Reading to Learn
Rationale: Summarization is an important skill to teach maturing readers. This lesson models summarizing text and provides students with the opportunity to summarize what they are reading. When a student is able to summarize a text they capture the meaning of the story. This demonstrates their comprehension strategies
Materials: copies of Boston Tea Party, Rebellion in the Colonies by James E. Knight and published by Troll Communications, string, clothespins, chalk, poster with rules of summarizing (1. Find the parts of the story that would not affect it if they were left out. 2. Get rid of the information that is used more than once. 3. Find the important events in the story and use a keyword to help you remember them. 4. Make sure the keywords are listed in the order the events took place in the story. 5. Sum up the book into one topic sentence.)
1. Begin the lesson by distributing copies of Boston Tea Party, Rebellion in the Colonies by James E. Knight. Have students read the book silently in at their desks. Be sure to allow enough time for them to read the book at their own pace so they will understand it. First, we are going to read the story silently, when we read silently it gives us practice in reading efficiently.
2. Attach a string across the front of the room (maybe on a board that would hang on the wall). This string is what we are going to use to hang everyone's paper with the paragraphs that you will write after you summarize the story.
3. Today we are going to learn how to summarize a story. When you summarize you are finding the authors main points and supporting facts. There are six rules that we use when summarizing a story (show them the rules printed on poster board and use child like language to review them with students).
q Find the parts of the story that would not affect it if they were left out. Now take that information out and pretend like it is not really there. (give students an example from the text to demonstrate what type of information that could be left out). Information like a date that an event happened would be an example of a part of the story that could be left out. Another example is that it is also not important to know exactly how many people were involved in the Boston Tea Party.
q Get rid of the information that is used more than once. You will need to pay attention while you are reading to determine which information is used more than once. (show them an example of redundant information from the book)
q Find the important events in the story and use a keyword to help you remember them. Provide the students with an example of a keyword you would use to help one remember an event. Now let’s write some keywords to help you remember the important events that happened in this story. (write them on the board)
q To find a series of events we need to make sure our keywords are listed in the order the events took place in the story. Rewrite the list if needed in order to put the key words in the order they come in the book. Let’s write out to side of our key words and briefly describe them to make sure the key words are appropriate for the event we listed for them.
q Now if you had to write what this book was about in one sentence how would you do that? (model how to come up with a topic sentence) Sometimes a topic sentence is not always listed in the book so you will have to think of one yourself. To do so you need to think about what the whole book was about and what you feel the author was intending the reader to learn from reading this book. Help the students come up with a topic sentence on this book, take their suggestions and make a good topic sentence.
4. We have just gone through the steps to summarize a story. Now we need to put this information in paragraph form. We need to use our topic sentence along with the key word ideas that we came up with to make this paragraph. (model how they should be thinking about starting a paragraph, tell them to think about the main ideas and write a paragraph to sum the ideas of the book up).
5. For a review activity I want everyone to come up with your own summary of the book. The summary should only be one paragraph; you can use the ideas we listed on the board and the main ideas we have talked about. Then I am going to call on some of you to share with the class your paragraphs.
6. Let the students share their summaries and then hang them across the front of the room so each student can view the other students work.
7. For assessment, use a different subject like Language, let the students read a story and summarize the main ideas. Ask them to read it silently and then write a summary about the story just as we did with Boston Tea Party. The teacher should observe the students while reading and writing to make sure that each of them understand the ideas of summarizing. If he/she feels that a student is not catching on to finding the main ideas you should give them some extra practice reading a story and finding the main ideas, the teacher should sit with the student as he/she does this and ask them questions about the story as the student is reading it and help this will help them to understand the main idea of the story. After reading help the student write a paragraph using the main ideas, explaining step by step what to do.
Reference: Pressley, Michael “Strategies That Improve Children’s Memory and Comprehension of Text” The Elementary School Journal Volume 90, Number 1
Let’s Get to the Point, by Debbie Troha, Murray, Bruce ed(2001)
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