Let's Sum it all up!!


Reading to Learn

Niki Streeter


Rationale: This lesson will teach students how to summarize the books they are reading and the importance of being able to summarize.  By learning how to summarize, students will be able to decide the information they need to pay closer attention to and the information they can cut out.  With summarization students will be able to better comprehend the text that they read and focus on the important information.

Materials: Copy of Diary of a Wimpy Kid: Dog Day for each student, pencil, and paper for each student.


1. Start the lesson by explaining what summarizing is and why it is important.  "When you read passages there is information in there that you don't need to pay much attention to and there is very important information that you need to focus on."   An example of summarizing would be if I read the following: (Before reading have the following sentences written on the board) 'I wanted to go shopping today. I went to the mall. I bought a pink shirt.'  I could summarize those sentences into 'I bought a pink shirt at the mall today.' (Write the summarized sentence on the board)  "See how we cut out what was unimportant and put all of the important facts together?  That is what we will be working on today."

Book talk: "Greg is a middle school student on his summer vacation. His family is cutting back on vacations in order to save money. Greg goes to the country club with his friend most days. They run up a pretty big bill buying smoothies. What will they do? Tell their parents or pay it off themselves? Let's read to find out."

2. Read the first chapter of Dog Days to the students. Each student will have their own copy that they can follow along with while I read. After reading I will go back through the chapter and write down what I thought were the most important parts of the chapter. We will make a class list and discuss why we only wrote down the important parts. "Remember how we silently read.  Silent reading is when we read to ourselves without moving our lips or speaking.  I want you to read this chapter silently to yourself and as you read think about what points are important and what points are unimportant.  When you are done reading think about the main facts of the text that are of importance and write them on your own paper. We will be using your ideas shortly."

3. The students will get into their small groups to go back through the chapter. "I want each group to discuss what they thought were the most important parts in this chapter. When we summarize we pull out the important details and discard the trivial or repeated items. This allows us to summarize what we need to know from the reading." Have a class discussion on what the students thought were important points of the text. Discuss why only the important parts of the chapter should be in the summary.

5. Have each small group write a summary on the text using the parts that they decided were most important. When each group is done have them come up one at a time to read their summary.  Each summary should be somewhat similar.

6. For assessment have each student read the second chapter and come up with their own list of what they saw as the most important ideas. Have them write a summary on the text and submit it to you for assessment.

 Use the following checklist to grade them by:

1.     Did they list the important parts of the text?

2.     Did they include all important information without being too wordy?

3.     Did they summarize in their own words rather than copy sentence for sentence?


Megan Schmidt, Let's Sum it up! http://www.auburn.edu/academic/education/reading_genie/insp/schmidtrl.html

(2009) Diary of a Wimpy Kid: Dog Days. Jeff Kinney.

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