Star Summarizers




Reading to Learn

By Janie Colvin


Rationale: The goal of this lesson is to teach children a way to comprehend what they are reading. In order to do this, students must be able to grasp the main idea of the story. A strategy to help improve and strengthen comprehension is summarization. The students will be taught how to summarize the information they read in a book. Also, they need to learn how to use a series of events to create a topic sentence. After learning how to use these skills, students will be on their way to becoming better readers.






-chart paper

-12' by 12" squares of poster board

- Article on "Gorilla Rescue"

-Checklist for each student must contain the following:

            1. Delete unimportant information

            2. Delete repeated information.

            3. Substitute easy words for lists 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 not one already.



 1. Start the lesson by discussing what summarizing is and why it is an important part of the reading process. "Can anyone tell me what the word summarize means? When we say the word summarize, we are saying to take out the main/most important points of a passage and put them together to create a summary. A summary is a description of the main parts in a story. So now that we know what a summary is, can anyone give me an example of a summary? Today we are going to learn more about summarizing. Have any of you ever summarized before?" 


 2. "One part of summarizing a story is reading alone and asking yourself questions quietly about what you are reading. Let me show you an example." (Read a short story aloud, and say) "Now, while I am reading, I am going to ask myself... What is this story about? What are some main facts?" (Then, give an example summary of the short story to the students). "Now I want you to read the article "Gorilla Rescue," and practice summarizing while you do so. Don't forget to focus on the main points in this article." Book Talk- "The article, in which you will be reading today, is about an endangered baby gorilla named Dunia. Dunia was captured by poachers and taken across the border into Rwanda, intended to be sold. Dunia's parents were killed by the poachers, and she is searching for a new family. Do you think Dunia will find a new family…one that will love her and take care of her? Let's read and find out what happens to her." "Before we begin reading silently to ourselves, I want to present a few vocabulary words to you."

Vocabulary- 1. Poacher- Someone who catches and kills animals illegally. 2. Endangered Species- A population of organisms which is at risk of becoming extinct. 3. Vegetarian- People/animals who do not eat meat. 4. Sanctuary- a facility where animals are brought to live and be
protected for the rest of their lives. "Now that we have gone over our vocabulary words, you may begin reading your articles.
Remember, we are reading to ourselves, so I shouldn't hear you talking."



 3. "Now that you have read the article and you know what summarizing means, we will learn the six important steps of summarizing." (Read on chart paper and give examples of each from the story).

            1. Delete unimportant information

            2. Delete repeated information.

            3. Substitute easy words for lists 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 not one already.


 4. "Let's talk about what we read in the article together."  I am going to draw a web on the chart paper to help us organize our main points from the reading. Remember to use the summary checklist we just went over. Where am I going to put the main topic on our web? (In the middle) Great! What should I put in the middle of the web? (Gorilla Rescue) Very good! Okay, who can give me a main point from the article?" (Record their comments on the web) We can use this web to help us create our summary by using some of the facts that we have just listed. Each fact can be a sentence in our summary."


 5. "Now I want you to create your own web. You will be working with a partner while you do so. I will pass out the poster board squares to each group, along with providing each group with an individual checklist and a marker. I will be walking around to assist you if you need help."


 Assessment: To assess the students' understanding of summarizing, I will monitor them as they work together on their webs. I will also ask the students questions about the article they read to make sure that they comprehended the text. They will each turn in a brief summary on the web in which they created from the article. I will check to make sure that they only mentioned the important facts in the story, and that they have a topic sentence as well. I will ask "Why did the Gorilla need to be rescued?" I will also review the vocabulary words with my students. I will create an assessment checklist to make sure that all students' grasped the summarization concept. The checklist will look like this:

Student's Name

Vocabulary Included

Summary is Organized with full sentences

Summary Shows Comprehension
















National Geographic. "Gorilla Rescue".  Retrieved on April 7, 2011.

Nobles, Brittney.

"Super Summarizers."


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