Super Summarizers!

Reading to Learn

By: Ana Eagerton


Rationale: One of the main goals of reading 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. When students summarize the material, they are choosing the main ideas, and highlight 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. They will summarize an article in order to understand the deeper meaning contained in it. Students will use the following summarization rules: choose a topic sentence, cross out unimportant details or repeated ideas, and highlight important ideas and put into one sentence.



Paper for students

Pencils for students

Highlighters for students


White board

Copies of the article, "What’s in a Cloud" (one per student)

Copies of the article, "Giant Jellyfish Invasion" (one per student

Summarization Rules: choose a topic sentence, cross out unimportant details or repeated ideas, and highlight important ideas and put into one sentence.

Assessment checklist



1. "Hello students! Today, we are going to practice a new strategy as we are reading. Our main focus is going to be on summarizing because this will help us to comprehend the passage better as well as become wonderful readers! Does anyone know what a summary is?" (wait for a response) "Yes, correct! A summary is a shorter version of a long story or article, containing only the main facts and ideas of the story or article. To summarize, we will first need to learn our summarization rules. The summarization rules are: First, choose the main idea of the article. This is usually the topic sentence. Then, cross out useless sentences or repeated ideas. Last, highlight the important facts and ideas and condense these into just a few sentences. Let's get started!"


2. "Today, we are going to practice 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 look back at the summarization rules 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. Lastly, cross out unimportant and redundant information. Before we get started, we will review our vocabulary words." Vocabulary list: cirrus, stratus, and cumulus.



-Let's look at what the word cirrus means. A cirrus cloud is a cloud that appears way up in the sky. They look “wispy” and thin.


-A cirrus cloud is not the same as a stratus cloud because a cirrus cloud is not close to the ground.


-Finish the sentence: The cloud I see way up in the sky is a _______ cloud because….


3. Model: After going over the vocabulary words and the rules with the students, model how to summarize by reading, "What’s in a Cloud." Pass out a copy of the article to each student and give a book talk: "We are going to read an article about clouds. Did you know there are different types of clouds? Lets read and find out what the different types of clouds are! First, we are going to read the whole passage together." Then, model reading a part of the passage to show the students what summarizing looks like. Pose a question: "How would I summarize the first three paragraphs? Let me show you. First, I would cross out unimportant details, then highlight important details and put into one sentence. A few questions to help you understand what is important and what is not important are the following: What is the article about? What is the point? Ask yourself these questions as you are reading. Watch as I model the first three paragraphs."


What is it about? Clouds (highlight clouds)

What is the point? There are three different types of clouds: Cirrus, Stratus, Cumulus.

Why? The clouds have different names because some are way high in the sky and some are closer to the ground. (highlight)


Summary: There are different types of clouds. The different types of clouds are cirrus, stratus, and cumulus.


4. Guided practice: "Now, let's all try this together! Everyone read the forth and fifth paragraph with me."


Cirrus clouds are the clouds highest in the sky. They appear “wispy” and thin. Stratus clouds are the lowest in altitude, meaning they are closest to the ground. They tend to form a “layer” across the sky and when they are present we often say that the day is “overcast.” Cumulus clouds usually have a flattened base and seem to grow upwards. These clouds tend to be “lumped” together in patches and can look like big puffs of cotton or a piece of cauliflower.


Did you know that you have something in common with clouds? Just like humans, clouds are mostly made of water. The location of the clouds in the atmosphere determines whether the water in the cloud is a solid, liquid, or gas. For example, a cirrus clouds is made mostly of ice crystals. This is because cirrus clouds are high up in the atmosphere where the air is very cold.


Big idea? There are three types of clouds.


Why? Some clouds are closer to ground than other clouds are. This is why clouds have different names.


Summary?  There are three types of clouds. Cirrus clouds are the highest clouds in the sky. Stratus clouds are the lowest clouds closest to the ground. Cumulus clouds are usually flattened and seem to grow upwards. The location of clouds is determined by the state the of matter in the cloud.


5. Whole Text: Give the students a new article to read. Give them time to read the article and have them practice summarizing this article on their own. “Today we will practice our summarizing skills with the article, ‘Giant Jellyfish Invasion’, by National Geographic Kids. This article describes giant jellyfish that are appearing in Japanese waters. The vocabulary words for this section are: siege, global warming, and competition. This article explains how the fisherman knew the giant jellyfish was in the water and why it is dangerous for them to be there. Read the entire article and remember to highlight important facts and details, cross out useless facts, and write a summarizing sentence after each paragraph on your own sheet of paper. Ask yourself: What's it about? What's the point?” 


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


When summarizing did the student…



Delete unimportant information?



Delete repeated information?



Organize items with big idea?



Select a topic?



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




Also, ask comprehension questions such as:

How did the fisherman know there was a giant jellyfish in the water?

Where are the giant jellyfish found?

Why is it dangerous for the giant jellyfish to be in the water?




“What’s in a Cloud?”


Kasey Albright- "Just Get to the Point.. Sum it Up!!"


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