“To Make a LONG story SHORT”


 Reading to Learn design

By: DeDe Carroll


Rationale:  The goal of reading is comprehension.  In order for students to develop good comprehension, they must have comprehension strategies.  Summarization is one important life-long skill for reading. It simply means that you are taking out all of the small details and focusing on the main ideas of the passage.  This lesson is designed to help students develop their summarization skills. In this lesson we will be working on helping children derive meaning and understanding from the texts they read.  Students will be able comprehend the meaning within the text and organize it in an informative way.  They will do this by learning how to identify the important ideas and key details needed while eliminating the unnecessary details.  After understanding and highlighting which important parts throughout the paragraph are needed to comprehend the reading, students can then learn how to organize them in a way (into their own sentences) that will shorten the reading but allow for easier comprehension in the end.



-Poster with summarization rules on it

            1. Get rid of unimportant information.

            2.  Get rid of repeated information.

            3. Substitute umbrella words for list words.

            4. Select a topic.

            5. Make up a topic sentence if there is not one.

-Black marker for each student

-Highlighter for each student

-Poster with "Chipmunks" article on it

-Copy of "Flamingos" passage for each student

-Summarization checklist:


Did the Student . . .



Get rid of unimportant information



Get rid of repeated information



Substitute umbrella words for list words



Select a topic



Make up a topic sentence if there was not one





1. I will introduce the lesson by telling the students that we are going to learn how to make superb summarizations.  "Today we are going to be learning about a really helpful strategy to use while reading, called summarization.  Can anyone tell me what summarization is?  Good job!  Summarization means to take all of the important ideas out of the passage to get the main idea.  We can all be superb summarizers!"


2. I will begin the lesson by reviewing the strategy of crosschecking.  "Class, do you guys remember how to figure out a word that you don't know when you are reading?  We learned how to crosscheck and figure out the word that would make sense in the sentence."  Write the following sentence on the board: "The elephant chewed the peanut."  Now read the sentence incorrectly to the class- "The elephant chowed the peanut.  That sentence didn't make sense.  Let me look back at it and see if I can figure it out.  Oh, it says "The elephant chewed the peanut! See how I used crosschecking to figure out that the sentence said chEWed and not chOWed.  It is always important to remember to use crosschecking when you come to a word that is hard to figure out." Now we need to review some important vocabulary words. “Let’s review one more thing before we get started. I want to review some vocabulary with you all.” Write the following words on the white board: Webbed, Lagoon, Flocks, Organisms. “Let’s look at the words “webbed”. Webbed feet mean that a bird or duck has folds of skin between their toes. This helps them swim. Finish this sentence please class: Ducks have webbed feet to help it ______. Webbed means there is _____ between their toes.” Continue in this fashion with the rest of the vocabulary list.


3. After we review the vocabulary I will display the poster with the summarization rules on it.  I will then read and explain the rules to the students.  "These are the rules that we are going to use to summarize passages that we read.  They will help you to better understand the text. The first rule is to get rid of unimportant information. This means all the “common sense” information that we probably already know. Second is to get rid of repeated information. If you see a fact two or more times, we need to just go ahead and eliminate it because we already know that. Third is to group any list of words into a big word. For instance, we would put this list (dog, cat, bird, pig) under animals, instead of listing all of those again.  The fourth rule is to select a topic. This is so easy. It mean you pick what the article is about. Our article is going to be Chipmunks. It is the overall theme of the passage. Finally, we need to make that topic into a sentence to start our paragraph off right. We would say, “This article is about Chipmunks.” Does anyone have any questions about the summarization rules?"



4. Next I will model how to use the summarization rules.  Direct the students' attention to the poster with the "Chipmunks" paragraph on it.  "I am going to show you how to use these summarization rules as you read.  I am going to read this paragraph and I want you to follow along with me silently.  Then we will write a topic sentence and summary of this article together."


5. Read the paragraph aloud: "Chipmunks are part of the squirrel family, and while they look similar to their bushy-tailed cousins, chipmunks are actually smaller, with alternating light and dark stripes along their cheeks and backs.” After reading the passage aloud, model how to go through the summarization checklist.  "Okay, now that we have read the passage, let's summarize it together using our summarization checklist.  The first rule says to get rid of all of the unimportant information.  To get rid of the unimportant information, we are going to cross it out with our black markers.  First I am going to mark out " while they look similar to their bushy-tailed cousins, chipmunks are actually smaller" because this part is pretty much common sense. We know that chipmunks are smaller than squirrels."  It is important to remember that Chipmunks are part of the squirrel family and they have distinct markings. The next step is to delete any repeated information.  There is no repeated information in this passage, so we can go on to the next step, which is to substitute umbrella words for list words. This passage does not list any words that could be grouped and substituted with an umbrella word. Now we need to decide on the subject of this passage, which are Chipmunks.  Finally we need to write a topic sentence.  The topic sentence that I am going to write for this passage is "Chipmunks are part of the squirrel family and have alternating light and dark stripes along their cheeks and backs.” This is how we use the summarization rules to get the important facts from the passage."


6. Now that you have seen how to use the summarization rules, I want you to practice doing one on your own.  Please get out a sheet of paper and a pencil. I am going to give you an article called "Flamingos". “This is going to tell us about Flamingos, their habitat, and their food preferences. You may find out something very interesting that you didn’t know about these creatures.” I want you to read it silently to yourself and use the tools that I have given you (markers, highlighters) as well as the summarization rules to summarize the passage. When the students have summarized, ask them the following questions to check for comprehension:

            1. Why do flamingos have webbed feet? What do they use them for?

            2. Would Flamingos be more likely to be found in Canada or South America?

            3. Why does the baby Flamingo need its parents?


7. For the assessment portion of this lesson, I will use the same summarization rules checklist that is included in the materials section of this lesson plan.  Students will be evaluated on their ability to delete trivial information as well as the repeated information, find the important information, and create one topic sentence.


8. Finally I will ask for volunteers to share their summaries and generate a class discussion to be sure that all of the students have comprehended what they have read.




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