Let's be Sensational Summarizers!


A reading to learn lesson

By: Taylor Bullard

Rationale: As students are reading, one of the main goals is comprehension because this shows that they have understood the material that they are reading. One of the key strategies to test for reading comprehension is summarizing. By summarizing the material, the students are choosing the main ideas, and they are highlighting the important facts. This helps them to understand their reading in a more condensed version, while still comprehending the main idea of the material. This lesson will help students gain the skills to summarize an article, in order to understand the deeper meaning contained in it. Students will use the following summarization rules: cross out unimportant details or repeated ideas, reduce parts of the text into fewer words, and choose a topic sentence.



1)Paper for students

2)Pencils for students

3)Highlighters for students


5)White board

6)Copies of the article, "New Dolphin Discovered in Australia" (one per student, one for teacher) Author unknown. Published by National Geographic Kids.

7)Copies of the article, "Helping Dogs and Cats in Need" (one per student, one for teacher) Author unknown. Published by National Geographic Kids.

8)List of summarization rules (above)

9)List of vocabulary words: species, Australia, dorsal fin, tricolored, Aboriginal

10)Assessment checklist (at end of lesson)




1)"Today, we are going to practice a new strategy as we are reading. We are going to focus on summarizing because this will help us to comprehend the passage better as well as become excellent readers! Does anyone know what a summary is?" (wait for a response) "Yes, correct! It is a shorter version of a long story or article, and it contains only the main facts and ideas of the story or article. Give sample diagram of a picture of an umbrella with Main Idea written at the top and Details written in each section of the umbrella to show the students a visual representation of what they are going to do. In order to summarize, we will first need to learn our summarization rules. They are the following: First, cross out useless sentences or repeated ideas. Then, highlight the important facts and ideas and condense these into just a few sentences. And lastly, choose the main idea of the article, so that we can create our topic sentence."


2)"Today, we will practice by reading an article and summarizing it. (I will post the summarization rules on a transparency and place them on the projector for the students to see). Make sure you refer to our summarization rules as you are doing this, and make sure you put the summary in your own words. The best way to do this is to read slowly, reread important parts, and to make notes. Before we get started, we will review our vocabulary words." Vocabulary list: species, Australia, dorsal fin, tricolored, Aboriginal


3)To review the vocabulary, I will do the following things for each word: explain what it means in simple vocabulary, model how to use it, provide sample questions for using the word, and scaffold the students in making a sentence with the word. Example: "Our first word is species. A species is a group of animals or living things that all have something in kind. For example, we are part of the human species. Can anyone tell me a species that they can think of? A cat? That's a good idea, because lions, tigers, leopards, cheetahs, and your cat at home could all be part of the cat species. What do they all have in common? Right, they all have a tail and whiskers. Let's make a sentence with this word. I will start off and I want you to finish it. Many animals belong in the fish species including….(let students answer) catfish, brim, bass, etc.


4)"Before we get to the article with these words in it, I will give you another article and show you what to do when you summarize. (Pass out "Helping Dogs and Cats in Need"). (Booktalk) This article is about dogs and cats that don't have enough food and need someone to help them. How do you think they get assistance? Let's all take a moment to read the article. (Article is short so that it will not be overwhelming.) Great! Now, the first thing I want to do is pick out any information in the article that is not important. So I don't think that we really need to know that Mimi loves animals. Let's all take our pencil and cross that sentence out. Next, we need to pick out places that we can shorten the sentences. I think that instead of saying she was inspired to create a similar website to help dogs and cats in animal shelters that we could just say she was inspired to create a similar website to help pets in animal shelters. This helps us because we are saying the same thing in a shorter way. Next, we need to create our topic sentence. We know that the article is about a girl named Mimi who was inspired to start collecting money for animals in need. Maybe our topic sentence could be Mimi Ausland was inspired to create a website to help pets in need at animal shelters. Now we can use our topic sentence and the information that we have left to write our summary. On your own paper, write the topic sentence and the rest of the information that we have left in your own words. Great job! (Walk around to scaffold the writing.) Another idea would be to use about/point to create the topic sentence. Ask the students, "What is it about?" and "What is the main point?"


5)Simple practice with a whole text: Give the students a new article to read and have them summarize this on their own. "Today we will practice our summarizing skills with the article, "New Dolphin Discovered in Australia", by National Geographic Kids. (Booktalk) This article talks about the new kind of dolphin that has been found near Australia and what it looks like. What do you think it might look like compared to a dolphin that you have seen before?  Don't forget our vocabulary words for this article that we already talked about. (Post vocabulary list to remind students.) Remember, you should first read the article, then cross out any useless information, reduce parts of it to fewer words, compose a topic sentence, and write your summary on your own paper. I will come around to help and make sure everyone is doing well, please raise your hand if you need me."


Assessment: Take up student's summarizations from the article above and evaluate using this table:



When summarizing did the student.....



Delete unimportant information?



Delete repeated information?



Reduce text to few words?

Write an inclusive, simple topic sentence to summarize the passage?





Also, ask the following comprehension questions:

What point was the author making about the topic? (putting together)

Where were the dolphins found and why do you think they were found there? (writer and me)

What is different about these dolphins and how are they different from a dolphin you have seen? (writer and me)

What is the name of the new dolphin and why did they give it this name? (putting together)

What kinds of questions are these? Right there, putting it together, writer and me, or on my own? Put the name next to each question.


National Geographic Kids. Author unknown. "Helping Dogs and Cats in Need". 6 March 2009. Web. 3 April 2012.http://kidsblogs.nationalgeographic.com/kidsnews/2009/03/helping-dogs-and-cats-in-need.html

National Geographic Kids. Author unknown. "New Dolphin Discovered in Australia". 19 September 2011. Web. 3 April 2012.http://kidsblogs.nationalgeographic.com/kidsnews/2011/09/new-dolphin-discovered-in-australia.html

Albright, Kacey. "Just Get to the Point…Sum it up!" Auburn University. Fall 2011. http://www.auburn.edu/academic/education/reading_genie/doorways/albrightkrl.htm

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