Alex Kingsford

Reading to Learn


Rationale: The goal of this lesson is to teach children a way to comprehend what they are reading. Students need to be able to pick out certain sentences that are important as well as grasping the main idea of the passage. Today, students will be taught to summarize the important information in the given story. Also, they will 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.






Chart paper

Individual pieces of poster board

Story to give the children

Checklist written on chart paper

Copies of the story of Goldilocks and the Three Bears



1. "Today, we are going to be talking about summarizing. Can anybody tell me what the word summarizing means?" Give the students opportunities to explain. "Summarizing means to take out important parts of a story or article, put them together, and form a summary. Can anyone give me an example of a summary of a story you have read lately? Has anyone ever had to summarize a story before?" Allow the children to answer. These questions introduce the lesson about summarizing.


2. "We are going to be reading and summarizing 'Goldilocks and the Three Bears'. But first there are a few words in this story that may be difficult for you to understand. The first word is porridge. Porridge is a type of food that is like oatmeal, it is made from oats, milk, and water. So porridge is not what bears eat! Porridge is what humans eat! Is porridge more like a soup or a cereal? Is porridge more like something animals eat or humans eat?" I will write part of a sentence up on the board and have the children raise their hands to complete the sentence in their own words. Write "The porridge tasted…" on the board. Have the students give me a few examples, which I will write on the board.


3. "Part of summarizing a story is reading alone, and asking yourself questions quietly about what you are reading as you read. I am going to give you an example of how I summarize while I read a story. I am going to read a short story aloud to you and as I am reading I am going to ask myself: 'What is this story about? What are some main facts?'" Now give an example summary of the short story to the students. "Now I want you to read Goldilocks and the Three Bears silently to yourself, while you are reading I want you to practice summarizing the story and finding the main points in the story."


Booktalk (do this before the students begin reading): "Goldilocks lives in the woods. One day she decides to go for a walk in the woods and comes upon a house. She knocks and knocks and no one answers. The door is unlocked so she decides to walk in the house. You are going to have to read the rest of the story to find out what happens to Goldilocks!"


"Remember, we are reading silently so we should not hear any talking!"


4. Allow everyone to finish his or her reading. "Now that we have read the story we are going to focus on summarizing it. There are six important steps to summarizing that can help you come up with a great summary." Have the steps written on paper big enough for all of the students to see.


The steps are:

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.


"Can anyone tell me who the main characters in the story are?" Allow the children to raise hands and give answers.


"Can anyone tell me the setting of the story?" Allow the children to raise hands and give answers.


"Can anyone give me a problem that was encountered in the story?" Allow the children to raise hands and give answers.


"Can anyone give me a resolution to the problem in the story?" Allow the children to raise hands and give answers.


"Can anyone give an example of a main topic of the story?" Allow the children to raise hands and give examples.


"Can anyone invent a topic sentence in the story?" Allow the children to raise hands and give examples.


5. "We are now going to discuss what we read in the story and we are going to put the main points into a web diagram. Don't forget to look at the summary checklist that we just went over in order to help you. Remember that the main topic goes in the middle circle of the web diagram. What is the main topic of this story?" Allow the children to raise their hands to give main topics. Write the main topic in the center circle (Goldilocks is in the bear's house). "Who can now give me a main detail from the story?" Record their comments on the web. Don't forget that we can use this web when we are writing our summary. We can use each idea from the circles as sentences in our summary.


6. "Now I want you to create your own summary of Goldilocks and the Three Bears with your neighbor. Use the ideas that we put in the web to write a summary about the story. If you would like to draw pictures when you finish your writing you are more than welcome to. I will be walking around the room if anyone has any questions. Once you are finished we will share our summaries with the class."


7. Assessment: To assess the students understanding of story mapping I will monitor them as they work together on their paragraphs. I will also ask the students questions about the story they read to make sure that they comprehend the text (I will do this as I am walking around the room). They will each turn in a brief outline from the story, and I will check to make sure that they only mentioned the important elements in the story, and that they have a topic sentence.




DLTK's Crafts for Kids. The Story of Goldilocks and the Three Bears.



Nobles, Brittney. "Super Summarizers!"


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