Megan Lankford
Reading to Learn
Summarize What You Read

Rationale: Comprehension is vital for children who are reading to learn.  Being able to summarize is a good strategy for comprehension.  This lesson will help students to comprehend what they read.

Materials: text: Discover Science (grade 4 Science) Scott, Foresman 1989; paper; pencils

1. Say "summarizing is a strategy that will help you understand what you are reading."
2. Remind them that summarization means picking out the facts that are important and that make up the main idea of the passage.  Tell them the summarization rules: 1. Find parts of the story that would not affect it if left out, 2. Get rid of information used more than once, 3. Find the important events in the story and use keywords to help you remember them, 4. List events in order of which they took place, 5. Sum up the story in 1 topic sentence.
3. Ask the children to get out their science books and silently read the short passage you have selected.  Tell them to pay attention to the facts they think are important while they are reading.
4. Model by saying, "If I wanted to summarize a passage, I would read it while thinking about the important ideas."  Use a sample passage, read it to them, and summarize it out loud for them to hear.  "Then I would write down those ideas in the summary, while looking back at the reading."
5. One way to help summarize is to draw a Venn Diagram.  Explain that a Venn Diagram compares and contrasts two things.  Ask them to draw a Venn Diagram after they read the passage.  Then, have them summarize what they read.
6. Watch as the children write their summaries to make sure they are looking back to the passage or to their Venn Diagrams.  Take up their papers and check their summaries.

Reference: Pressley, M., Johnson, C.J., Symons, S., McGoldrick, J.A., & Kurity, J.A. (1989). Strategies that improve children's memory and comprehension of text. The Elementary School Journal, 90, 3-32.

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