Mapping Out A Summary


Allison Cox


Rationale: It is important for students to be able to remember what they read. In order to do this, they must be able to delete unnecessary information and attain the main idea of the text. This strategy must be taught to students so that they can summarize well and in turn remember and understand what they are reading.




Copies of Sarah Plain and Tall


1. Begin with a review of silent reading.  "We are going to start today by reviewing silent reading.  Who can tell me why we read silently?  We read silently so we can understand what we are reading.  By doing this, we can learn a lot of new information at a time.  Today we are going to learn a new way to make sure we understand what we are reading.  Can anyone tell me what a summary is?   You write a summary by picking out the main points in a story or passage.

 2. We will discuss what they know about important aspects to summarization and then we will go over six important tools to summarization. The first is deleting unimportant information. Secondly, delete repeated information. We also want to substitute easy terms for lists of items. Then, we want to add a series of events with an easy action term. Next, select a topic sentence, and lastly, if there is not a topic sentence, invent one.

 3. I will introduce the book Sarah Plain and Tall.  I will read the first chapter of the story aloud to the class.  Then I will model to the class how to write a summary.  "I want everyone to take out your paper and pencil.  I am going to write Sarah Plain and Tall chapter one in my first circle.  Then coming out of that circle I am going to write some of the important events that took place in the chapter.  For example, some important things would be the characters, such as Anna, Caleb, and the Sarah, setting, and plot.  We need to remember to only pick out the important things in the chapter and to pay attention to the rules of writing a summary."

 4. Then I am going to read chapter two of Sarah Plain and Tall. I will ask the students to help me make a map or a web of the second chapter.  (Model the summarization strategies if they are still having trouble)  This map will make it easier to write a summary of each chapter.

5. "Now you know the main points of these two chapters because all of the information is on your maps.  Now I want you to take what you have written in your story maps and use it to write one to two sentences about each chapter to summarize the main points.  Keep the summarization rules in mind while you do this."

6. "Now that you have practiced with two chapters, I want you to read and summarize the next chapter of the book on your own.  When you are done, we will go over them together and make sure everyone was able to pick out the main idea of the story."

7.  Assessment:  Take up the students' maps and the chapter summaries and read over them to make sure they understand how to summarize.   Have a checklist so that you will know if the students understand summarizing and what areas they still need help in.

Pressley, Micheal, et al.  (1989).  "Strategies that Improve Children's Memory and   Comprehension of Text."  The Elementary Journal.  Volume 90, Number 1.
University of Chicago: Chicago, Illinois.  Pages 90, 3-32.
Dr. Bruce Murray's Reading Genie website: Carmon Thrower

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