Get Excited about Summarization!


Reading to Learn

Erin Frasier

 Rationale: After we have learned to become fluent readers, we must then focus on comprehension of the text. One of the best ways to do this is to learn summarization strategies. This strategy is most used in the process to understanding the text. When practicing these skills students will be able to recall and discuss information they have read from any text. In this lesson, students will learn the steps of summarization. This will allow them to better understand the text by "summing it up."

Materials: Paper and Pencil for every student, Dry erase marker, white board, Document Camera, Article: Conservationists Save World's Most Endangered Duck - For Now! for every student, and one for the document camera, highlighter to use for summarizing article on Document camera, Article:  Endangered Frogs Flown to Safety, for every student and Summarization rules slips of paper. Rules: 1. Select a topic 2. Highlight the important details using key words 3. Delete repeated information 4. Delete unimportant information 5. Invent a topic sentence if there is not already one, for each student Assessment question sheet for each student.


1. Say: Today we are going to be talking about summarizing. It is a technique that good readers use to help them remember the story that they are reading. To do this, we look for what the important parts of the story are, or the main idea. Now we are going to practice how we can do that so we can better understand our texts and become excellent readers!

2. Say: Now, let's discuss how to summarize. [Pass out summarization slips of paper] These slips of paper will help you to remember what to do when you begin practicing your summarization techniques. The first step is to pick the topic of the article. The second step is to highlight the important details in the article using key words. The third step is to take away repeated information. For the fourth step we take out the less important ideas. The last step is only needed if there is no topic sentence. If one is needed, then you create a topic sentence.

3. Say: Before we begin reading our article, let's review some key vocabulary we will need to know. Let's start with conservationist. Conservation meets to prevent the loss of. A conservationist is someone who is part of a conservation movement. A conservationist may be a part of an animal movement, or habitats. Would a conservationist try to stop something from growing or flourishing? Right! No, of course not, conservationists want life and its surroundings to flourish, they help things to survive and grow. They keep things from being endangered or extinct. What does endangered and extinct mean? Endangered means that an organism is few in numbers or threatened to become extinct. Extinct means that they are no more of that kind of organism. Do we still have dinosaurs walking the earth?  Right, No! of course not. So are dinosaurs endangered or an extinct organism? Right, they are extinct, because there are no more. Our last word to review is captivity. Captivity is a place in which wild animals are confined for safety or other scientific reasons. Animals that we do not normally see, but may be in a zoo are in captivity. So, is a dog considered to be in captivity? Right, they aren't, but what about a tiger? Right again. Tigers are held in captivity, and some species of tiger are endangered. [Right down words on dry erase board as you talk about them]

4. Say: Now that we have talked about summarizing, you are going to read an article silently to yourself and be thinking about what you think the main topic of the article is. We are going to be reading, "Conservationists Save World's Most Endangered Duck - For Now!" Give a book talk: This article is about some very rare and interesting ducks. They were found and brought to safety so they could breed and help their population grow. This would keep them from becoming extinct. Will they survive the move and being placed back into the world? You'll have to read to find out! Don't forget about the vocabulary words we learned, because these are very important. [Pass out the articles to each student. While students are reading prepare your article and have it ready to go under the document camera when everyone is finished reading.]

5. Say: Let's look at the document camera screen with the article on it. I will demonstrate how to summarize, and then you summarize a different article on your own. I know from our list of rules that the first thing I need to do is find the topic sentence. What seems to be the most important thing here? Everyone take a minute to look at their article. What do you think the topic is? Right, it is about the the Madagascar Pochard duck. So, what is important about these ducks? Now, we need to go through and find the information to this question.[Go back through and highlight key information needed to summarize] They were fuzzy, cinnamon colored and were so rare they were thought to be extinct. Some of this information is unimportant and should be deleted from our summary. So far we have "the Madagascar Pochard duck is a rare species". Do we really need to know the color of the duck? No, it is not what is the most important to this story, so we delete it. [Go through the rest of the article pointing out what is repeated information, unimportant information etc.] They were found and placed in captivity, where they bred to double their original population numbers. The ducks were later released back into the wild. Now let's sum it all up! Read back over all of the words and sentences that we highlighted as important to our summarization, and put them together. Any ideas for our topic sentence? Good! The rare species of Madagascar Pochard Duck was found and placed in captivity, where they bred to double their population numbers, and then released back into the wild. [Write it on the board]

6. Say: Before we begin reading let's do some extra practice with our vocabulary words and summarization rules. I'm going to ask you a few questions and you finish my sentences with the answer. Ready?  Is a conservationist more like a provider or a taker?  Is an animal that is few in numbers and threatened endangered or extinct? Finish this sentence, a rhinoceros was taken from the wild by conservationists and placed into (blank), known as a confined place to recover or live.

7. Say: Now I will pass out the article for everyone. You will be reading an article also about an endangered species. It is called "Endangered Frogs Flown to Safety." [Pass out Endangered Frogs Flown to Safety] Read to yourself. If you need help summarizing take out you paper slips and use them for guidance. One you have finished reading you may highlight or underline information in your article to summarize the way you think is best. Write your summary on a piece of paper. Don't forget to eliminate unimportant or repeated information, substitute easy words for list items, highlight the important things, select a topic, and then finally create a topic sentence.

8. The first assessment will be the summarization each student makes from their article. I will grade based on the summarization rules that they followed. Did they delete trivial and repeated information? Did they create a topic sentence? Etc. Then I will pass out a two question assessment about the article. Question 1. (Pulling it together) Why did scientists not like to move the frogs? What was the cause for doing so this time? Question 2. (Writer and me) What affects on the island could have contributed to the frogs becoming sick? Was it anyone or anything's fault?


Reading Genie: Byrne, Mary-Haley.

First Article:

Second article:

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