Prehistoric Summarizing

Reading to Learn

Mary Cam Carlson

Rationale: The goal of reading is for students to understand and comprehend what they read.  In this lesson, the students will learn how to summarize.  Summarization has 5 important steps: delete unimportant information, delete repeated information, substitute easy terms for lists of items, substitute a series of events with one easy action term, and select/invent a topic sentence.  In learning to summarize students will gain a tool to help them improve reading comprehension. 


Dino Drama

Fuzzy was He? (copies for each student)

Smart Board


1. Say: Does any one know what a summary is? It is retelling the most important parts of a reading.  You tell the reading in your own words.  It might sound different from someone else's but you will learn the same information about the reading. Lets try some together!

2.  When we summarize we need to remember 5 important things.  First we delete information that we don't need.  Next we take away information that is repeated.  Then we make lists of terms, and group several events into one general event.  The last thing to do is make a topic sentence to start the summary. 


Let's do a review before we begin reading. 

Prehistoric: This means something very old that lived a long time ago.  Some animals are prehistoric

Use: Dinosaurs are a prehistoric animal, but dogs were bred later and are not as old as dinosaurs. 

Which sounds prehistoric? An alligator or a cat?

Finish the sentence:  prehistoric animals are … (possible ending) mainly extinct but some are still alive today. 




3.  Now I am going to show you how to make a summary. (done on the smart board) First I am going to read my passage silently to myself.  Then after that, I am going to go through and mark out information that I don't need, that does not pertain to the man idea of the story. I call that trivia. Is anything repeated? (cross off with pen) Next I am going to circle the most important things, and group them accordingly to simplify the information.  Now I will make my topic sentence, and add my other sentences to create a summary. 

Achoo! We all sneeze sometimes. Sneezing is a reflex that your body does automatically. That means you cannot make yourself sneeze or stop one once it has started. When you sneeze, your body is trying to get rid of bad things in your nose, such as bacteria. You have extra germs when you have a cold, so you sneeze a lot more. You might also sneeze when you smell pepper!

Everyone sneezes.  It is an automatic reflex that protects bacteria from getting into out body. 

4.  Let's do it together! Read Dino Drama to yourself.  What do you think we need to cross out? What seems important?  Is anything repeated? Can we group anything? What is a good topic sentence?  Lets write this summary together. 

5. Now lets see if you can do it with out me! Every one has a passage about "Fuzzy was He?" This article is about some new dinosaur fossils that were found.  Could this be a new species that was discovered? Read and find out! Read it to yourself and write a summary.   When you finish switch with a neighbor and check each other's work.  Then please turn it in. 




Students' summaries will be assessed based off of the following rubric. 



Maggie McKinney, Wild Animal Safari Summaries

Dino Drama

Fuzzy was He?



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