Simon Says Summarize!

Reading to Learn

By: Caroline Burr


            Comprehension is one of the ultimate goals in reading. It is important for children to learn specific tools that will assist their comprehension early on in reading education. Summarization is an important skill for children to learn in order to gain knowledge and meaning of assigned text. Summarization is the child's ability to erase insignificant details, pick out main ideas, and create a sentence that contains the meaning the author has conveyed through text. After this lesson, students will have obtained the necessary skills to construct summaries, and they will be better equipped to interpret information and meanings from assigned readings.


            -Summarizing Poster:

                        1.  Delete anything that you know is not important to the story.

                        2. Pick out the items and events that you know are important

                        3. Compose a sentence that covers the main ideas of the readings and the purpose of the story.

            -Amazing Bats at Bracken Cave Article (class set)

            - Green Invaders Article (teacher copy/ overhead or smart board copy)

            -Assessment checklist

                        YES      NO

                        -Deletes details

                        -Identifies important items and main ideas

                        -Creates a sentence that covers the important information the author

                        Included in the story.



1.      I am going to begin the lesson by explaining why it is important for us to learn how to summarize literature works and articles when we read. I will then go to explain to the students what summarizing entails. "Summarizing is when you read informational texts and pull out the important ideas the author has written about, and retell the story in your own words so someone could get an overview of the story without having to read it themselves."

2.      Before we read our informational texts, I am going to explain to you the difference between a detail and a main idea. A detail is something that is important to the story but not important when we want to summarize. When we summarize we want to take the important facts from the story to create a statement or paragraph. Details explain stories better and are included so we can better visualize what the author is talking to us about. The main idea of an article, is the main purpose for why the author wrote the article. It is something that allows us to see the big picture of the text, without having to learn every single detail of the story.

3.       "Now we are going to read an article together as a class and create a summarizing sentence together. (Put Green Invaders article on the overhead or smart board). I want each of you to follow along with the article while I read it aloud. I want you to think about these questions while I am reading: Why did the author write this story? Who is the author writing about? What is the main idea that the author would like me to take away from this story?

4.      Now that we have all read this article we are going to look at the summarizing poster hanging in our classroom to help us create a summarizing sentence. Make a list on the board that names the main points of the article. Now that we have deleted the unimportant information and made a list of the main ideas, lets brainstorm different sentences that best summarize the article. Let the children say different sentences that they think best summarizes the article and write them on the smart board. Discuss which sentence best summarizes the article, and scaffold the students towards the important information if they are getting confused.

5.      "Now I am going to give each of you a copy of the article Amazing Bats at Bracken Cave to read silently. I am also going to give each of you a highlighter to highlight the important information that you find in the article. After you have finished reading the article, I want you to use the summarizing poster as a guide and create your own sentence to summarize the article. When you have finished writing your sentence please raise your hand and wait patiently until I call you to come to my table to check your work."

6.      I will assess the students' work by using the assessment checklist posted above.


Fox, Catherine Clarke, Green Invaders

Tuttle, Merlin D., Bats At Bracken Cave

White, Amy, Fly High And Summarize

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