Madagascar-Simply Summarized

Learning to Read

Amanda Lyle




 One very important goal in skillful reading is comprehension. It is important to teach children the strategies involved in achieving reading comprehension. One of these necessary strategies is summarization. This is helpful when students begin to read informational or expository text in which they are to comprehend and recall new information. This lesson will give students the steps necessary to independently organize and simplify information in text for comprehension through summarization.



Paper and Pencil for each student

Chalkboard and Chalk

The following steps written on the board:

1) Delete trivial information

2) Delete repeated information

3) Replace lists with easier descriptions or terms

4) Select or invent a topic sentence

Copies of "Madagascar" Movie: Nightmare in Real Life?

Article available at:


1.   Introduce the lesson. “Today class I would like to discuss a new reading strategy called summarization. This strategy is effective in successful reading comprehension. Since we have discussed comprehension I would like for someone to raise their hand and recall what we have learned about comprehension.” Wait for students to answer and respond. “That is all great; Comprehension is to read and understand the text.” Summarization is very important because it allows us to pick out information that is important in text. I would like for us to practice together picking out the most important information we can find in an expository (informational) text.”
2. “There are a few simple steps on the board that I would like everyone to copy down on a sheet of paper to use as your own checklist.” Write the following steps on the board and  wait for the students to copy them prior to discussion:

           1) Delete trivial information

           2)  Delete repeated information

          3) Replace lists with easier descriptions or terms

          4) Select or invent a topic sentence

3. When the class has finished copying the steps, have them read each step aloud, and ask if there are any questions in understanding the meaning of the text.

 4. It is now important to model how to use these strategies. Pass out one copy of "Madagascar" Movie: Nightmare in Real Life?  to each student. Introduce the article by saying, “This summer many of you may have seen or heard of a wonderful movie called Madagascar. This movie was about four friends, a lion, a zebra, a hippopotamus, and a giraffe who live a normal zoo life at the New York City Zoo. The animals take a wild adventure in which they end up stranded on the island of Madagascar. The funny thing is there is a real island of Madagascar today however there are no lions, zebras, hippopotamus, or giraffe. Where is this island located and who or what lives there if the animals in the movie do not?” Have the students silently read the second and third paragraphs of the article and look up when they are finished.

 5. Model by saying, “Now that we have all read silently, I am going to think aloud and go through my summarization steps. The first step is to delete unimportant information. I did not find any nor do I see any repeated information just yet. I can now move on. I also do not have a list of any kind in this section. I do however need to look for a topic sentence. So far I believe the most important sentence I have read is: About 80 percent of the plants and animals on the island are found nowhere else on Earth. This will be my topic sentence. Since the sections are short, often one sentence is sufficient information.”

  6. Ask the students to silently read the article and use their checklist to summarize the information and write it on a sheet of paper. “Once you are finished with your summarization, you may quietly look nearby for another person who is finished and share your completed summaries with one another.” Walk around and glance at the topic sentences being written and provide help if needed.

  7.  Once everyone is complete the students can volunteer to come and share with the class what they found to be the main ideas of the article. Help them to walk through their thought process using the steps as a checklist.



I will collect the students work and use a check list for determining if the student has a good grasp on summarizing while reading expository text.

Is there any unimportant or repeated information found within their summary?                    
Are any list simplified?
Has the student located or created a meaningful topic sentence?




Pressley, M., Johnson, C. J., Symons, S., McGoldrick, J. A., & Kurity, J. A. (1998).  Strategies that improve children’s memory and comprehension of text.  The Elementary School Journal, 90, 3-32


Lovgren, Stefan. "Madagascar" Movie: Nightmare in Real Life? National Geographic Kids. April 22, 2005.


Conway, Kelby. Super Summaries.


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