Summarization for the Nation!

Allie Lancaster

Reading to Learn

Rationale: Summarization is a great strategy for students to use when reading to learn. Now that third graders have mastered learning to read, they will use text to read and research to further their knowledge for the rest of their lives. A great way for students to comprehend what they are reading is to use summarization, which students will practice with this lesson. To summarize, they will decide what the text's topic sentence it, what sentences support this main topic, and what information isn't necessary to the text's main purpose.


a copy of the book Deadline! From News to Newspaper by Gail Gibbons for each student

a copy of the book From Path to Highway: the story of the Boston Post Road by Gail Gibbons for each student

yellow and orange highlighter for each student

pencil for each student

Summarization rubric for student placed on a bookmark:

_____ Write your topic sentence (main idea)

_____ Find important details that support (help) the main idea

_____ Remove information that it not important by crossing it out

_____ Remove any idea that is already said

_____ Write a 3 – 5 sentence summary



1."Today we will be working on summarization. We had some practice summarizing yesterday, but today we are going to be sure everyone is able to summarize a book we will be reading. Who can raise their hand and tell me what it means to summarize a text? Good job! That's right, summarizing means reading the text to comprehend it and then decide what the main points of the story are so we know the main idea of the text. This makes it is easier to learn what was in the book or article, that's why it is important for you all to learn how to summarize text you read. After picking out the most important parts of the text, you can remove insignificant sentences. So today we are all going to work on finding the main idea of a book and finding the important sentences that support the main idea."

2.Background Knowledge: Because we are going to read the book From Path to Highway together, we are going to go through and discuss some of the words found in it to be sure we know what they mean because this will help us to understand the story better. Raise your hand if you know what colonists are? Good job! They are people who come to a new land to settle here. Who can raise their hand and tell me what they think a postrider is? Good job! He is a person who carried mail on horseback across the town. If we come across any other vocabulary words we are unsure of while reading this book together we will use context clues to figure out their meanings."

3.Pass out highlighters and bookmarks to each student. "This bookmark is going to help you remember what to do when summarizing the text. To help us remember these steps, we are going to use a highlighter and a pencil. Everyone be sure you have a pencil and a highlighter. So when you find the main idea of the story, use the yellow highlighter to highlight it in the text. Next, when you find important information that supports the main idea, use the orange highlighter to highlight that information in the text. Then use your pencil to lightly cross out information that does not support the main idea so we don't really even use it to comprehend and summarize the text. Also use your pencil to mark out information that is being restated, so we don't need it."

4.Pass out From Path to Highway to each student. "We are all going to practice summarizing together. This book talks about how the Boston Post road has changed over the centuries. What could the road possibly have started out as and how could it have changed? Let's read to find out!" Read the story together as a class through echo reading. "Now that we have read the story, we are ready to summarize it." Go through each step on their bookmarks as a class. Write down what you are discussing on the smart board so that students can refer to it when summarizing on their own next.

"First we are going to find the topic sentence. Who can raise their hand and tell me what it could be? That's right- the narrow Indian path has become a modern four-lane highway. Next we are going to find the important details to support the main idea while writing a few of them down on the smart board. Some of those ideas are riders on horseback- many use the narrow Indian paths now, the paths become wider and also now carts and wagons move along the paths with their heavy loads, the paths have become roads. These are just a few."

Now we are going to use our pencils to remove things that aren't important to the text. For example, it is not important to our main idea about trails turning into roads that the horses have been brought from England for growing colonies. So let's cross that out. Is it important that the postrider has instructions to watch for river crossings and resting spots for other postriders who will later use the trail? Not really, this is just good supporting information to understand what a postrider is, but we don't need it to understand the main idea so we can cross this out."

5.Now we are going to make a summary by writing down a few sentences about the book. Raise your hand if you have something you think we should write down. Good job! Write down what we say in your notebooks while I am writing it on the smart board. Indians create trails throughout the land and throughout time colonists walk along these trials and then horses widen the trails. Then postriders use the trials to deliver mail. Then carts are wagons are used to travel the trails and transport goods, this widens the trails. The stagecoach is made next to travel the trails. Then roadbeds are made the make the trails into roads, and then cars are made to travel the roads. This continues into cement is used to make real roads that become highways.  Great summary on the Boston Post Road class!"

6.Pass out copies of Deadline! From News to Newspaper to the class. "Now it is your turn to read this text similar to the one we just read together and think while you are reading what the main idea is and what sentences are used to support the main idea." For a book talk before the students begin reading silently I will say "This book is about how news and what you hear is going on in the world and written down into the newspaper you see all around town. Use your bookmark to remind you of the steps to use when summarizing and after you are done reading the text silently write a 3-5 sentence summary of the text. I know you all will do a great job comprehending and summarizing the text!"

7.Assessment: I will assess students by collecting the summaries they write after silently reading Deadline! From News to Newspaper. I will use their bookmark checklist to help me grade their summaries and see how they did. I will also give a quiz by the end of the week with a short passage for students to read then multiple choice questions such as "What is the main idea of the passage? Which is a supporting sentence? Which sentence is not important to the main idea that we could take out?



Gibbons, Gail. Deadline! From News to Newspaper. New York: Crowell, 1987. Print.


Gibbons, Gail. From Path to Highway: The Story of the Boston Post Road. New York: Library of Congress Cataloging in Publication Data, 1986. Print.


Pierce, Morgan. Flipping Over Summarization.



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