Make It Short, Sweet, and To the Point
By Kimberly Hogan
Reading to Learn

Rationale:  When reading to learn, comprehension is an essential component in reading.  When a student knows how to summarize, this makes comprehension a much easier task.  In this lesson, students will learn how to summarize what they read in order to better understand.

Materials:  Class Picture Day  by Andrea Buckless (1 per 2 children)
                 Chart Paper
                 Markers

Procedure:
1. Explain to the students what it means to summarize what you read.  WHEN WE READ A STORY AND SOMEONE ASKS US WHAT IT WAS ABOUT, DO WE TELL HIM OR HER EVERY SINGLE DETAIL?  RIGHT! WE JUST TELL THEM THE MAIN IDEA, MAIN CHARACTERS, AND SOME OF THE PLOT, OR WHAT THE STORY WAS ABOUT.  WE MIGHT ALSO TELL THEM WHY WE THOUGHT THAT THE BOOK WAS GOOD OR BAD.
2. Put students into groups of two, and assign two children the first part of the book to read, the next two will read the middle, and the other two will read the end of the book.  You might have 12 separate groups reading different parts of the book, for example.  NOW, I WANT YOU AND YOUR PARTNER TO READ THE PAGES THAT I HAVE ASSIGNED TO YOU.  AFTER YOU READ THOSE PAGES, WRITE DOWN THE MAIN IDEAS AND IMPORTANT INFORMATION THAT YOU THINK I NEED TO KNOW.  IN OTHER WORDS, SUMMARIZE YOUR PART OF THE BOOK ON PAPER. (Evaluation)
3.  When all students have finished their part of the book, have one student from each pair tell us about their part, in the order of the book.  Example: The people that read the first part of the book tell us about it, then the middle part, and so on.  NOW, AFTER LISTENING TO EVERYONE'S SUMMARIES OF THE STORY, WOULD SOMEONE LIKE TO SUMMARIZE THE WHOLE BOOK TO THE CLASS?  GREAT! YOU REALLY PAYED ATTENTION AND LISTENED TO WHAT YOUR CLASSMATES HAD TO SAY.  THANK YOU!
4. Now, talk to the students about their summarization strategies and explain that it would be helpful to start paying more attention to the main details, characters, and setting.  Let them know that when they are in a testing situation, if they have all of the main details and a good summary of a story, then that is normally enough to have a clear understanding of the subject at hand.

References:  www.auburn.edu/rdggenie/breakthroughs/lankfmm.html

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