Let's Summarize to Comprehend

 Jenilee Foukal: Reading to Learn


After children are able to read with fluency and speed, they must begin to move on to the next step in reading. This is the reading to learn step. The most important goal of reading is comprehension. Children must be able to read and summarize all kinds of reading materials so that they are able to learn. In this lesson, students will learn how to leave out useless information in text and how to focus in on the important information.


-Class set of the article "Tiny Frogs Ring in Spring" by Lyssa White, National Geographic Kids. 6 April 2009.


- Blank bookmarks

-   Colored pencils

-          Semantic chart for each student-has an area for students to label the main idea and key ideas

- Copy of summary checklist for each student that says:


1.  Is unimportant or repeated information left out of your summary? Yes or no          


2.  Are important events and ideas stated? Yes or no          


3.  Do you have a topic sentence that states the author's main idea? Yes or no



1."Today we are going to talk about comprehension.  Does any know what comprehension means?  When you comprehend a book or a text that you read you are understanding the meaning of that text.  A good strategy to use when comprehending text is to summarize the text.  When you summarize a book you are focusing on the main points of the story and deleting the unimportant parts of the story."

2. "In order for everyone to remember how to summarize a story we are going to make bookmarks." I will write the three summarization rules on the board and tell the students to write the rules on their bookmark and that they can decorate it however they want. "The three steps are: 1. Delete information that is not important or is repeated. 2. Highlight the important and necessary details by using key words or headings. 3. Find a topic sentence that covers the main idea and if there is not a topic sentence make one."

3. Next, the class will read "Tiny Frogs Ring in Spring".  "I want everyone to read the article silently to themselves.  For example, I am going to sit at my desk and quietly read the article.  I am not going to talk to my neighbor or read the story out loud.  So everyone find a comfortable spot and read the article.  Be sure to use your summarization rules while reading." Walk around the room and watch kids as they read and answer any questions that might arise. 

4. Have students finish their reading and return to their seats. "Now that everyone is finished reading the story we are going to fill out our semantic charts.  Who can tell me what the main idea of the article was? That's right, this article was about tiny frogs.  Since Tiny frogs is the main idea, I am going to write tiny frogs in the circle of my semantic chart.  Now, I want each of you to finish your semantic chart by writing the key ideas or information outside of your main idea circle." I'll do one example with them if I feel the students need it.

5. In order to assess the students I will have them break into small groups and discuss the events of the article. "Make sure to discuss the important and necessary details with your group." I'll also look at their semantic charts.  I will check to make sure they have written the main idea in the center circle.  I will also check to see if they were able to summarize the story by writing key ideas and information out of the circle.



-"Tiny Frogs Ring in Spring" by Lyssa White, National Geographic Kids. 6 April 2009.


-"Summing it All Up!" by Katie DeFoor



-"Reading to Learn" by Brooke Erickson


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