Wanted: Only the Facts!

Reading to Learn Design
Jennifer Ruschhaupt

Rationale:

Comprehension is the ultimate goal of reading instruction, however, this task is complicated and requires practice.  There are various strategies that can be used to gain meaning and knowledge from a text.  One strategy is summarization.  To be able to read and recall information from an expository text, children need direct instruction in how to appropriately summarize material.  There are three steps to summarizing successfully; delete trivial and redundant material, replacing superordinate terms with a list or action term, and finally invent a topic sentence.  By implementing these skills students will be better prepared to recall and discuss information from an assigned reading. 

 

Materials:

Article: Bear Mail (1 copy per student, and one printed on a transparency), Article: Lightning: The Deadly Truth (1 copy per student), post-it squares (1 per student), highlighter (1 per student), paper, pencil, rubric/checklist for summary, overhead, overhead markers, chalk board, chalk

 

Procedure:

  1. Review the purpose of reading.  I AM GOING TO PASS OUT AN ARTICLE ENTITLED BEAR MAIL TO EACH OF YOU; DO NOT BEGIN READING IT JUST YET!  FIRST, WHY DO WE READ ARTICLES FROM PUBLICATIONS LIKE THE NATIONAL GEOGRAPHIC?  Desired response: to learn new information.  THAT IS RIGHT WE READ TO LEARN NEW THINGS, THEY MAY BE THINGS THAT INTEREST US OR THEY MAY BE THINGS WE NEED TO KNOW ABOUT, LIKE A READING IN OUR HISTORY BOOK.  IN EITHER CASE WE READ A LARGE CHUNK OF MATERIAL THAT CONTAINS A LOT OF FACTS.  DO YOU THINK ALL THE INFORMATION IN AN ARTICLE IS EQUALLY IMPORTANT, OR DO YOU THINK SOME INFORMATION IS MORE RELEVANT THAN ANOTHER?  Desired response: no it is not all equal, in some cases we need to remember a general idea or person, or event.  THAT IS RIGHT, WE DO NOT NEED TO REMEMBER ALL OF LITTLE DETAILS IN A READING.  WE NEED TO REMEMBER THINGS THAT SEEM MOST IMPORTANT IN A READING, AND WE CAN TELL OTHERS WHAT THOSE BITS OF INFORMATION ARE BY SUMMARIZING.
  2. Model silent reading, REMEMBER WHEN WE READ SILENTLY OUR EYES MOVE INTENTLY ACROSS THE PAGE AND WE READ QUIETLY TO OURSELVES.  WE CAN MOVE OUR MOUTHES, BUT NO SOUNDS COME OUT.
  3. AS WE READ SILENTLY I WANT YOU TO USE YOUR HIGHLIGHTER AS A TOOL TO MARK THE MAIN IDEAS IN THE TEXT.  THERE ARE THREE THINGS TO KEEP IN MIND WHEN LOOKING FOR THE IMPORTANT INFORMATION IN A BODY OF TEXT.  1. DELETE OR IGNORE TRIVIAL OR REDUNDANT INFORMATION, 2. REPLACE SUPERORDINATE TERMS WITH ACTION TERMS OR A LIST, AND FINALLY, 3. DEVELOP A TOPIC SENTENCE OR MAIN IDEA. List these steps on the board so that all students can refer to them while reading. 
  4.  I WANT YOU ALL TO LOOK AT THIS ARTICLE AND READ IT SILENTLY TO YOURSELF, AND I AM GOING TO DO THE SAME.  REMEMBER TO USE YOUR HIGHLIGHTER AND FOLLOW THE RULES FOR SUMMARIZATION.  While the students are reading, work on the same reading and underline important information on overhead.
  5. Once all students have finished reading compare teachers marks with students highlights, discuss similarities and differences.
  6. Pass out article: Lightning: The Deadly Truth, and give each student one post-it.  I AM GOING TO PASS YOU ALL OUT ANOTHER ARTICLE, THIS ONE IS A BIT LONGER, BUT I WANT YOU TO USE THE SAME STRATEGIES FOR SUMMARIZATION THAT WE JUST PRACTICED.  THIS TIME I AM ALSO GOING TO GIVE EACH OF YOU 1 POST-IT AND I WANT YOU TO USE THIS TO WRITE YOUR TOPIC SENTENCE ON.  YOUR TOPIC SENTENCE SHOULD BE NO LONGER THAN WHAT COULD FIT ON THIS SQUARE.  Review summarization strategies as written on board.  REMEMBER TO READ SILENTLY TO YOURSELF,  AND USE THE HIGHLIGHTER TO IDENTIFY THE MOST IMPORTANT INFORMATION IN THE ARTICLE.  
  7. Have the students take out a pencil and piece of paper and summarize the reading in about 5 sentences.  Walk around the room and assist if necessary. 
  8. Collect articles with highlighted marks, post-its and summary paragraph for assessment. 
<> 
References: <>
Anderson, Jenny.  Summarization Station at
        www.auburn.edu/rdggenie/guides/andersonrl.html <>

Pressley, M., C.J. Johnson, S. Symons, J.A. McGoldrick, and J.A. Kurity. (1989).
        Strategies that Improve Children’s Memory and Comprehension of Text.
  The
        Elementary School Journal, 90, 3-32. <>

Roach, John.  Lightning: The Deadly Truth. National Geographic News Online
http://news.nationalgeographic.com/kids/2004/07/lightning.html <>

Wassner, Emily.  Bear Mail.  National Geographic News Online at
        http://news.nationalgeographic.com/kids/2004/10/bear.html

Wheeler, Emily.  To Sum it all Up. . . at
        www.auburn.edu/rdggenie/guides/wheelerrl.html

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For further information, send e-mail to ruschja@auburn.edu