The best way to summarize an essay is to start by quickly reading it through. After you read it once, write down what you think the main idea of the author is (or pick the one sentence which seems to tell the main point or thesis of the article). Next, read it again more slowly. This time, underline or highlight the main topic sentence in each paragraph. Then, re-write each of these sentences in their own words either on a hard copy of the essay or in a Word document. Now you can take all of those re-written topic points and use those as the basis of your summary. Re-read all of those sentences, and you should have all of the main ideas of the essay. If you realize there is something missing, then you will have to write that in. However, you aren't finished yet because your summary needs to flow like a smooth paragraph. So take what you've written and re-write it to have the sentences make sense and flow together. Use my Easy Words for Starting Sentences article to help you use the transition words that show the linking of ideas (next, furthermore, moreover, however, on the one hand, not only, but also). If you want to do a really exceptional job, once you have finished your summary, you should go back and look at the original article one last time. Compare your summary with the article and ask yourself these questions:
Have I made the main point of the article clear?
Do I explain what the author of the article wanted the reader to think, do, or believe?
Do I give all the main reasons for the author to write this article?