Reading Animals


By Elisabeth Owen

Reading to Learn



Rationale: We read to understand and comprehend. To do this, we must use strategies such as summarizing. Throughout this lesson, students will learn the rules for summarization and practice them.



1. Poster with the following summarization rules to display in front of the class:

       - Delete unimportant information.

     - Delete repeated information.

     - Organize items and events under one umbrella term.

       - Select a topic.

      - Write a topic statement that covers everything that is important from the text.   


2. Copy of the article on Tigers from National Geographic Kids (1 per student):


4. Pencil and Highlighter (1 of each per student)


5. Dry erase board and marker or Chalkboard and chalk (1 for teacher use)


6.  Summarization checklist (1 per student):

Did the student…



Delete unimportant information?



Delete repeated information?



Organize items under one umbrella term?



Select a topic?



Write an inclusive yet simple topic sentence to summarize the passage?





1. Say: "Today, students, we will learn how to summarize. Does anyone know what it means to summarize? (wait for students to answer) When we summarize, we look for the important parts of a passage and what point the author is trying to make. This helps us to better understand and remember what we read!"


2. Display the five rules of summarization for all students to see. Say: "Now we are going to learn the rules for summarization. " Review with the students each rule and explain them in detail. "Now we are going to put these rules into action. First, I want you all to read this paragraph about tigers to yourselves. Once you are finished, we are going to summarize the paragraph together." Allow time for students to read the paragraph.


4. Let's review some of the vocabulary in our reading about tigers.  Predators are animals that hunt, kill and eat other animals in order to live.  We call the animals that are killed by predators prey.  We learned that some kinds of tigers are endangered.  This means that there are not many of these kinds of tigers still alive.


3. Next, model for the students how to use the summarization rules. "Follow along as I read the paragraph aloud. Remember, our first rule says to delete any unnecessary information. 'Easily recognized by its coat of reddish-orange with dark stripes, the tiger is the largest wild cat in the world.' We can delete 'Easily recognized by its coat of reddish-orange' because this information is not critical for us to know. It is only important that we know that tigers have stripes.  The color of those stripes is not an important detail." Mark out the unnecessary information and do the same for all unnecessary information to follow. Highlight the important information. "We are now left with the information Tigers have stripes; largest wildcat; hunts alone and at night; enjoy water; endangered." We did not have any repeated information in this paragraph, so we did not have to worry about that rule. Our umbrella term is, 'tigers.' The next step is for us to decide a topic for our summary. I suggest 'Tigers,' because that is what the paragraphs focus is. Last, we need to come up with a topic sentence that recaps the entire paragraph. This would be, 'The largest wildcat, the tiger, has stripes, hunts for food, enjoys water and is an endangered animal.' " Write the topic sentence on the board for all students to see.


5."Now we are going to practice summarizing with a different article." Give a book talk on the article. "African Elephants have trunks. Do you know what African Elephants use their trunks for? Let's read this article to find out." Pass out a copy of the article to each child. "I want you to read this article to find out how African Elephants use their trunks, and then you are going to summarize it. As you are reading, remember to cross out any information that is not super important to the main idea, or information that is repeated. Highlight the sentences that are important to the main idea of the article. When you are finished, you will write one topic sentence summarizing the most important information from the article. Show all of your ideas by marking and highlighting your paper, and then turn in your article and topic sentence to me when you are done."


Assessment: Students will turn in their topic sentences for review. I will use the summarization checklist to assess their sentences. After reviewing them, I will meet with struggling students to discuss his/her work.



 National Geographic Kids. Creature Features: Tigers:


National Geographic Kids. Creature Features: African Elephants:


Jessica Strickland. "Summarizing Monkey Business."

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