HMM,What's The Point? SUMMARIZING!


Reading to Learn Lesson

by Avery Gwaltney


Rationale: The most important aspect of reading is comprehension. If you do not comprehend when you read then you will have no clue what the story is about. There are a lot of strategies that students can use to help with comprehending. The most important strategy, in my opinion, is summarization. Summarization is learning how to find the most important information while reading. The students must follow five summarization rules in order to summarize and comprehend correctly. These rules include the following: recognizing the important information, deleting the unimportant information, organizing items with a big idea, selecting a topic, and being able to write an inclusive, simple topic sentence to summarize the whole passage. Being able to summarize the correct way can greatly increase comprehension skills! In this Reading to Learn lesson, the students will learn the 5 rules of summarization. They will have to apply their knowledge of the rules by watching me model how to summarize, reading an article, and then writing their own summary.




photocopy of Little Miss Muffet

a poster copy of the 5 summarization rules (make poster size so the whole class can see it)

paper, pencil, and highlighter for each student

white board and dry erase marker

photocopies of ""More Than Just a Snack Food" by Sandie Lee (one for each student)


 1) First, review using cover-ups with the class. "Today, we are going to review using our cover-ups. Can anyone show me how to properly use the cover-up? (Teacher will model first, then the teacher will call on a student to demonstrate the proper way to use a cover-up.) Does anyone remember why we use cover-ups? We do this because it helps us figure out words on our own. The more words we know the better our comprehension will be when we read!

 2) Introduce summarization to the class. "The most important part of reading is comprehension. When we comprehend something it means that we understand what we are reading! The more we understand when reading; the more we will want to read for fun! Summarization is a strategy that can help us comprehend things more easily! Summarization is a strategy in which you find the most important information in a passage.

3) "Before we go over summarization, we are going to go over vocabulary. When you are reading, it is important for you to pick out key words that are important in order to fully understand, or comprehend the text."

"Let's look at what the word insubordinate means. Someone who is insubordinate is disobedient when it comes to following the rules"

"Someone who is insubordinate would not be one to follow the rules exactly how the teacher wants them to".

"Which one of these is most likely someone who is insubordinate? Someone who makes straight A's or someone who has detention?

"Finish this sentence: The teacher called the students parent and said that he was an insubordinate because he…

"Possible completion: never did his homework because he never wrote down what his homework was."


 4) "Now we are going to go over the summarization strategy!" First, explain the rules of summarization. "There are five rules that are very important when learning how to summarize correctly.  Have a copy of the rules written on the whiteboard, read the rules aloud once, then have the students repeat the rules back to you, then explain and model the rules.

1)  Pick out the important details. 

2) Delete repeated information.

3) Organize items with a big idea.

4) Select a topic.

5) Write an inclusive, simple topic sentence to summarize the passage.


5) Next, model how to summarize by using the 5 steps. "I am going to model for you all how to summarize by first reading the nursery rhyme "Little Miss Muffet," and then I will model how to write a summary. So, pay close attention so that you will understand!"


Little Miss Muffet sat on a tuffet
Eating her curds and whey,
Along came a spider,
Who sat down beside her
And frightened Miss Muffet away


a. After reading the article, I am going to refer to the board where our summarization rules are.  "First, I'm going to get rid of unimportant information": 

-"On a tuffet."

-"Curds and whey."


b. "Next, I'm going to pick out important information:"

-Little Miss Mufffet was sitting.

-Along came a spider that sat beside her and frightened her.




c. "Finally, I'm going to form a summarizing sentence:"

          "When Little Miss Muffet sat down to eat; a spider came and sat next to her, and frightened her away!

6) Next, pass out a photocopy of the article "More Than Just a Snack Food". Make sure that each student has their own highlighter and pencil so they can mark on the article. If they do not have their own highlighter or pencil I will provide them with one.

7) Give a book talk that captures the student's attention, and engages them. Book talk: "Today we will be reading about a snack food that has been  around for over 5000 years. This snack food was very important when it came to inventing the first microwave oven. Can you guess what it is? Let's read the article to find out!"

 8) Tell the students to read the article, "More Than Just a Snack Food", silently. Tell the students to first read the article and highlight the important points in the article. Then have the students read the article a second time and have them mark out the unimportant information with the pencil. Make sure to allow enough time for each student to finish correcting and reading the article twice, and do not move on until everyone is done.

9) After the students have finished correcting and reading the article, give each student a piece of paper, and tell them that now it is their turn to write a summary. Tell them they will be writing a summary about the article "More Than Just A Snack Food." Also, emphasize to the students the importance of using the 5 summarizing steps when they write their summary.

10) Give the students plenty of time to complete the assignment. Then, collect their summaries one by one for assessment.


In order to assess each student I will have them turn in their summaries to me, and I will assess their summary with the checklist below.

Summary Assessment Checklist

When summarizing, did the student…



Delete unimportant information?



Delete repeated information?



Organize items with a big idea?



Select a topic?



Write an inclusive, simple topic sentence to summarize the passage?






"Let's Get To The Point—Summarize!" by Jessie Wiggins

"More Than Just a Snack Food" by Sandie Lee

"Venus Flytraps" by Lill Pluta

"Little Miss Muffet"


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