Let’s be Star Summarizers!
Learning to Read Design
Rationale: Summarization is an important skill that helps students learn to read for meaning and understanding. If students can summarize text, they are able to understand what they read. If a student is able to summarize skillfully, he is able to delete trivial information, and focus on finding the main idea of the article or story and important supporting details. This lesson teaches students how to summarize so that they can understand the main idea of what they read.
One piece of notebook paper for each student
One pencil per student
Chalk and chalkboard
A copy of National Geographic Article “U.S. Endangered Species Act Works” by Maryann Mott for each student
A copy of National Geographic Article “Toad Tunnels” by John Roach for each student
1. Today, we are going to learn how to summarize what we have read. Summarizing is important for helping us understand what we read. Does anyone know what the word summarize means? Let the students give their ideas of what a summary is. To summarize means to find the main idea of the passage or story that you read. When you write a summary, you want to pick out the most important facts. Here are six steps that will help you when summarizing. Write these steps on the board:
1. Delete unimportant information.
2. Delete repeated information.
3. Substitute easy terms for list of items.
4. Add a series of events with an easy action term.
5. Select a topic.
6. Invent a topic sentence if there is none.
2. Pass out a copy of the article “U.S.
Endangered Species Act Works” to each student.
This article is very important because it discusses whether a
the U.S. Endangered Species Act is helping to save animals that are in
danger. Some people think that the law
is not working. Let’s read to see if the
law is helping to save animals. We are
going to read, and then summarize the article together.
I want you to read to yourself and look for
the main point of the article while I read out loud.
Now, I am going to pick out the main point of
the article: If an endangered
animal is protected by the
3. Now that I have shown you how to write a summary, I am going to let you practice summarizing by yourself. Give each student a copy of the article “Toad Tunnels” and a sheet of notebook paper. First, I want you to read the article silently to yourself. Then, I want you to answer the questions that I have written on the board: What is the title of the article? What is the main idea of this article? Write three sentences to support the main idea. Using these questions, write one paragraph to summarize the article.
4. After everyone gets finished summarizing the article individually, we are going to summarize it as a class. What is the main idea of “Toad Tunnels?” Let a couple of students raise their hand and give their thoughts on what the main idea is. Write a topic sentence on the board based on what the students say. What are some supporting details that back up the main point? Let several students answer. Pick out the most important facts that the students give you, and write them on the board. Does the summary on the board look like the summary that you wrote on your paper? Did you pick out the same important details as your classmates?
5. Assessment: Have students turn in summaries that they wrote. Look to see if each student wrote a topic sentence, and was able to pick out some important supporting details and write them in their own words.
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