Sum it Up!!

By: Katie Kilgore

Reading to Learn


Rationale:  The main goal in reading comprehends what is read.  In order to reach the comprehension goal, summarization skills need to be taught in order for students to identify and recall the main ideas in reading.  Summarization is identifying and recalling the main ideas in a text.  The goal of this lesson is to teach students the steps of summarization including picking out a topic sentence, important information, and repeated ideas, delete them, remove unneeded information, and allow them to practice this process with different text. 



One Highlighter (per student)

Pencil (per student)

Paper (per student)

Summarization tips bookmark (per student)

            -Pick out a topic sentence

            -Pick out important information from the passage

            -Remove unneeded information that is not useful

            -Pick out repeated ideas and delete them

One Copy of “What’s in a Cloud?” from Celebrating Chemistry (American Chemical Society 2003)

One Copy of “Don’t Sweat it: You’re Covered” from Celebrating Chemistry (American Chemical Society 2003)

Assessment Chart:

Did they delete repeated information?

How is Sweat formed?

Did they create or find topic sentence?

Why is it important for our bodies to release sweat?



1.  Today we are going to be working on summarization skills and summarizing what we read.  Summarizing skills are great to have in order to understand what we are reading.   Summarization is condensing what we read from the whole text to a brief statement or summary of the main points and idea.  We will summarize our reading by using the following summarization rules: pick out a topic sentence, pick out important information from the passage, remove unneeded information that is not useful, and pick out repeated ideas and delete them. (Pass out the bookmarks)


2. We are going to practice using our summarizing rules and skills by reading the article, “What’s in a Cloud?” This article provides useful information about the information and the uses of clouds.  We will have to read to find out about how important clouds are on Earth. First, we are going to pick out a topic sentence and circle it with our pencil. The topic sentence is usually the main idea of what is being read.  Next, we will pick out the important facts from the article and highlight them with a highlighter. Then, we will remove information that is not helpful in backing up our main idea or topic sentence by crossing it out with our pencils.  Finally, we will pick out the repeated ideas and delete them with our pencils.


3. Now let’s review our vocabulary we have been talking about.  We discussed that a cloud is a visible mass of particles of condensed vapor that is suspended in the atmosphere.  What were some of the descriptions we discussed about clouds? Yes they provide shade from the sun, and they help produce precipitation. Great job!


4. Demonstrate how to summarize the article, “What’s in a Cloud?” to the students by using the summarizing rules.  Read the article to the students one time without marking the summarizing rules.  Then, read the article a second time, but have student answer the summarizing questions of: What is the topic sentence? Great! Clouds are particles of condensed water vapor.  What information is important in the first paragraph? Yes, clouds do help provide rain. What information is unimportant? Great, clouds are different shapes.  Have students use their pencils and highlighters to mark their findings based on step two’s rules.  Do the steps with the students.


5. After applying our summarizing rules to the article, have the students get out their blank sheet of lined paper. Have the students take the underlined and highlighted information and practice putting it together.  Show the students how to put the information together to make it organized and to the point. Explain that this is a summary. Now let’s get out our lined paper and take our underlined and highlighted information and practice putting it together.  What is our main idea? Great, clouds are particles of condensed water vapor! What information supports this? Great, they do help provide participation! (Continue this process).


6.  Assessment:  Give students a copy of the article “Don’t Sweat it: You’re Covered,” to take home and summarize by using the summarizing rules that were provided to them on the bookmark.  Assess the students abilities to summarize the article and whether they comprehended the article.  Use the assessment chart to assess the students.



Long, Ali. “What’s the Point? Sum it Up!”                                                   

Walker, Casey. “Summing it Up.”                       

What’s in a Cloud” Article.             

Don’t Sweat it: You’re Covered” Article:                 


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