Speedy Summarizers!

Shelby Jordan

Reading to Learn


Rationale: Our goal for readers is to comprehend the information they are reading. One strategy that will help with comprehension is summarizing. Summarizing just means identifying and recalling the main ideas in a text.  This lesson will give students brief steps in summarization and allow students to put their knowledge of summarization into practice. Students will practice their skills on short passages while using the summarization checklist.



-Copies of Rain Forest Explorer

-Summarization checklist on poster board: delete unimportant information, delete repeated information, pick out important information, create the topic sentence

-Summarizing checklist



1.  Say: "Today we are going to be talking about summarizing. Does anyone know what summarizing means? Summarizing just means to find the main ideas in the text. We need to use summarizing when we read so we make sure and comprehend the story. Does anyone know what comprehend means? Comprehend just means to understand something. Summarizing is one of the steps that helps us comprehend the text."

Now review with students the summarization checklist (listed above).

-We need to delete unimportant information because that information doesn't help us understand the text

-We need to delete repeated information because that information will just confuse us, and those facts have already been stated

-We need to pick out important information because that information provides us with details on what the text is about

-We need to create a topic sentence because that helps us know what the text is about and what the main idea is


2. Say: "Before we practice summarization, we are going to go over vocabulary. Lets look at the word adaptation. An adaptation means a way an animal or plant changes to help it survive. An adaptation for a polar bears could be their thick fur because it helps them survive the cold weather. An adaptation for a dog wouldn't be chasing a car because that change wouldn't help him survive. Which one of these would be an adaptation: A squirrels sharp teeth so they can bite through a thick nut, or a kitten's shiny new collar; A lizard being able to change colors so predators can't see him, or a fishes new tank. Finish this sentence, one adaptation for the cheetah could be…

Possible answer: Being able to run really fast to catch its prey.


3. Display the summarization checklist on poster board for the students to see. Go over the checklist again explicitly. Say: "Now I'm going to show you how to summarize an article. I'm going to cross out unimportant information and repeated information and underline important information. I'm also going to find the topic sentence. I will summarize this article in one sentence.


Tropical rain forests are dense jungles that grow in the tropics, the part of the earth nearest to the equator. More kinds of animals and plants live in tropical rain forests than anywhere else. In a tropical rain forest there are many habitats, places where animals and plants live. You are about to discover many of these habitats and the animals and plants that live in them.


I'm going to cross out information that is repeated information and unimportant information. I'm going to underline important information that is we have to have to understand the text. Then I'm going to create a topic sentence. Ask yourself these questions, what's this passage about? What's the big idea?

I'm going to cross out dense, and where it explains where the tropics are because that isn't important information to understand the text. Stating that more plants and animals live there than anywhere else doesn't help us figure out what the text is stating. Tropical rainforests is being repeated several times so I just crossed that out. The last sentence in this text is unimportant and doesn't help us figure out what the text's meaning is.


Summary: Tropical rain forests are jungles that hold habitats for lots of animals.


4. Say: "Now let's try summarizing a paragraph together. Everyone turn to page 8 in your books. Remember our summarization checklist. We are going to underline important information and cross out unimportant information and repeated information. Remember to create that topic sentence!"


So much rains falls in the tropical rain forest that the river is almost always full with lots of water. Millions of gallons of water pass by every minute. The water is brown form carrying soil washed into it by the rain.


Topic: The rain forest river holds lots of brown water

Why? From the soil and rain

Summary: The rain forest river holds lots of brown water from carrying soil from the rain.


5. "Today we will practice our summarizing skills when reading. We are going to be reading about things that are found on the rain forest floor. Things that are found on the rain forest floor could be animals, plants, and even fruits. You will have to read and find out what other kinds of interesting creatures are found on the floor. We are going to read pages 10-13. You will stop and write a summary sentence after each page. Remember to use our summarization checklist and underline important information, cross out unimportant information and repeated information. Most importantly, write that topic sentence!"


6. Assessment:

For assessment I will use the checklist listed below to grade the students summarizing skills.

When summarizing, did the student…






Delete unimportant information?






Delete repeated information?






Select a topic?






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










-Lindsey Jones, Simply Summarizing, http://www.auburn.edu/academic/education/reading_genie/invitations/jonesrl.htm

- Greg Pyers, Rain Forest Explorer, Chicago, Raintree, 2005, 32 pages



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