Summin’ It All Up!

boy readiing

Reading To Learn Design

Kelly Roberts


Rationale: The goal of reading instruction is to provide children with the skills necessary for comprehension. Summarization is one key strategy a mature reader uses in order to understand a text.  In this lesson, the children will learn how to delete trivial and redundant information, subordinate terms and events, and create a topic sentence by referring to a checklist of each of these rules. The students learn this by creating their own summaries while following these rules and creating their own concept maps.


 -Chalkboard and chalk

-Article for each student: Flying Horses—The Amazing Lipizzaners of Austria (

 -Article for each student: The Ayes-Ayes of Madagascar (

 -Concept map for each student

 -Highlighter and pencil for each student

    1.The reason that we learn to read is so that we can comprehend, or understand, the information given in whatever we are reading. When we can             comprehend, we can find out what is happening in a story or how to do something (ex: reading a recipe or manual), or just learn information about         something we are curious about. Today we are going to talk about summarizing, which is an important strategy to learn in order to be a mature                reader. When we summarize, we decide which information in the story or writing is important for understanding. Today we are going to practice             summarizing by finding a text’s main idea and the details that support that idea.

    2. Today we are going to make sure that we read SILENTLY so that we do not disturb our neighbors while they are trying to read (Model silent and out     loud reading and ask students how they are different.).

    3. In order to summarize, it is important for us to follow a few simple rules. (Have these written on board already). Read and explain each to class

-Get rid of any unnecessary or repeated information.

-Find the most important items or events.

-Write a statement that sums up everything the writer wants you to know about that subject. You do this by reading the entire text and determining the most important main idea of the piece.

4.  Read Flying Horses—The Amazing Lipizzaners of Austria (from National Geographic for Kids) as a class. Now I will follow our three rules of summarizing to help me comprehend this text. First, I will try to get rid of any unimportant information. For example, it is not really important that the what color the stallions are at ten years old. Next, I will take out important events or items. For example, the gorses with the most potential get separated from the rest of the herd and go to training. Then the horse’s muscles are strengthened and exercised. Then their abilities to leap and kick are refined. Then the horses are flown around the world to perform. Last, I will try to make a statement that covers everything I read. For this article, I might say that the main idea is: The Lipizzaner stallions are trained for years so that they can travel the world, dazzling people with their incredible “ballet” tricks.

 5. Give each student a copy of The Ayes-Ayes of Madagascar. This piece is about some very special and unique animals from a country near Africa called Madagascar. Now, you will work with a new article to highlight only the important information given. Remember to use the rules written on the board as a guide to help you determine what should be highlighted and what should not. Also, remember that we are reading SILENTLY.

 6. Once the students have completed this part, give them each a concept map to work with. When you use your concept map, you will write the subject and your original topic sentence in the middle. Then you will use what you have highlighted to write the details that support that topic sentence in the “arms” of the map. Model filling out a concept map with the first article you read as a class.

 7. Once students have completed their concept maps, have them work in pairs to write a summary paragraph of the article. They should use each of their concept maps to do this.

 8. To assess students’ paragraphs, use the three rules and check “yes” next to the rule if they followed it and “no” next to a rule if they did not.



 Hughes, Catherine D. Flying Horses—The Amazing Lipizzaners of Austria. (

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