Super Summarizers

Reading to Learn

By: Alle Hausfeld



1. 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.


2. Materials:




-chart paper

-12’ by 12’’ squares of poster board

-Article on “Gorilla Rescue”

-Checklist for each student with the following:

            1. Delete unimportant information

            2. Delete repeated information

            3. Substitute easy words for lists of terms

            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


3. Procedures:

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 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. “Part of summarizing a story is reading alone, and asking yourself questions quietly about what you are reading as you read.” Let me show you an example of what I am talking about. 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 silently the article “Gorilla Rescue” and practice summarizing and find the main points of our article. Have an engaging book talk about story they are about to read. 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 us a web on the chart to help us organize our main points and what we know from our 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 working with a partner just like we did. Pass out the poster board squares to each group, along with the individual checklist and a marker to each group. “I will be walking around if you need help.”


6. 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 story they read to make sure that they comprehend the text. They will each turn in a brief summary paragraph on their web they created from the article, and I will check to make sure that they only mentioned the important facts in the story, and that they have a topic sentence. I will ask “Why did the Gorilla need to be rescued?”


4. References:

National Geographic, “Gorilla Rescue”.


Trefethern, Caroline.



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