What was THAT all About???

Reading to Learn

Laura Beth Anderson



Comprehension is the goal of reading! A great strategy for students to learn when trying to comprehend a text is summarization. In this lesson students will learn to identify important and less important details of a text when creating a summary.



Highlighters for each child

Black markers for each child

Copies of Team Rescues History from Hurricane Damage. Catherine Clarke Fox. National Geographic Kids News. October 13, 2005http://news.nationalgeographic.com/kids/2005/10/rescuehistory.html




1. Today we are going to read a text and learn how to create a summary of what we have read. When you create a summary you find the meaningful and important parts of what you read and put them together to make a shorter text than the original. Summaries can help up tell a friend the information in a quick way. It also helps with comprehension.


2. Remember how we talked about reading silently. When reading silently remember, your lips will not be moving and there will not be sound coming out of your mouth. Let me show you by reading the first sentence of this paragraph on the board aloud and then silently (Have the paragraph already written). Read aloud “When I woke up this morning it was snowing outside.” Then read it silently. Now as I read the whole paragraph aloud, I want you to follow along with me reading silently like you just practiced. “When I woke up this morning it was snowing outside. I put on my snow coat. The coat is blue. It put mittens on too. I will stay warm!”


3. Now let’s go through and highlight some important things in this paragraph. What is the most important thing in this paragraph? That’s right, it is snowing and so they put on a snow coat. Snow is an important word so I am going to highlight it. The rest of the sentence is not as important so I am going to cross it out. We can also highlight the color of the coat and the word mittens because they are important. The rest of the sentences are not important. Finally, staying warm is important so I will highlight that and cross out the rest. Now I have all of the important parts highlighted. I can easily remember the paragraph’s main idea, so let’s take the highlighted part and make a summary. Let students help you come up with a summary of the paragraph using the highlighted parts and omitting the unimportant parts. (Ex. I put on my snow coat and mittens to stay warm because it was snowing.)


4. When we summarize text there are three rules that can help us. We used them a minute ago when we summarized the paragraph on the board.  (Write on the board as you say them). They are: 1) Get rid of any unnecessary or repeated information 2) pick out the most important items or events 3) write a statement that covers everything the author is trying to say about the topic.


5. Let’s practice the first paragraph all together. It says “The National Park Service's Jean Lafitte National Historic Park and Preserve's Visitor Center in New Orleans was broiling at about a hundred degrees Fahrenheit (38 degrees Celsius), and moisture in the air made it seem even hotter for emergency workers cleaning up there after Hurricane Katrina.” I want each of you to highlight the important parts and cross out the unnecessary parts. (Hopefully, they will highlight National Park Services, New Orleans, hot, cleaning up after Hurricane Katrina.) Now I want you to take the important information you have complied and write a sentence summary. (for example, The National Park Services of New Orleans cleaned up in the heat after Hurricane Katrina).


6. Now that I have shown you how to summarize and we have done some simple practice it is your turn to summarize on your own. This is an article from National Geographic for Kids about rescuing important parts of history from the damage from Hurricane Katrina. As you are silently reading this article use your three summarizing rules to help you comprehend the text. You can also use your highlighter to highlight important information and a black marker to cross out unnecessary information. 


7. After students have read they will get into partners and summarize each paragraph of the article into one sentence.


8. For assessment I will collect the summarizations the students did from the article and check the using the following checklist.

          - Is redundant information left out of the summary?

          - Are important ideas and events included in the summary?

          - Do they state the author’s main idea and supporting details?



Nell Fleming, 1-2-3…A Summary. http://www.auburn.edu/rdggenie/connect/flemingrl.html

Team Rescues History from Hurricane Damage. Catherine Clarke Fox. National Geographic Kids News. October 13, 2005.           http://news.nationalgeographic.com/kids/2005/10/rescuehistory.html

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