Shrink that Thought!

Practice in Summarization: A Reading to Learn Lesson

Samantha Dobbin


Rationale: As students progress through school they become better readers and gain many useful strategies. The strategy we will be working on now will help children derive meaning and understanding from the texts they read. This strategy is called summarization and it helps students to comprehend the meaning within the text and organize it in a neat and informative way. Teaching students to summarize will show them how to find out which information is the most important in any text. This lesson will teach students to extract important information from texts and summarize that information in their own words.    



Class set of "Get Set for Tests" articles from Time for (see reference list for web address)

"A Win for Elephants" article from Time for (see reference list for web address)

White Board





Assessment Checklist for each child (see attached)

Comprehension Questions



1. Say: "Hello everyone! Does everyone remember what we worked on last week? Fluency! Just for a review, we read and reread passages to become quick expressive readers in working on our fluency. As we learn something new today remember to read and reread so you will get the full effect of the text. When we struggle with our fluency, we miss out on what the text is really all about. When we miss what the reading is about, we haven't done our job as successful readers! Has anyone ever heard of the word summarization? Summarization is summing up all of the important information from a text, article, or passage so we can understand it and deleting everything else that is not needed." "Can anyone tell me why summarizing could be important or if they have done it before?" Make a list of times when/why it is helpful to use summarization.

2. Say: "When we summarize, there are three parts we must do. First, pick out all of the important ideas from the story you just read. Then, make sure to reread all of the important details you picked and delete anything you do not need. Finally, put together all of the details you found and make a topic or summative sentence(s)."  "Can anyone tell me all three of the summarization steps? Excellent, let's keep working!" It might be helpful to write these three ideas on the board for students to see.

3. Say: "Ok, now we are going to read "Get Set for Tests" and I will demonstrate how I summarize passages."  I will begin by reading the article aloud and then I will summarize it by following the three step process. "Does anyone remember what I should do first? That is right pick out all of the important details." I will write the details on the board: The No Child Left Behind law says that students in grades 3 through 8 must be tested each year. Schools across the country are teaching students to relax through breathing and stretching exercises. "The experts at offer these test-taking tips: Take care. Get enough playtime, rest and healthy food. Be prepared. Pay attention in class. Do your homework. Think positively. Tell yourself, "I'm ready to do my best." Ask for help. Tell parents and teachers how you feel." "Now I will reread the important information and delete anything I do not need. I think we may not need the part about the No Child Left Behind Law in grades 3 through 8." All of this will also be noted on the board. "I am going to put together the important parts to make a topic or summative sentence: Schools are finding ways to help reduce student stress due to testing."  "So, now I am going to organize my thoughts to put together the important ones for the summary: The article talked about the stresses of test taking for children with the increased pressures of testing thanks to No Child Left Behind. It listed ways that they can help themselves do well including getting enough rest, play time and healthy food, as well as keeping a positive attitude and maintaining a healthy lifestyle."

4. Now the students will practice summarizing on their own. Each student will receive a copy of "A Win for the Elephants" (from Time for Kids) that they will be able to write on and practice summarizing the passage. "This article is about the struggle of people wanting to hunt elephants for their tusks to get ivory. This is slowly wiping out the elephant population. Read this article to find out what people are doing about it." I will remind them of the three steps on the board tell them a little bit about what the article is about. The students will read the article and work on their papers as they follow the three steps finding important ideas, getting rid of useless information and marking interesting facts. Finally, the students should create their topic sentence and write their summary.

5. Assessment: I will call each of the students up to my desk individually to read the summative sentence(s) they have written about "A Win for the Elephants." I will mark their progress on a checklist (see attached) to determine if they understand the skill or if they need more help.  While I am assessing students individually the other students will be in groups of two-three discussing the article and their summaries.




Times for Kids:,27972,,00.html


Times for Kids:,27972,1976162,00.html


Ashley Buckelew. Look Who's Summarizing!


Ansley Salter. Tell me in Short!


Summarization Assessment Checklist


Did the student:



Read the article?



Pick out the most important information from the article?



Delete unnecessary information?



Understand the information from the article?



Write a sentence(s) summarizing the most important parts of the article read?





Comprehension Questions

What is the main idea of this article?

What is one thing that you learned about the main idea of this article?

What would happen in the future if the ban on ivory sale was lifted?

Why is it important to keep the ban on ivory in place?



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