Remember What We Read

Reading to Learn
By: Seth Clark

Rationale: This lesson will teach students how to summarize what they are reading and ultimately learn how to find meaning of what they have read.  Summarization is an important literacy goal because it helps students to understand what has been read.  It also helps students to remember the important information in the reading. This is picking out the main ideas.

Materials: Paper, pencils, copies of the articles The Flu and You and The Future of Energy from Time for Kids (November 18, 2005 Vol. 11 Iss. 11) for each student, summarization checklist, highlighters.


  1. Begin by explaining to the children that it is very important that when we read, we understand what is read, and we can remember some of what we have read.  This is especially important when we get into reading chapter books, were it might take us days or weeks to finish the book.  One way to do this is by summarizing.  Summarizing is when we take what we have read and pick out some of the most important (big) points.  This way we will know the main idea of the text we are reading.
  2. There are four easy steps to summarization. *write the steps on the board while explaining them out loud to the students*
    Step 1:  Pick out the most important details that are crucial to the story.
    Step 2:  Pick out the less important or repeated details from the story and
                 get rid of them.
    Step 3:  List keywords in the order that they appeared in the article.
    Step 4:
      Cut the list of key words down to one topic sentence.
    Say: “Okay class, now that I have written the four summarization steps on the board, let’s reviews them aloud and then practices using them.”
  3. Pass out the article The Flu and You Time for Kids tell them to begin reading the article silently to themselves. *make sure that you allow enough time for each student to finish the article*
  4. Tell the students, “I am going to model for you how to summarize a paragraph using the four easy steps to summarization.” Read the first paragraph out loud to the students. So I know that the flu beings with a runny nose, a cough or a sore throat and I know that there are different types of flu viruses. After summarizing the paragraph, remind the students again, of the four easy summarization steps you used to construct the summary. 
  5. At this time, I want you to take out a piece of paper and a pencil. Take a second look at the rest of the article silently." Be sure to provide a sufficient amount of time for each student to finish.
  6. “Now, I want you to write a summary of the rest of the article you just read.  Remember to use the four easy steps to summarization”.  Make sure you only write the details that you think are important and do not forget to put it in your own words.”
  7. While the children are summarizing the article, walk around the class and monitor each student’s summary of the article. Give positive comments about the summaries and provide help if needed.
  8. Assessment: “Now, I want you to take out another piece of paper and a pencil.” Give each student a copy of the article Remember to use the four easy steps that we have talked about.  You may glance at the board where the four easy steps are listed in case you have forgotten them.” Allow them to summarize the story on their own.  The students will then turn in a summarization of the article to the teacher.  The teacher will read each one making sure every child knows how to summarize a story by using the checklist below:


Redundant information was taken out:

O Yes     O No

Trivial information was taken out:

O Yes     O No

Only main points in the summarization:

O  Yes       O  No



The Future of Energy from Time for Kids Magazine (November 18, 2005 Vol. 11 Iss. 11),6277,1129814,00.html

The Flu and You from Time for Kids Magazine (November 18, 2005 Vol. 11 Iss. 11),6277,1129847,00.html

Preston, Kelli.  It's Super to Summarize!

Starr, Kelly. Simple Steps of Summarization

Click here to return to Connections.