Super Summarizing

 Reading to Learn

Beth Binkowski

Rationale: The ultimate goal for reading is comprehension.  Readers need to be able to comprehend a text well enough to be able to pull out the main idea and important details.  This technique is called summarizing. This lesson is designed to provide a model of how to better comprehend a text by reading a text, picking out the important items, eliminating the non-important items, and summing the main idea up in their own words.

Materials: whiteboard, expo marker, copy of article for each child, paper, pencils, assessment checklist, chart paper


1. Say: "As a class, we have been learning strategies and techniques that will allow us to be expert readers. Another technique we are going to learn about is called summarizing.  Does anyone know what that means? [allow students to discuss] A summary tells us the important information of a text we have read without all the extra stuff.  When you summarize a text you use your own words to sum it up in order to increase your understanding."

2. Say: "There are three really important parts of summarizing. First, we delete, or take out, all of the unimportant information. We do this because some information given in a text is just minor detail, and we only want the important information. Second, we make sure to highlight the parts of the text we think are important.  Make sure to go back over what you deleted so you can make sure you didn't take out anything really important.  Third, we put it all together and sum up what the author is saying with the information given in the text we have read. Let's see if everyone remembers. What was the first step? Second? Third? [write each on the board so everyone can refer back to them] Good job everyone!

3. Say: "Before we read the article individually, I want to go over some of the words that will be used in the article." [Pick out words that the students may not be familiar with. Have these words on chart paper and talk about what they may mean. After discussing what the meaning could be, if the students do not know explain the definition and write in on the paper. If they are familiar with the words, still write the definition on the paper so they can reference it when reading.]

4. Say: "Okay, class, it is time to put our skills to the test. Let's see if we can remember the rules and use them to summarize our text. We are reading about bats that live in Austin, Texas and fly out from a cave under a bridge all at the same time.  Let's read to find out why they are in Texas and why they fly under the bridge."

5. Once the class has read the article, I will reread one paragraph from the text and we will summarize it together. Say: "What are some things that we can delete? What should we highlight? Now let's put it together in a sentence or two in order to summarize what the author is saying here."

6. Say: "Now I want you to summarize the rest of the article on your own. The three steps are written on the board if you get stuck and need a reminder of what to do." The class will work individually on reading the article, deleting unimportant information, highlighting important information, and summarizing the article.

7. When students begin completing the assignment, I will have them come to me one by one and explain to me the steps they took in summarizing the article in order to assess their knowledge on the technique and if they can apply it.

8. References:

"Amazing Bats of Braken Cave". National Geographic for Kids.

Johnson, Ally. Super Summarizers.


Assessment Checklist:

Students Name: ______________   Date: __________

Yes    No

___    ___       picked out the important information

___    ___       deleted the unimportant important

___    ___       understood the information

___    ___       wrote a sentence(s) summarizing the most important information

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