We see prefatory comments before several different accounts in Genesis: 1:1; 2:4; 5:1; 6:9; 10:1; 11:10; 11:27. [read them now]. The prefatory comment introduces (and sometimes briefly summarizes) what the author is about to give a detailed account of following that comment. What follows the prefatory comment is a detailed description of the comment itself. These prefatory comments keep getting smaller and smaller until we simply read, "This is the account of Terah." (11:27).
With this context in mind, Genesis 1:1 is basically saying, "The following is an account of when God created the heavens and the earth," and then beginning in verse 2 we read the account of when God created the heavens (sky) and the earth. The Hebrew words in Genesis 1:1 could be interpreted to say God created the heavens and the earth, or they could be interpreted as a prefatory comment, like we see later contextually. The reason the prefatory comment translation is better isn't necessarily because of the Hebrew words in Genesis 1:1, but because of the later context. [Again read those I listed].
What I find amazing though, is that if we take the contextual translation we have an already existing but unformed and even chaotic earth, even though Christians claim God created the earth "out of nothing." [a belief that was adopted later in history among the Hebrews as their views of God developed into the highest form of monotheism in 2nd Isaiah]. An already existing earth parallels ancient polytheistic beliefs where the gods merely formed the earth as well. They did not create the earth out of nothing, either.
Contextually, in Genesis, we do not find God creating the earth at all, at least not out of nothing. Contextually speaking, when it says God created the earth it means God formed an already existing planet. It just exists. And even more amazing it exists prior to the universe of stars and planets which were all created on the fourth day. This goes contrary to astronomy and the findings of science so clearly that scholars who adopt the more natural contextual reading of the first verse in Genesis usually see the whole account as mythical in nature.