Sum It Up!

                                                                          Summarization Skills
                                                                                Mitzi Milam


While studentís read they should have the ability to comprehend and remember what they have read.  A good technique for remembering what you have read in a piece of text is to summarize the main ideas.  This lesson is designed to help students retain skills to summarize a piece of text well.


Pencil, paper, a copy of The Gold Cadillac for every student


1) Start the lesson by reviewing what we do when we partake in silent reading.  When we read silently we only read to ourselves instead of speaking the words out loud.  While we do read it is important to summarize the text to help us remember the main idea of the text.

2) Have students silently read the first 19 pages of The Gold Cadillac. (while the students read the teacher should also read the same text as the children)After everyone has finished reading ask some questions about the text that where small details.  The children may not be able to answer some of your questions.  Take this opportunity to explain that summarizing the text will help then remember the main ideas.

3) Explain the students that deleting the small details in a story or passage are no important and not remembering them does not change the meaning of the text.  Also explain that writing a topic sentence after reading a passage is a good way to understand the main idea and understand what the entire reading is focused on.

4) The double page picture that was included with the text that your read helps us use the text as well as the picture to summarize what is taking places in the story.  The father in the book has bought a new car and the mother does not seem too happy with his decision.  Look at the motherís face in the picture.  Notice how everyone else is close to the car, but she seems far away and even has her hands on her hips.  (create a topic sentence as a model for the students; even take the time to ask them what they think this particular topic sentence should include) After the sentence is complete read it back to the entire class for more input and critic.

5) Have students choose a partner and pick a different page of the book for the students to summarize.  Encourage them to write a summary together and then have other paired up partners review each otherís work.

6) For an assessment have the students write a summary (topic sentence) by themselves and then your review their work and give effective critics.


Taylor D., Mildred. The Gold Cadillac New York: Scholastic Inc. 1989.

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