The Juicy Stuff Matters

Reading to Learn
Katie Edema


            Summarization is an important skill for any reader to learn and master so that a review or recap can take place.  Summarization is an important literacy goal because it helps students to understand what has been read and gives them the necessary scaffolding to represent their knowledge of the material read.  This lesson will teach students story structures, learn to summarize by singling out what is important, and how to sue summarization on sentence strips to practice putting a story in order.



  1. I will introduce summarization to the students by asking them what it means and then describing the concept in my own words. “What does it mean to summarize a story? Summarizing a story means to read a passage and then retell the story by using the main idea so that it is shorter. In order to do this we must be able to pick out what is important to the plot of the story. This helps us understand what happened in the story in a quick and organized way. I will model for you by reading a passage and summarizing it. (I wanted a puppy for Christmas. I ask my mom for a puppy everyday. I knew Christmas was going to be here soon so I even asked her three times a day so that she would not forget. When we walked past the pet store I would point out the puppy I wanted so that my mom wouldn’t pick the wrong one. I even wrote Santa Clause and asked him for a puppy just in case my mom forgot. If she didn’t forget, I would get two puppies. When Christmas Day came I ran down stairs to see all the presents piled under the tree. I looked for the box that would be moving and making noises, but I couldn’t find one. After we opened all our presents, I still was not as happy as I should have been. I asked my mom if she forgot about the puppy I wanted. As I was waiting for her answer, my dad walked through the door with the puppy I wanted? He didn’t forget about my puppy!) Summarization: I asked my mom and Santa Clause everyday for a puppy for Christmas and when Christmas Day came, my dad was the one who remembered to get my puppy. “I just summarized the story by going through each sentence and finding information that is important to know and will help me understand the book. To find out what is important you should ask yourself these questions: Who is in the story? Where are the characters? What did the characters do? What was the problem in the story and was the problem solved?  Use these questions to help you find out what is important. Not everyone will have the same answer and that is ok.
  2. Explain to the students that they will be put into small groups and must work cooperatively. The students will be put into groups of three. Each group will get a copy of the book, How the Grinch Stole Christmas. They will be assigned a certain number of pages to read so that the text is brief. “A good way to summarize is to write notes of what is important. (I will read the first page of the book and write on a post-it what is important on that page so that you know exactly how to do it.) If you don’t think important information is on that page, then don’t write anything on your post-it.  You can stick the post-it on the page you read so that you can go back to see if what you wrote is really important. I will model how to use the post-its. (I will read the first two pages of the story out loud and as I’m reading, I will stop and say what I’m doing) Page one: “Every Who down in Who-Ville liked Christmas a lot” I will take my post-it and ask myself the questions stated above and write the answers down. If I don’t have an answer, I won’t write anything down. I will explain this out loud to the students. I write on the post-it “Who”, “Who-Ville”, and “they like Christmas a lot”. I will explain why I chose to write the words that were in the story. “I must know who is in the story, where the story is taking place, and what the characters are doing or what they like.” I will repeat this process for the second page.
  3. The children will take turns reading pages in their groups and write their post-it notes. After reading their assigned pages, students should discuss as a group what they read and decide if the notes answer the questions.
  4. The groups will then rewrite their notes in sentences and write them on sentence strips.
  5. The class will come together and each group will put their sentence strips in order on the board. The class will decide if they are truly in order and if they think this is a good summarization of the story. I will ask, “Do you think that this summarization can be shortened any more without taking out the important information? If so, what can you say?”


            I will assess students while they are in their groups and as they are writing on their post-its, I will ask them why they chose those ideas and why they think they are important.


Brazeau, Kym. Getting Down to the Nitty Gritty.

Eldredge, J. Lloyd. Teaching Decoding in Holistic Classrooms. 1995. Prentice Hall.

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