SUMthing to be Excited About!



By: Abby Hamann

Reading to Learn



An essential part of students’ reading is comprehension.  To some, comprehension can be a barrier during their reading.  This may be because they are having difficulty reading or because they lack successful strategies that would make comprehension easier for them.  One of these strategies is summarization.  This particular strategy allows students to take the important information from a passage and remember it for further use, while disregarding unimportant or trivial information. Students need to be instructed on how to summarize efficiently. The purpose of this lesson will be to teach students how to summarize by asking themselves questions and learning the important steps of summarization.



Marker Board (to write steps and questions to ask)

Marker Board Markers


Paper( to write summary)

Class copies of Time for Kids magazine (use sample article)


1.   First, tell the students they will be reading silently in a magazine.  Refresh their minds by reminding them how to read silently.  Be sure to tell them that reading silently means that they do not talk with their neighbor and show them how to follow along closely with the text and even how to reread the passage if they are unclear about a portion of it.  

2.   ‘‘Good morning class!! Today we are going to learn how to summarize an article after we silently read it to ourselves first.  This skill will help you understand what you read in the future and get the most out of your reading.  Now we are going to read this article silently.  Let’s remember to follow along closely and not talk.  You can begin reading now.’‘

3.   Wait until all children are finished reading.  ‘‘Okay, I think we’ve all finished are article now.  Now we’re going to learn how to summarized what we’ve just finished reading.  Does anyone know what summarization means? Great job! To summarize means that you have picked out the important information from an article or story.  There are several important steps to remember when summarizing a story.’‘  Write the steps on your marker board.

*Delete unimportant information.

*Delete repeated information.

*Substitute easy terms for list of items

*Write a series of events.

*Select a topic.

*Find the topic sentence, or make one if there is not one.

As you explain each step to the students, model the procedure and answer questions they have.  ‘‘These are just a few steps that will make summarization a little easier for you.  If I read an article about how to get up and get ready by myself in the morning, I don’t need to remember what kind of pajamas the person in the article was wearing or what kind of toothbrush he/she had.  I need to remember the main points that it hit on.  For instance, I would need to remember that I have to set an alarm to wake me up.  Then I need to get up and get a shower.  After that, I would have to decide what I want to wear to school and get dressed.  Next I need to eat a well-balanced breakfast and then brush my teeth before I leave for school.  Those would be the main points of the article.  However, what the person in the article had for breakfast would be relatively useless and unimportant to me.’‘

4. ‘‘Now we are all going to see if we can summarize the article we just finished reading to ourselves.  Think about the steps we just talked about when you are writing your summary.  Also, think about these few questions as well.  ‘What is the story about or what is the main idea?’  ‘Who is the story about, who are the characters?’  ‘Where does the story take place, what is the setting?’ These questions might be helpful when you are trying to organize your summary.

5.  ‘‘Now take your piece of paper and write a short summary on the article.  Remember to answer the questions and follow the guidelines we just talked about.  Raise your hand when you are done and I will collect them to see if you followed directions and see if you followed the questions for writing a summary.’‘  Then as a class, discuss the main ideas, setting, characters, and other information that might be helpful to help you summarize.

Assessment:  I will read their summaries to check whether they understood the article that they just finished reading.  They should have included the main ideas or key points from their story.



Get the Skinny. Summarize the story! By Kristen Herren.

Time for Kids magazine

 Return to Doorways Index