Tigers and Apes and Bugs, Oh My! Summarizing with Science

Reading to Learn

Mary Katherine Cooke


Rationale: Once students become fluent readers, the next step is comprehension. In order to comprehend, students must be able to read and summarize a story. When summarizing, students should be able to identify the most important parts of a text. This lesson will teach students how to summarize by teacher modeling and practice with an informational article.




SMART board file with article "Tigers Cuddle with Apes"


Highlighters for each student


Article for students "Green Invaders"


Blank notebook paper for students' summaries


Assessment checklist for each student:

            Did student highlight important details in blue and not important details in green?

            Did student write a summary that includes the important details?

            Did the summary include 1 or more complete sentence(s)?

            Did the summary include key details and omit trivial details?



1.    "Okay boys and girls, now that we are becoming fluent readers, we are going to work on learning how to comprehend. We will do this by learning how to summarize. Summarizing means that we will read an article and then write a few sentences containing only the important information about the topic, leaving the details we do not need out."

2.    "Okay class, first I am going to read this article, "Tigers Cuddle with Apes," on the SMART board out loud, and then we will go back and highlight the important details together. If we come across an unfamiliar word, we will look it up." Read article out loud, looking up any unfamiliar words. Once we are finished, I will guide students to the parts of the article that should be highlighted. "Can someone raise their hand and tell us some phrases they think should be highlighted? Great job!"

3.    "Good job class. These parts that we have highlighted will be the main information we use when writing our summary." I will now model how to put the sentences together to make a brief summary.

4.    "Now that you all know how to make a summary, you are going to practice on your own with this article, "Green Invaders." This article is about how we can protect native plants. Before we start reading, let's go over an unfamiliar word. An entomologist is a person who studies bugs."

5.    "After you finish reading, go back through and highlight the important details in blue and not important details in green. Then, write a summary of the article combining your details in blue."

6.    Assessment: I will take up the students' articles and summaries and evaluate them according to the checklist above.


Ashley Buckelew. Look Who's Summarizing! http://www.auburn.edu/academic/education/reading_genie/journeys/buckelewrl.html


"Tigers Cuddle with Apes." Aline Alexander Newman. http://kids.nationalgeographic.com/kids/stories/animalsnature/tigers-cuddle-with-orangutans/


"Green Invaders." Catherine Clarke Fox.


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