Summin' It All Up

Reading to Learn
Shealy Melton

    A very important goal for all children to learn in reading is comprehension.  One of the ways a child can reach comprehension is through summarization.  This lesson will guide children to summarize stories using steps as a group and then individually.

    -A bookmark for each student with the 5 summarization steps on it
           Summarization steps:
            1.    Pick out important details that are necessary to the story.
            2.    Pick out the less important or repeated ideas from the passage and eliminate them.
            3.    Highlight the important and necessary details using key words.
            4.    Pick a topic sentence
            5.    Invent a topic sentence if there is none.
    -Copy of Space Rock Makes a Crash Landing, National Geographic Kids News    
         for each student.

1.    Begin by asking students if anyone knows what comprehension means.  Wait for response and then review their responses.  "Good job!  Comprehension is understanding what we are reading and then remembering it after we are done.  Today we are going to learn a couple of steps that are going to help us comprehend our reading.  This new technique is called summarization.  When we summarize, we choose the most important parts of the story or passage that we are reading.  The whole time we are doing this, we take out some of the stuff that really doesn’t have anything to do with the main idea."

2.    Explain summarization.  "Our new tool has 5 easy steps to remember."  Write them on the board as they are explained so students will follow along.  "The first step is to pick out important details that we think are necessary to the story.  Number two says to pick out the less important ideas or ideas that are repeated and take them away.  Number three says to highlight the important and necessary details using key words.  Next, we pick a topic sentence.  Our last step is it invent a topic sentence if we don’t have one.  I’m going to pass out bookmarks to each of you that have these steps on them so you won’t forget our 5 steps of summarization.  You can use these whenever you need a little help."

3.    "Alright, now that we are familiar with comprehension and summarization, we are going to read a passage from an article and put our steps into action.  Read the first paragraph SILENTLY to yourselves.  While you are reading, make sure that you are getting enough information to summarize the paragraph.  When summarizing, remember how key it is to make sure that you are trying to figure out the important details from the ones that might not be so important.  Raise your hand when you are done so we’ll know when to move on."

4.    After the class is finished reading, summarize the first paragraph with the whole class making sure they understand the steps of summarization.  While doing this as a class, make sure to model the five steps.  "After reading the first paragraph, here are the main points that I came up with."  Write the following on the board:  1.  A grapefruit size meteorite crashed through a roof.  2.  The house was in New Zealand.  "Did anybody get anything different than I did?"  If someone did, write that on the board as well.  "As I keep reading, I’m going to use all of our steps.  I just did our first step and picked out what I thought were the important details.  My next step is to pick out the less important points from the paragraph.  I think the these would be:  1.  The meteorite slammed into a couch.  2.  Hit the ceiling.  3.  It rolled under a table."  Write these on the board.  "Did anyone get something different?"  If they did, write it on the board.  "What is my next step?"  Wait for student to suggest:  highlight some keywords.  "Great job!  You’re right.  I thought that the keywords were grapefruit sized, meteorite, roof, and New Zealand.  Did anybody get another word?"  If they did, write it on the board.  "What do I need to do now?"  Wait for student response.  "Right!  I need to write a topic sentence.  The topic sentence I came up with is:"  Write this sentence on the board:  "A grapefruit sized meteorite crashed through the roof of a house in New Zealand.  Did somebody get something else?"  If they did, write it on the board and discuss why they chose that.  "Good!  Since we just came up with our topic sentence, we don’t need to do step 5 since that step is to invent a topic sentence."  Make sure that all of this is written on the board so that they will be able to use it when they are reading the rest of the article by themselves.  

5.    "Does everybody feel comfortable with summarizing now?  Great!  Now that you are all pros, I want you to read the rest of the article silently and summarize it using our steps.  If you need any help you can look on the board or at your bookmarks that each of you have."  

6.    When they have finished reading silently, they will summarize the article on their own.  "Now that you are all finished reading, take out your piece of paper and pencil and summarize the article.  Make sure that you remember to list the important details of the article.  Separate the important details from the less important ones.  Then, make sure you list your keywords and then using your keywords and your main points, form your topic sentence.  If you have any questions, please raise your hand and I’ll come and help you!"

7.    For assessment, I will take up the student’s summarizations to see how well they understood the concept.  I will use the bookmarks as my own checklist to make sure that they used all of the steps of summarization correctly.  The entire time they are working on them though, I will walk around to make sure that they are following the steps written on the board and on their bookmarks.  


“Space Rock Makes a Crash Landing.”  Staff.  National Geographics Kids Magazine.
  18 April 2005.

Vest, Amy.  What’s the Main Idea??

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