Sum-thing Important!

Amanda Palmer



Rationale: An important goal for all children to achieve in reading is comprehension.  A child can reach this goal of comprehension through summarization.  This lesson will help children achieve the steps of summarization.





Chalk and Chalkboard

Copies of the story: Bats Bump Into Big Trouble and Can Waves Make Electricity?



1. “Who knows what the word summarize means?”  Allow students to give their responses. “Today we are going to learn how to summarize a story. To summarize means find the main idea or ideas of something you have just read. When you summarize you pick out what you think is most important about the story.”  Write these steps on the board and allow students to copy on their own paper:

  1.  Delete unimportant information.

  2.  Delete repeated information.

  3.  Substitute easy terms for list of items.

  4.  Add a series of events with an easy action term.

  5.  Select a topic.

6.      Invent a topic sentence if there is none.

  ~I am going to write a paragrapgh on the board from Bats Bump Into Big Trouble.   I want you to use the steps that you have written down to tell me the main idea.


2.       Pass out story Bats Bump Into Big Trouble.  This article is important because it discusses a real problem that is happening in the world today.  Turbines or windmills are hurting the bats in this story and no one can figure out why.  Together we are going to read this story and summarize it as a class as we read.  We will use the steps that are written on the board.  As I read, I want you to see if you can pick out the main points in the article.  Now I am going to point out the main idea of the article. Studies show that bats run into high-tech windmills and get hurt or killed.  This will be the topic sentence (write topic sentence on the board).   Now I need to find some ideas in this article that will help prove that my topic sentence is the main idea. Up to 4,000 bats are killed each year.  Most bat deaths occur on calm evenings when the blades are turning slowly. Bats that nest in large dead trees may be looking at the 200-foot-tall wind turbines to see if the bats can make their homes in them.  Teacher writes these sentences on the board.  The teacher also tells the students that it is important to write their summary in their own words.


3.   Now I want you to try summarizing an article on your own. Pass out copies of Can    Waves Make Electricity? First, read the article on your own.  Then I would like for you to answer the summarization questions that are written on the board.


What is the title of the article? 

What is the main idea of this article?

What are three sentences that support the main idea?


Write these answers in the form of a paragraph as I did on the board.


4. After every on is finished summarizing, summarize the article as a class.  Let a few students take turns telling their answers to the summarization questions.  Write the students answers on the board.  Allow students to compare the summary on the board to the summary on their own paper.


5.  Assessment: Students turn in their summaries.  Check for title, main idea and three supporting sentence.


Ives, Sarah. Bats Bump Into Big Trouble. National Geographic Kids News.


Ives, Sarah. Can Waves Make Electricity? National Geographic Kids News.


Walton, Rebecca. Let’s be Star Summarizers!  The Reading Genie Website