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Summarise and Order a Story Using Who, What and Why

In this worksheet, students will summarise a text using who, what and why as well as ordering key events.

'Summarise and Order a Story Using Who, What and Why' worksheet

Key stage:  KS 2

Year:  Year 5 English worksheets

Curriculum topic:   Reading: Comprehension

Curriculum subtopic:   Identify and Summarise Main Ideas

Difficulty level:  

Worksheet Overview

When we summarise a text, we give a very short version which only includes the main points and ideas.


A good summary will include who, what and why.

It will tell us what the main event was.

Who was involved in the main event.

Why the main event happened.


girl thinking


Can you summarise your day in one sentence using who, what and why?


Here’s Atri's summary of his day:

I went swimming with my friend to train for our competition.


boy in swimming gear


Here, he told us the main thing he did today (what), who he went with and why he did it.

He left out all the extra information like what time he did everything, what he ate that morning and how he got there.


When you write a summary, you hold all the power as you must decide which information is the most important.

Lots of the story or text may be interesting but only a small amount will be very important.


Read the story below.


A Triathlon to Remember

Jay looked into the calm saltwater lagoon; its surface was sparkling under the sun like a diamond ring. He had spent the past six months tiringly training for this triathlon and finally, the moment had arrived. Cautiously, Jay tested the water, listening for the starting horn. As the horn sounded, Jay dived into the water like a starving dolphin on the search for food. His powerful arms pulled him forwards with every stroke. When he heard the splashing of other swimmers getting closer, he pushed himself harder. Reaching the finishing line in no time, Jay pulled himself out from the water to see that he was in the lead. The water lapped up and down on the rocks like it was giving him a round of applause before he began the next section of the race.


Sprinting over to his bike, the sand crunched beneath Jay’s feet. He quickly pedalled away so he could stay in front. The bike’s wheels spun like a struggling windmill in a hurricane. Looking out at Lanzarote’s lava fields, Jay remembered why he picked this location for his race. It was stunning. The black and red fields were full of craters like the uneven surface of the moon. In the distance, Jay could see his next challenge. He gulped as he saw the steep hill getting closer to him. Struggling to climb the hill in the heat, Jay slowed down allowing two other cyclists to overtake him on the hill. He watched them disappear like sports cars in the distance. Trying not to feel disappointed, Jay pedalled on, knowing he could try and catch them once he was at the top. Reaching the top of the mountain without letting any more cyclists get ahead felt like a win itself. Jay knew he had to catch up. Whizzing down the other side of the mountain, Jay was a turbo jet. As the road flattened at the base of the mountain, Jay caught sight of the second cyclist. He powerfully pedalled until his legs were burning lava to get ahead of him.


Jay began the 10 km run, which was the final event of the triathlon, in second place. If he could overtake one more person, he could win. Victory was in sight. With each stride across the volcanic earth, Jay thought about his family who were waiting at the finish line for him. The sun was getting lower in the sky, creating long shadows like people cheering him on. Jay was relieved that this stretch of the triathlon was without hills. The finish line was in sight and it was his last chance to push past the runner in first place. He fixed his eyes on the finish line and ran like he had never run before. Just before he crossed the line, he managed to step in front of the other runner. A roar of applause erupted around him. This was the best race he’d competed in.


boy running


In this activity, you will summarise and order events from this story.

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