Summarization is as easy as 1 2 3!



Reading to Learn

Allison Pendleton


Rational: One great way to show that you really understand what you have read is to sum up the main ideas in your own words.  This lesson will focus on helping children learn how to summarize.  They will learn how to pick out the important information of what they are reading.



A copy of the article “Honeybee Mystery” from National Geographic for Kids for each student



Chart of Summarization rules

White board

Dry erase marker




1. Say: “We are going to learn a new strategy to help us understand what we are reading.  This is called summarizing.  Summarizing is when you locate all of the important parts of a story and leave out the details that are not really important.”Give all the students a copy of the article.  Introduce the story to them. Say: “This article is about honeybees and their importance in our world. People have begun to be concerned about the recent number of deaths in bee colonies. Lets read to find out what might be causing these deaths!"

2. Say: “Before reading this passage, we are going to learn some vocabulary words. Teacher will write words on the board. The first word is pollen. What is pollen? That’s exactly right! Pollen is a powdery substance produced by plants. Another word you may be unfamiliar with is the word pollinator. What does the word pollinator mean? Pollinators transfer pollen from one plant to another.  Great! Let’s read now!”

3. Ask the students to read the article silently. Say: “When you have finished reading the article look up at the board. Now we are going to try to summarize this story together.  At this time show the students the summarization rules:

                  1. Delete unimportant information
                  2. Delete repeated information
                  3. Substitute easy terms for lists of terms
                  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

4. Say: “What are some words that might tell us what the whole story is about? (Write their thought on the board as a web with the main words as the center of the web). “Tell me some of the things we read about honeybees (these thoughts are smaller circles coming off the center).

5. Say: “Now copy what we have started on your paper and continue creating a summarization web with your neighbors.” After this the class will finish the web together on the board.

Have the students help you write a paragraph using the web. Show them how to write a topic sentence using the words they came up with in the middle of the web. 


Assessment:  Evaluate the paragraphs by checking to see if they included all of the important information from the story, did they delete important parts, did they include unnecessary information, did they understand the main idea of their story



Fox, Catherine. “Honeybee Mystery”

Lyle, Amanda.