IMPORTANT INFORMATION !
Rationale: It is impossible for a student
to remember everything they read in one sitting, so it
is important that we, as teachers, give our students strategies to help them remember the
information they read. The most effective comprehension strategy is summarization. One of
the steps in summarizing, according to Kintsch and van Dijk, is deleting trivial information. This
helps the student to focus on what is important in the passage. This provides a strategy to
help the student read to learn.
Materials: Holt Social Studies: Regions
textbook, 4th grade level (Holt, Rinehart, and Winston,
Publishers, 1986); chart paper with passage from text on page 39
Procedure: 1) Today we are going to work
on remembering the most important information of
what we read. Sometimes writers throw things in when they write that arenât necessarily
important to remember. So, we are going to work on breaking down what we read into just a few
sentences instead of a lot of sentences.
2) We will review something that also plays an
important role in this lesson, which is silent
reading. If you all remember, weâve been talking about how to read to ourselves, or read silently.
If you are still struggling with this, you can start off with a whisper and work your way towards
reading without making any sound. You just say the words in your head so that only you can
hear them. As you are reading today, try to practice this.
3) Bring out the chart paper with the passage
on page 39 titled ãNatural Landmarksä. Only
the second paragraph will be printed on the chart. The passage reads:
ãThe Statue of Liberty is well known around the world. People think of the statue as an
important part of New York and of our country. An important thing or place that
stands out from everything around it is called a landmark.ä
Read the passage out loud from the chart and tell the students that this can be found on page
39 in their social studies book. Say: Not everything in this passage is really important, or it
could be summarized into one sentence instead of three sentences. Letâs look at this passage.
A way that we could summarize this would be to say, ãThe Statue of Liberty is a well known
landmark that people think is an important part of New York and of our country. ã All I did was
take important information from all the sentences and put it into one sentence. This was a
short paragraph, so it was easy to put it into one sentence, but sometimes you will be trying to
summarize a long paragraph, so it is alright for your summarization to be a little longer.
4) Tell the students to turn to page 39 in their
social studies book and read the 3rd paragraph
on the page, starting with the words, ãNorth Stone Mountain...ä. Tell them to take out their
notebooks also and try to summarize that paragraph they just read with the person sitting
next to them. Say: I will walk around and help you if you donât understand. Try to summarize
this paragraph into two sentences by taking away all the information that isnât so important
and combine ideas that are the same, like I did in the example. Walk around and make sure that
everyone is on track and doing the right thing. If they are not, provide strategies for them to
help them summarize the passage even further.
5) Tell students to keep their notebooks out.
Say: Turn to page 40 in your social studies book.
You will see the section there starting on the Grand Canyon. I want you to read the first two
paragraphs and try to summarize those on your own this time. Remember, there is going to be
some information that isnât very important, so just try to combine some of the sentences to
take away that information that we donât really need to know. We can sometimes say
everything we need to say in just a couple of sentences. The teacher will take these up after
they are finished and use them for assessment to see if the students understand the concept
of summarizing to delete trivial information. Base instruction on the results of this
References: 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, 3-5.
Holt Social Studies: Regions. New York: Holt, Rinehart, and Winston Publishers,
1986. Pages 39-40.
Checklist for assessing summarization skills
- Has the student deleted the trivial information
from the passage?
- Did they still retain the meaning of the passage after deleting the trivial info?
- Does the student seem to understand the idea of summarization by deleting trivial
information? If not, what does the student appear to not understand?
- Did they comprehend what they had read according to the summarization of the passage?
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