Summarizing Superstars


Reading To Learn

By: Kaylyn Kirsch




Being able to comprehend or understand what is being read is one of the ultimate goals for readers. Summarization is a skill that helps students comprehend what they are reading because it allows them to pull out important facts and details from the story. This allows them to create a deeper meaning from a shortened version of what they are reading. In this lesson, students will learn the steps of summarizing and practice summarizing a selection of text.



-Pencil (1 per student)

-Paper (1 per student)
-Highlighter (1 per student)
-A copy of the article, "A Tough Turtle" by Liz Sawyer (1 per student)
-A copy of the article, "Honeybee Mystery" by Catherine Clarke Fox (1 per student)
-A copy of the summarization rules (1 per student)

-Chart with the summarization rules written out: Pick out a topic sentence, pick out important facts from the passage, remove information that is not very useful or that does not back up the topic sentences, pick out repeated ideas and delete them.

-Assessment check sheet

Did the student…



Delete unimportant information?



Delete repeated information?



Select a topic sentence?



Write a topic statement that covers everything that is important from the passage of the text?





1.     To begin the lesson, explain to students that they will be learning a new skill called summarization that will help them sum up the important details of what they are reading.

"Today class, we will be working on a new skill called summarizing. What do you think a summarization is? That's right! When we summarize what we are reading, we pick out the important details to form a shortened version of the whole article in our own words."

2.      Introduce the "Rules of Summarization" chart and go over the rules with the students.

"To help us summarize, we are going to learn some new rules. First, you pick out the main idea of the article. This is usually the topic sentence. To do this, ask yourself 'What is this article all about?' Next, you pick out the important facts that help support the main ideas or topic of the article. Then, you cross out all the extra information that is not useful or important in supporting the main idea. Finally, you cross out all the repeated information or ideas. Those are the rules of summarization!"

3.      Model how to summarize by reading an article aloud and leading the students through the rules of summarization.

"We are going to practice summarizing an article together. Everyone pull out your copy of the article 'A Tough Turtle' by Liz Sawyer. Today we are going to read about a young sea turtle that was found stranded on a sandbar with giant holes in his shell. He war struggling to survive. What do you they did to help him? Let's read and find out! You are going to read this article silently as I read it aloud to the class. We are going to read it one time through without making any marks. Then we will read it a second time, underlining the important information and crossing out the extra information that is not needed. Are you ready?"

4.      After reading through the article, have the students answer questions and model how to pick out the important information to create a summary.

"Okay class, let's follow our summarization rules to create a summary of this article. I want you to make the same marks on your paper that I make on mine. The topic sentence is the first sentence in a paragraph that introduces what the paragraph is all about. What do you think the topic sentence or main idea of the first paragraph would be? Very Good! Let's underline it. Okay, now let's go to each paragraph and underline the important information. What information is important in supporting our main idea in the first paragraph? Great! Let's take out our highlighters and highlight it. Now what information is unimportant? Good! Let's go through and cross out all the extra information that we do not need with our pencil."

5.     As a class, help the students take the information from the article and create a summary in their own words.

"I want everyone to pull out a clean sheet of paper. We are going to take our underlined and highlighted information and practice putting it together to create a summary of the article. Remember, we want to put the summary in our own words, not just copy it from the article word-for-word." (Model for the students how to put the information together so that it flows nicely into a summarization.)



6.     To assess students, give them a copy of the summarization rules and the article "Honeybee Mystery" by Catherine Clarke Fox and have them summarize it.

"Great job today, class! Now I am giving each of you a copy of the summarization rules and a new article about honeybees. I want you to use the rules to help you read and summarize the new article. Remember to put the summary in your own words."




Clarke Fox, Catherine. "Honeybee Mystery."


Long, Ali. "What's the Point? Sum it Up!"

Sawyer, Liz. "A Tough Turtle."



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