Rationale: It is important for students to remember what they read. Summarizing the main idea of a text is an important strategy to understand and remember text. This strategy must be taught to students so that they can learn to summarize well.
Materials: Paper, pencil, Addison-Wesley Science textbook or current science textbook
1. Begin the lesson by reviewing silent reading. Remind students that reading silently is when we say the words in our head not out loud. Now explain to students the importance of summarizing text. Tell them that this is very useful for remembering the important points in a passage.
2. Have students read the first passage from the your science book called Looking At Bones- Chapter 12 (303). After they have finished reading ask them questions that review trivial details from the story. For example, how many layers of bones there are. After reading the whole passage they may not be able to recall this information without looking back. Explain that summarization will help them remember the main ideas.
3. Tell students that there are three general rules of summarization. They are getting rid of trivial information. This is information in the paragraph that is not very important and doesn't change the outcome of the paragraph. Lump terms together means to take difficult terms terms that have the same meaning and use one word that you understand. Finally write topic sentences. Write sentences that give information about what your piece is talking about. Use these sentences to convey the general idea of the piece.
4. Using the passage about bones that the students have just read model an example of a good summary for the class. Be sure to refer to the rules that were just explained.
ãThe pieces of a skeleton are called bones. It may be hard
to believe that bones are alive. Like other parts of living things,
bones are made of cells. These cells form tissue. Tissue is
a group of similar cells that do a certain kind of work.
In bone tissue, there are spaces between the cells. The body stores minerals in these spaces. The minerals between the cells make bones strong and hard.
Most bones are not hard all the way through. Look at the drawing of the bone. You can see two layers. The outer layer is hard, compact tissue. The inner layer is filled with a soft, spongy tissue called marrow.
Bones are found in many shapes and sizes. Look at the picture below. Notice the different sizes and shapes of the bones (303).
Model for the class how to write a good summary by doing the following:
Tell students to begin by choosing a good topic sentence. For this passage we will use ãThe pieces of a skeleton are called bones.ä Now tell students that we will only use information from this passage that tells more about bones. This is how we delete unimportant information. The next important fact to add would be that bones are alive. Then ask for studentâs input on another fact that is important to add. Students might say, bones are made of cells. Then add, there are two layers of bone. The inner layer is called marrow. Bones come in many shapes and sizes is a good way to end the summary. Read the entire summary back to the class:
The pieces of a skeleton are called bones. Bones are alive. Bones are made of cells. There are two layers of bone. The inner layer is called marrow. Bones come in many shapes and sizes.
5. Allow students to choose a partner and give them a new passage
about what bones do (304-305) to read. Ask students to write a summary
together about the passage. Have groups review each otherâs
summary when finished.
6. To assess studentsâ ability have them write a short summary on Joining Bone to Bone (306).
Barman, Charles. Addison-Wesley Science. New York, 1989. pp. 303-306
Pressley, M., Johnson, C.J., Symons, S., McGoldrick, J.A. & Kurity, J.A.(1989). Strategies that Improve Childrenâs Memory and Comprehension of Text. The Elementary School Journal, 90, 3-32.
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