I’m Thankful I Can Summarize!


pilgrims.jpg

Reading to Learn

Lindsay Graves

Rationale:  It is important for students to know how to summarize when they are reading text. This lesson will teach students to understand what they are reading. By summarizing the text students will be able to pick out the main idea and the important details. They will ultimately learn how to find meaning in what they read.

Materials:                                                                                                                                                

1.  Multiple copies of the article “The Truth Behind Thanksgiving Dinner” from  
     National Geographic News
 (November 24, 2003)                                                               
2. A chart of the 5 summarization steps:                                                                                                        
             1.     Pick out important details that are necessary to the story.
            2.    Pick out the less important or repeated ideas and eliminate them.
            3.    Highlight the important and necessary details using key words.
            4.    Pick a topic sentence
            5.    Invent a topic sentence if there is none.                                                                       
 
3.  Markers                                                                                                                                                
4.  Notebook paper                                                                                                                               
 
5.  Pencils

           

Procedure:
1. Today class we are going to learn how to read text and understand it’s meaning by using summarization. First we must be reminded how to read silently. “Who can tell me what it means when I say to read silently? *Allow time for students to respond* Right, silent reading is when we read to ourselves, not out loud, and when our eyes are following along in the text. Who can tell me why we read silently? * Allow time for students to respond * Good, we do this because it helps us understand what we are reading. There are other things we can do to help us understand or comprehend what we are reading. One way is by summarizing our text. Can someone tell me what it means ‘to summarize’? * Allow time for students to respond * Right, when we summarize something we restate it, stressing only the most important parts in order to emphasize the main idea. When you are summarizing a text, you must create a shorter description of what you read. This means you take out any information that is not important or that is repeated in the text.”  Ask, “Who can tell me why it is important to summarize our reading? * Allow time for students to respond * Great job, summarizing helps us to better understand what we have read. Today I am going to teach a few necessary steps that will help you summarize your readings, and then we will practice summarizing some text together. “

2. 
Write the following five summarization steps on the board while explaining each one individually.                                                                                                                                      
  
There are five steps to summarization:

            1.    Pick out important details that are necessary to the story.
            2.    Pick out the less important or repeated ideas and eliminate them.
            3.    Highlight the important and necessary details using key words.
            4.    Pick a topic sentence
            5.    Invent a topic sentence if there is none.                                                                       

        Say: “Okay class, now that I have written the five summarization steps on the board and discussed each one,  let’s review them out loud and then
          practice using them.”

3.  Pass out the article “The Truth Behind Thanksgiving Dinner” from the National Geographic News (November 24, 2003) to each student.           Have students read the first four paragraphs silently to themselves.  *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 summarization of the first four small paragraphs out loud to the students. “Pay close attention to what I am reading and listen to the important details.

First I picked out the most important parts of the paragraphs:  When the First Thanksgiving dinner took place, why the pilgrims and Native Americans ate together, and what was served.  Then I remembered key words such as: First American Thanksgiving, 1621, Pilgrims, Native Americans, Plymouth Massachusetts, eel and deer. Finally I chose I topic sentence: “The First American Thanksgiving dinner in 1621, was very different from our Thanksgiving dinner today”.  Now listen closely as I read my summarization of the first four paragraphs.

“The First American Thanksgiving dinner in 1621, was very different from our Thanksgiving dinner today.  During 1621, The Pilgrims and Native Americans ate a meal together in Plymouth Massachusetts to celebrate the harvest.  The food they served was eel and deer. This is very different from what we eat today. “

” After reading the summarization of the text, remind the students again, of the five easy summarization steps you used to create the summary” This would also be a good time to discuss with students some good questions that will help them choose the main ideas of the story. Model some questions: “ Who can tell me what about the Pilgrims is the article discussing? Right!! It is about their First Thanksgiving.  Who can tell me when the First Thanksgiving took place? Right! It took place during the year of 1621. Who can tell me why the Pilgrims and Native Americans ate a meal together?  Right! The Pilgrims and Native Americans came together to celebrate the harvest. These are a few example questions that can help you along with the summarization rules in deciding what the important details are in the text.

5. “At this time I would like for you to take out a piece of paper and a pencil. This time read the rest of the article." *Allow a sufficient amount of time for each student to finish reading the article.

6. “After reading the rest of the article I want you to write a summary of what you just read.  Remember to use the four easy steps to summarization and remember the 5 w questions you can ask yourself”.  Make sure you only write the details that you think are important and do not forget to put it in your own words.”

7. Walk around the class and monitor the students’ summary. Give positive comments about their summaries and provide help if needed.

8. Assessment: The students will then turn in their summarization of the article to the teacher.  The teacher will read each one making sure every child knows how to summarize a story.


References:

 Adams, Lacey. Marvelous Summarizers! http://www.auburn.edu/rdggenie/guides/adamsrl.html

Ives, Sarah. National Geographic News: The Truth Behind Thanksgiving Dinner. November 24, 2003.

http://news.nationalgeographic.com/kids/2003/11/thanksgiving.html


Lara Wiggins, What Am I Reading?

http://www.auburn.edu/rdggenie/guides/wigginsrl.html


Pressley, M., C.J. Johnson, S. Symons, J.A. McGoldrick, and J.A. Kurity (1989) Strategies that Improve Children’s Memory and Comprehension of Text. The Elementary School Journal, 90, 3-32.


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