than the entire page. Simply highlight the text you wish to summarize, then right-click on it and choose "Summarize Selected Text". The shortened text will now be inserted into the webpage above your selection.

5) Auto Highlight 
Chrome Web Extension - Resource Link

The Auto Highlight extension takes a different approach to summarizing. Instead of removing the non-essential portions of the text, it highlights what is most important. Simply click the extension when reading an article online, and the most important sentences will be highlighted yellow. You can click the extension again to get more sentences highlighted, and a third time to get the most sentences highlighted. Clicking it again will turn off the highlights and let you start over if you wish.

This approach of highlighting, rather than removing, allows the reader to still look at the rest of the article if needed. They can read through the highlights first, and then as needed can read the other unhighlighted sentences from the original article.

6) Read&Write for Google Chrome
Chrome Web Extension - Resource Link

As I have mentioned in many previous blog posts, Read&Write for Google Chrome is an excellent extension for accessibility and accommodations. Among the many features it has, Read&Write can also summarize web pages. This features is, however, part of the premium paid version of Read&Write. I am including that here though, because many schools do purchase Read&Write, and I want to make sure they are aware of this option.

To summarize with Read&Write, open a web article, click the Read&Write extension to open its toolbar, and then click the "Simplify page" icon on the toolbar. A new tab will open with just the text of the article, in black text on a white background. At the top of the article you can click the minus "-" button to summarize the article and reduce its length. Each time you click the minus button the text will be reduced further. Clicking the plus "+" button will increase the length of the article.

7) Online Summarize Tool
Website - Resource Link

This final summarization is not a Chrome Web Extension, but instead is a website. Although this may not be as convenient as just clicking an extension, it is still a valuable tool that is worth checking out. To use this tool you will want to copy the web address for the article you wish to summarize, then go to the "Online Summarize Tool" website and paste in that link. Finally click the "Summarize It" button to get the summary.

If you want more details you can click the "Show options" link which will let you adjust several settings including:

  • Threshold - How high a sentence must score to be included in the summary. A higher threshold will mean fewer sentences get included.
  • Number of lines - Instead of setting a threshold score, you can specifically indicate how many sentences to include in the summary.
  • Show best words - This will add a list of the most important words from the article.
  • Keyword highlighting - This option will display the summary, and will increase the font size for the keywords based on their importance to make them more visible.


Summarization tools can be a valuable resource for students to improve their comprehension of online text, help them understand the key points of an article, and even serve as a useful pre-reading summary of what they are going to read. If you know of other tools that can help with this, please include them in the comment below.

Also, if you are interested in other tools to help with accessibility and accommodations, be sure to check out my earlier post of "Chrome Web Extensions for Struggling Students".

Post by Eric Curts. Bring me to your school, organization, or conference with over 50 PD sessions to choose from. Connect with me on Twitter at and on Google+ at

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