Reading to Learn: Superstar Summarizers!


Carolyn Klamon

Rationale: The main goal for this lesson is reading comprehension. The strategy that we are going to focus on for reading comprehension is summarizing. Summarizing is the process of finding and picking out the most important information from a text. Comprehension leads to successful reading. With this lesson students will be learning the step of summarization. Students will learn how to be able to identify the main information, to not focus on the redundant information, and how to relate main idea with the supporting details. We will be using an article to read and write a summary.




Paper, pencils, highlighters for each student


Dry erase board and dry erase markers


Copy of the article "Firefly"


Copies of the article "African Elephant"




1. First we will go over what reading comprehension and summarization are. I will introduce reading comprehension and summarization to the class. Reading comprehension is a skill where a reader fully understands what he or she read. The reader comprehends or understands what the text is telling them. One strategy that helps with reading comprehension is summarization. Summarizing is a strategy where you find the most important information in a text that will help retell the story in a couple of sentences. A summary mainly focuses on the main idea and details.


2. In order to be a good summarizer we must follow a few rules. I will go over these rules with the class so they fully understand them. There are five rules that we will go over. I will write them down on the dry erase board while we go over them.

First: pick out the important details

Second: pick out the details that are repeated or not important and get rid of them

Third: use key words to highlight important details

Fourth: list the words in order as they appear in the passage

Fifth: Trim the list of key words to make a topic sentence and a couple of supporting sentences to create your summary. A topic sentence introduces the main idea of the passage and the supporting sentences help support your main idea.


3. Then we will do a practice/model for how to summarize and how to follow the steps of summarizing. I will start by reading the article "Firefly" to then while they listen. After we read we will talk about the story as a class to see where our reading comprehension is. Then I will model for them how to summarize the story using highlighter and the dry erase board. I will go through each step thoroughly. They can help assist and participate while I model the process of summarization for them. I will have the five step listed so that each student can see them and they are visible.


4. After we complete the sample article, I will have them work independently with our next article "African Elephant." I will first give them a quick book talk about the article. Elephants are very big mammals that live in Africa. Why do you think they are so large? How do you think an animal that big survives? Once we go over the article briefly then I will pass out paper, pencils, and highlighters. Each student will have a copy of the article. While they are reading I want them to highlight the important details and cross out the not important details. Then I want them to make a list of phrases and put them in order. Last step would be to write a summary. The summary should be between 3 to 4 sentences.


5. Each student is to work independently, but they are welcome to ask their neighbor a question or share something if they are stuck or need some advice. After they have had time to complete the assignment I want them to turn to their neighbor and have them read their summary to their neighbor and take turns.

6. Then I will collect everyone's Summary on the article "African Elephant" for assessment.




I will collect all of the summaries. Then I will have each student come back and read their summary to me. We will go over their summaries individually.


-Do they have the steps?

-Do they follow them?

-Do they understand the concept?




"African Elephant" by national geographic for kids


"Firefly" by national geographic for kids


Emily Young "Sum it up!"



return to doorways index