Reading to Learn
Rational: As children become better and more fluent readers it is important that they begin to comprehend what the story is about. In order to remember the main idea of a story or paragraph, children must be able to summarize. By the end of their elementary school years, children are expected to use summarizing skills. As children grow older, it is imperative that children be able to recall information on tests. Summarization aids in the understanding and remembering of expository tests used in science, social studies, etc. However, it is a skill that they must know and understand how to use.
Materials: Paper, pencil, and The Giving Tree by Shel Silverstein and published by HarperCollins, Today is Monday by Eric Carle and published by Scholastic, and Pancakes, Pancakes! by Eric Carle and published by Scholastic.
1. Introduce the lesson by explaining the importance of summarizing. Tell the students that summarization is a strategy that will help them remember the important thing in the story, chapter of text, or informational paragraph.
2. Explain the six summarization rules to your students.
1. Delete unimportant information
2. Delete repeated information
3. Substitute easy terms for lists of items
4. Add a series of events with an easy action term
5. Select a topic sentence
6. Invent a topic sentence if there is none
3. Model the summarization rules by introducing a book you have previously read such as Today is Monday by Eric Carle and summarize the book for them. Explain to them that summarizing helps you remember the important facts or points that illustrated or talked about in the book. Ask them questions to scaffold thinking such as "what was the most important points talked about in the book?" "What text or points could you delete?"
4. Now divide the students into groups of three or four and have them read Pancakes, Pancakes! by Eric Carle, to themselves. Once they have read the story let them talk among their groups, each giving a summary of the book. Once each child has given a summary of that book, you (the teacher) would model again for them summarization rules and skills- saying I would summarize this book like this (and give your summarization of the book) or information that I though was least important was ____ I would delete this section, or the topic sentence in this book is _____. This shows them how to organize information and thoughts in their minds so that they will be able to recall the important facts or information next time. When students begin to summarize, they do not always get the "moral or lesson" of what they have just read, sometimes you remember insignificant facts. This in why it is important to model again for them, once they have had an opportunity to practice summarizing.
5. Now have each child read The Giving Tree by Shel Silverstein.
For assessment: Have each child write a summary of the book The Giving Tree. Once everyone has written their summary, read them to the class (without disclosing the name of the author). This will show how most summaries are worded differently, but show the same important facts and information. Tell everyone what a great job they have done and ensure them that they will have more opportunities to use their summarization skills in the future.
Pressley, Micheal, et al. (1989). "Strategies that Improve Children's Memory and Comprehension of Text." The Elementary Journal. Volume 90, Number 1. University of Chicago: Chicago, Illinois. Pages 90, 3-32.
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