Niketah Rice
Reading to Learn

Whatís Important and Why?

Rational: When young children begin to read for information, there are many strategies they can use to retain information.
Summarization helps to reduce text to a "gist".  The first rule to summarization is being able to delete redundant and trivial information.  In the lesson, students will learn to identify important words and phrases and also mental representation in order to recall information from expository text.  This lesson will also be a review in silent reading.

    Materials: Highlights magazine October 2001 issue, overhead, transparency, worksheet and pencil.


    1. I will begin the lesson by explaining what summarization is and how it is used.  Today I would like to talk to you about summarization.  This is a strategy that helps you better understand what you are reading and help you remember the information for the future.  I would like for everyone to pull out your Highlights magazine.  At this time I would ask everyone to turn to page 36.
    2. The title of this article is How Does the Antsí Garden Grow?  We will read this article for detail.  The important information that the article is trying to teach us about.  At this time I would point out how the articles is sectioned off and has bold titles.  Some of them are asking questions. The text should answer that question.
    3. On the overhead I would have the first section.
    If you could look into a nest of leaf-cutter ants, hereís what you might see.  A warm, humid pile of ants surrounded by darkness.  Millions of workers ants zip this way and that over a mixture of leaf mush and something that looks like dirty cotton.
    One of the workers rushes to a corner of the chamber.  She walks back and forth, mixing the pile of mush with the pincer-like mandibles of her mouth.  (All of the workers are female.)
    4. I would then ask them could they picture this in their mind.  Could they see many ants working in darkness over a mixture of something they describe as mush?  What did they find was important about that piece of the passage?
    5. Now I want you to begin reading the next section silently.  We read silently by whispering or moving our lips.  If you come to a word you donít know trying to figure it out if you canít just raise your hand I will assist you.
    6. After they have read the first passage Insect Farmers. I will hand out the worksheet that helps them put their thoughts together and delete trivial and redundant information. We will work this sheet together by first eliminating things that may have been repeated more than once or that werenít very important about the insect farmers.
    7. Now I would like for you to try it by yourself.  Read silently the Whatís Their Secret section.
    8. For assessment, I would have them get into groups and develop a list of information that was not necessary or redundant.

References:  Highlights magazine October issue, volume 56 number 10

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Important Information

Repeated Information

Trivial Information