“Summing it Up!”


Reading to Learn

Jennifer Ivey




The ultimate goal of reading is to understand or comprehend. For a beginning reader to reach this goal, it is necessary to learn and practice summarization skills to identify and recall main ideas in a reading.  The process of identifying and recalling main ideas is called summarization. This lesson will not only allow students to learn how to summarize, but also allow them to practice on a given article.



1. A Poster of Summarization Rules

- Pick out a topic sentence (create one if one is not provided)

-Pick out important facts from the passage

-Remove information that is not very useful, or that does not back up the topic sentences

-Pick out repeated ideas and delete them

2. Highlighters

3. Paper

4. Pencils

5. Black Markers

6.  2 Articles per student

7.  Checklist with summarization rules on it:


Did the Student…



Pick out a topic sentence (or create one)



Pick out important facts from the passage



Remove information that is not useful



Remove repeated information







1. “Hi friends! Who wants to be a better reader? Today we are going to learn something that can make us all better readers! We are going to learn how to read a text and create a summary of what we read. Some of you already do this and so it may be a review, but others of you have not had any practice and this will help you become even better readers than you already are! Let’s start by discussing what a summary is. Can anyone tell me what they think a summary is? That’s right, a summary is a story version of all the information we read in a text. If we learn how to summarize it can help us remember what we’ve read to help us understand and comprehend!”


2. Review the fluency strategies with the students so that they can use them while reading the article. “Who can remember what we do when we are struggling with a word? That's right, we crosscheck! For example if I was going to read this sentence on the board (The dog ran fast.) and I read it like this, ‘The duuuug ran far away from me’ I would use my crosschecking skills to figure out that it didn’t make sense and then reread the sentence correctly as:  The dog ran fast.”


3. Next I will display the poster with the summarizing rules on it and explain each rule: Pick out a topic sentence (create one if one is not provided), Pick out important facts from the passage, remove information that is not very useful, or that does not back up the topic sentences, and pick out repeated ideas and delete them. Pass out the article “What’s Wild About African Wild Dogs.” Model how to summarize using the poster. “Now I am going to read this article. I want you to read it silently and then we will together learn how to summarize.”


4. As the students finish reading, pass out a summarization checklist to each student.


5. After reading, have the students read the checklist to themselves. As a class we will begin by summarizing the first paragraph. “Let’s pick out what the topic sentence is in the first paragraph. The topic sentence is the main idea of the passage. What do you think it is? Let’s underline it. Point out to students that the topic sentence is generally the first sentence. Next, let’s pick out important information. Are there any important facts in this paragraph? Yes! Let’s use our highlighters to mark them. Is there anything that is not useful or repeated? Lets use our markers to cross those out by drawing a line through them.” Continue to finish the passage with the students, one paragraph at a time. The students can use the checklist to stay on task.


6. When the class is done identifying the important ideas, have them create three short sentences that “sum up” the article. Write these sentences on the board.


7. For assessment, have the students summarize the article “Honey Bee Mystery.” They will be asked to follow the same procedures we did as a class. Teacher will evaluate using the checklist provided to the students. They will be evaluated on their ability to Pick out a topic sentence, pick out important facts from the passage, remove information that is not very useful, or that does not back up the topic sentences, pick out repeated ideas and delete them, and a summarizing sentence. Each student will have the opportunity to share their summarizing sentence with the class. After everyone has shares, I will ask the class questions about the text to aid in discussion and guarantee everyone has comprehended what they read.




Ashley Baker, Fishing for A Summary:



Honey Bee Mystery article:



What’s Wild about African Wild Dogs article:



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