Diving with Dolphins into Summarization

Reading to Learn

Lauren Davee


Comprehension is the main goal of reading. We must teach students strategies to comprehend what they are reading. There are many strategies to make comprehension easier and summarization is one of the main strategies. Summarizing is a skill that must be taught to students through teacher modeling. This lesson will teach students how to summarize an article by learning the three necessary steps of the summarization process which are deleting information that is not important or is repeated, highlighting the important and necessary details by using key words or headings, and finding a topic sentence that covers the main idea and if there is not a topic sentence make one.



Highlighter for each student

Overhead Transparency of National Geographic Article: “Bottle Nose Dolphins”

Overhead projector

Printed copy of National Geographic Article:  “Bottle Nose Dolphins”

Lined paper for each student

Summarizing poster with 3 points:

1. Delete information that is not important or is repeated.

 2. Highlight the important and necessary details by using key words or headings.

 3. Find a topic sentence that covers the main idea and if there is not a topic sentence make one.

* Summarization checklist

Did the Student…



Get rid of unimportant information?



Get rid of repeated information?



Organize items under one umbrella term?



Select a topic?



Write a topic statement that covers everything that is important from the passage of the text?




1. I will begin by introducing the comprehension strategy of summarizing to the students. “Today we are going to talk about summarizing. This is a great way to help us understand and remember what we read. Does anyone already know what summarizing is? (allow students to guess) Summarizing is taking out all of the unimportant facts and recording the main facts and ideas.

2. Next, we would discuss the rules to summarization. “Now we are going to look at the three rules for summarizing.” Show the poster to the students and read the rules out loud. “Now I want you to read this paragraph about bottle nose dolphins. Before you read it we are going to discuss some vocab words from the article. Imitated, moans, and groans.” Give definition of each word and discuss meaning.  “Once you are done we are going to summarize the paragraph together.”

3. Display the Bottle nose dolphin article on overhead and pass out article to each student. Give a talk to get the students interested in the bottle nose dolphin, “ Has anyone ever been to the beach and see a dolphin? What about has anyone seen a dolphin show at the zoo? Dolphins are interesting animals and this article will tell us many facts that we never knew about them. ”Let’s look at our paragraph…Follow along as I read out loud: ‘Their moans, groans, squeaks, whistles, and grunts can sound as if they're a heavy metal band. But bottlenose dolphins make their own kind of music. Many of the sounds they make could be imitated by holding a balloon tightly by the neck, then letting the air out faster and slower.’

“Now let's look at the steps on our summarizing poster. First, I need to pick out the most important information. This is tricky! How can we tell what information is important and what it not? (give time for response). One strategy I use is seeing what words are repeated. Look in our article the word dolphin is repeated. I also noticed a lot of synonyms are used. Moans, Groans, squeaks, etc. are all different words for sounds. So we know that dolphins and sounds are important in this article.  Underline important information: “Bottlenose dolphins make their own kind of music”. “Now that I have underlined the important information and ignored the unimportant parts, I need to create a sentence about the summary. Let's try this: Dolphins communicate with their own kind of sounds that is like music.” Do you see how I summarized the paragraph? Does anyone else have any other summaries they think could be better? Does anyone have any questions about how I summarized this paragraph?” Answer all of the students questions.

4. “See, instead of writing two long sentences, I wrote one sentence that told me the same important information. Let's try the next paragraph together. Read the next paragraph silently to yourselves, mark out the unimportant information and highlight the important information. Once you have finished, we will work together to create a summary. Give students time to read and highlight.”

5. Ask the students, “ What was some of the important passages you highlighted?” Review their answers and circle good answers on the transparency. “Now that we have the important facts, let's make a summary sentence. Who has a good start to the summary?” Work with students to create a summary.

6. Now, on your own, I want you to read the last two paragraphs in the article and create a one- two sentence summary. Remember to highlight your important passages, cross out the unimportant passages and write your summary on a sheet of paper. Turn in your summary stapled to your highlighted paper.

Assessment: I will assess the students by looking at their summaries using my summary checklist.  


Gluckman, Amanda. "Long Story Short".


Cambre Prater “Whats the point?”


National Geographic article:


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