Sweet Summarizers!


Reading to Learn

By: Julia Waldrum


Rationale: When students have started reading, one of the main goals is comprehension because this shows that they have actually understood the material and information read. One of the key strategies to test for reading comprehension is summarizing. When students summarize the material, they are choosing the main ideas, and then highlighting the important facts. This helps them understand their reading easier because it is more condensed and then they are able to comprehend the main idea. This lesson will help students gain the skills to summarize an article, in order to understand the deeper meaning behind the message. 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

Assessment Checklist

Copies of the article, "Streaming Chemistry" (one per student)

Copies of the article, "Honeybee Mystery" (one per student)

Poster of the Rules

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



1. "Hello everyone! Today, we are going to practice a new strategy as we are reading called summarizing. This will help us to comprehend the passage better as well as become great readers! Does anyone know what a summary is?" (wait for a response) "Yes, correct! It is a shorter version of a long story or article, and it contains only the main facts and ideas of the story or article. In order to summarize, we will first need to learn our summarization rules. They are the following: First, choose the main idea of the article. Then, cross out useless sentences or repeated ideas, these sentences are not important to the main idea. And lastly, highlight the important facts and ideas and condense these into just a few sentences. Let's do this!"


2. "Today, we will practice by reading an article and summarizing it. (I will post the summarization rules on a poster board and have it hanging in the front of the room). Make sure you refer to our summarization rules as you are doing this, and make sure you put the summary in your own words, make sure the sentence does not sound too similar to the author’s words. The best way to do this is to read slowly, reread important parts, and to make notes. And lastly, cross out unimportant and redundant information. Before we get started, we will review our vocabulary words." Vocabulary list: environment, minerals, evaporate, and atmosphere.



-Let's look at what the word environment means. The environment means the surroundings of a particular person or thing.


-We then can describe our school environment, what is surrounding us. How many students are in the class? Do we have a big classroom? How big is the school? Etc.


-Which of these is an example of an environment?

The turtle’s environment is the river with all the bushes around the river.

Ms. Waldrum’s environment is a turkey sandwich.


-Finish the sentence: The polar bears environment is…. (possible responses: cold, in the arctic, where there is ice and snow)


3. Model: After going over the vocabulary words and the rules with the students, model how to summarize by reading, "Streaming Chemistry.” Pass out a copy of the article to each student and give a book talk: "We are going to read an article about how water is everywhere and how it is important to us. Do you think Earth has a lot of water? Why is water important? Let's read on to see! First, we are going to read the whole passage together. We don't need to make any marks just yet." Then, model a part of the passage to show the students what summarizing looks like. Pose a question: "How would I summarize the first two paragraphs? Let me show you. First, I would cross out unimportant details, then underline important details and put into one sentence. A few guiding questions to help you understand what is important and what is not important are the following: What is it the article about and is this sentence important to the article’s subject? What is the point? Ask yourself these questions as you are reading. Watch as I model the first two paragraphs."


What is it about? Water being important (highlight Water)

What is the point? Every living thing needs water (highlight all)

Why? Nutrients, fluoride, water cycle, (highlight)



Summary: Water is very important and it is needed for every living thing to survive because it provides nutrients, fluoride and the water cycle.


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


"The three forms of water are solid, liquid and gas. Did you guess right? Solid water is frozen and known as ice. When water is boiled or the sun heats the surface of a body of water, its molecules can absorb enough energy to evaporate into the air-this is, to become a gas called water vapor. Up in Earth’s atmosphere, water vapor cools and collects into clouds. When enough clusters of cloud particles stick together, they tumble back down to Earth as rain, snow, hail, or sleet. This process of water evaporating, condensing and falling to Earth is the water cycle.”


Big idea? (topic) Water comes in three different forms.


Why? Because water takes the form of solid, liquid, and gas.


Summary?  Water comes in different forms, solid, liquid, and gas. The process of water coming from earth’s surface to the clouds is the water cycle.


5. Whole Text: Give the students a new article to read and have them summarize this on their own. "Today we will practice our summarizing skills with the article, 'Honeybee Mystery’, by National Geographic Kids. This article explains how honeybees live and work, "These honeybees not only make honey, but also pollinate plants to be able to produce fruits and nuts.” The vocabulary words for this section are: hives, pollinate, colonies, poisons. The article explains all about honeybees, their effect on nature, random facts on bees, and how they are studied. 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? Good luck!"



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:



            What do honeybees do besides provide yummy honey?

            How do these honeybees live?

            Why are honeybees hard to study?

            What happens when a honeybee dies?



National Geographic Kids

Fox, Catherine. "Honeybee Mystery"



Celebrating Chemistry

"Streaming Chemistry " http://portal.acs.org:80/portal/PublicWebSite/education/whatischemistry/scienceforkids/articles/WPCP_011092


Albright, Kacey. "Get to the Point… Sum it Up! http://www.auburn.edu/academic/education/reading_genie/doorways/albrightkrl.htm


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