Sinking into Summarization

Reading to Learn

Jillian Induni

ship

 

Rationale: Once children have learned to read accurately and fluently, they must move on to the next step in reading. The ultimate goal of reading is comprehension, and the next step in reading is reading to learn. This lesson focuses on summarizing, a strategy to help students begin to read to learn. This lesson will help students learn to summarize by teaching them to delete trivial and redundant information and focus on the important parts of a text.

 

Materials:

Did the student?

Yes

No

Get rid of unimportant information?

 

 

Get rid of repeated information?

 

 

Underline important information?

 

 

Write an organized topic sentence using only the important information?

 

 

 

 

Procedure:

1. “Today we're going to talk about a strategy to help us comprehend what we're reading. Who remembers what it means to comprehend? (Call on student.)That's right! It does mean to understand the message of what you're reading. The strategy we're going to learn about today is called summarizing. Summarizing is kind of like giving a recap of what's in the text. Summarizing is a great way to help you understand and remember what you read.”

2. “Before we learn more about how to summarize, let's review what we've been talking about lately. Who can tell me what we've been talking about in social studies? (Call on student.) That's right! We have been talking about the oceans and travelers traveling the different oceans to head to different lands. Now let's review some of the vocabulary we've talked about recently. Yesterday we said that a voyage is a course of travel or passage, especially a long journey by water to a distant place. You could say, "Christopher Columbus made a very long voyage." Which of these could be a voyager? A ship, a couch, or a tree? (Call on student.) That's right! A ship could be a voyager because it takes people long distances across oceans and seas. Yesterday we also talked about ships. We said that a ship is a very large vessel, that is oceangoing and can be propelled by either sails or engines. You could say, "The ship sailed across the ocean." Which one of these would be considered a ship? An airplane, a sailboat, or a bicycle? (Call on student.) That's right! A ship is like a sailboat, and we use this to take us places across waters.”

3. “Now that we've reviewed our vocabulary, let's go back to talking about summarizing. (Display summarizing rules poster.) You all have ship shaped bookmarks and markers on your desks. I want you to copy down each rule as we talk about it, and then at the end of the lesson I'll give you all a few extra minutes to decorate your bookmark. The first rule of summarizing is to take out the unimportant or repeated information. Go ahead and write that down. (Allow writing time.) This means that if you see something that's not really important for the meaning of the text or something that you've already marked as important, you may draw an X through it (if it's a separate article like the one we're using today) or mentally delete it (if it's in a textbook). The second rule of summarizing is to find important information. Go ahead and write that down too. (Allow writing time.)  This means that when you see something that you think is important to know you should underline it or maybe write down a key word or phrase. The third rule of summarizing is to write a topic sentence. Write that on your bookmark. (Allow writing time.) This part is a little trickier, and we will practice it together in a moment, but it means that once you've picked out the parts of the text that are important you combine them to create a sentence. This sentence captures all the important parts of a paragraph within a text.”

4. Pass out copies of "Unsinkable Ship," and display a copy on the overhead projector. “Now we're going to practice summarizing as a class. Let's look at the first two paragraphs of our article, just because the first two are pretty short:”

 

In the crow's nest high above Titanic's deck, a lookout rubs his hands to stay warm. The night is clear and cold, so Frederick Fleet struggles to stay warm.

He's looking for anything that could be in the way of the speeding ship. Fleet is excited. Titanic is sailing across the Atlantic Ocean, from England to New York City. This is her first voyage, but already she is famous.

In 1912, Titanic is the largest man-made moving object in the world. She is as long as four city blocks and wider than a four-lane highway. Some people say she is unsinkable.

“I want everyone to be following along with me and paying attention to how I follow these rules. Let's look at the first sentence: In the crow's nest high above Titanic's deck, a lookout rubs his hands to stay warm. Do you think it's important to know this fact? (Discuss.) Sometimes the first sentence of the paragraph lets us know what the article will be discussing, in this case it does, but I don’t believe this sentence is of any importance to us because it doesn’t give us any information. Let's keep reading: The night is clear and cold, so Frederick Fleet struggles to stay warm. Hmm... What parts of this sentence are important for my understanding? I think the part about it being cold outside, so I will underline that.. I'll make an X through everything else in that sentence because nothing else is important to us yet. Let’s move on…” He's looking for anything that could be in the way of the speeding ship. Fleet is excited. Titanic is sailing across the Atlantic Ocean, from England to New York City. This is her first voyage, but already she is famous. “Since it says it’s her first voyage and the Titanic is sailing across the ocean from England to New York City, I'll underline that because this was obviously a very important new voyage. Let’s keep reading, because we are just now getting to the important information.” In 1912, Titanic is the largest man-made moving object in the world. She is as long as four city blocks and wider than a four-lane highway. Some people say she is unsinkable. “Okay…let’s see, the text gives us a date, do you feel that is important information for us? I don’t think so, sometimes it’s important for us to know the dates in history, but in this case and learning to summarize this information isn’t any help to us (Put an X through the date). Also, the sentence says that the Titanic is the largest man-made moving object in the world; I think that this could be a very important fact for us. The key words here would be “largest in the world.” Then, the text goes on to tell us how long and how wide the ship is, do you think that this information could be important to us? I don’t, only because this doesn’t matter, the author of the magazine is only trying to grab our attention so that we are more interested in the article, but the author does say that some people thought the ship to be “unsinkable”. I think that this could be some very important information to us, mostly because it is a part of the title as well.”

“So now that we've applied rules 1 and 2 of summarizing to this paragraph I'm going to demonstrate how to use rule 3 and create a topic sentence using the parts I underlined. I've got night-clear and cold, first voyage, Titanic, largest man-made object in the world, unsinkable ship. Now I need to make this into a sentence that makes sense. On a clear, cold night the Titanic set sail on its first voyage; this ship was known as the largest man-made object in the world and also to be unsinkable.”

“Does everyone understand what I just did? Does anyone have any questions?”

5. “Now I'm going to let you all practice summarizing with the rest of this article. I want you to go through each paragraph and break it down like we just did. Be sure to follow the rules for summary and then change the order around in your topic sentence if necessary so that it makes sense. I want you to write a topic sentence for each paragraph in the article. You may just copy the sentence that I wrote for paragraph one, and then you will write four more topic sentences of your own. When you are finished, staple your article to your paper with the topic sentences and turn it in. Then you may decorate your bookmark. You will all have time to decorate your bookmark, so please do not speed through the assignment just to have time to color.”

 

Assessment: I will review each student's topic sentences as well as the markings on each of their articles. I will use the assessment checklist for each student listed above to know whether each student followed the rules and understood how to summarize accordingly. Their sentences for each paragraph may vary slightly, but a good topic sentence for the second paragraph might be: Many wealthy people were aboard this ship, but the fleet was on board keeping a lookout for any danger that may come into place such as an iceberg.

 

References:

“Unsinkable Ship” http://magma.nationalgeographic.com/ngexplorer/1204/articles/mainarticle.html

 “Soaring into Summarizing”-Mary Kathryn Wheeler

http://www.auburn.edu/academic/education/reading_genie/doorways/wheelerrl.htm

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