Summing It All Up!

Beginning to Read

By: Madi Pennington

Rationale: Summarization is an important skill to master when children are reading. Being a summarizer means that children are able to read a text and take away the less important details to focus more on the main points of the story you are reading.  Summarization will not only help children with your reading but it will also help them better comprehend the text they are reading. This lesson will help children become a summarizer by using graphic organizers and learning how to delete unimportant information in a text.


Individual copies of the article: Your Amazing Brain; Individual copies of the passage: Is Pluto No Longer a Planet? Poster with the first 2 paragraphs of Your Amazing Brain, One pencil, paper and highlighter for each student, One highlighter and marker for the teacher, Poster with the sentence "A bee lands on your bare foot",  Chart paper with Vocabulary words: neurons, microscopic, organs. Summarization Checklist for teacher


1. Explain to students what summarizing is. "Today students, we will be discussing summarizing. Summarizing is an important part of reading. Learning how to summarize will help you comprehend the text better and will help you get the main idea from the text. Summarizing is getting just the important parts for the text and deleting all the unimportant parts."

2. "We are going to be reading a text about the brain and some of the words are words that you might not know or have forgotten their meanings. Let's review them before we read." Show chart with vocab words. "The words are neurons, microscopic, and organs. The word neuron means tiny cells in your body. The word microscopic means tiny and organs mean the parts inside your body like your heart and lungs and so forth. ""Let's take a look at just the word microscopic. We know that it means tiny, so, which item would be microscopic a cell phone or the cell in your body? Now it is your turn. Give me a sentence using the word microscopic. An example would be fruit flies are microscopic in size because they are tiny".

3."Let's discuss the rules for summarizing." Write these on the board as you go over them. "Rule 1: Get rid of the unimportant information and anything that is mentioned more than once. Here you are weeding out the information you won't need. Rule 2: After you have your information organize items and events together. Rule 3: Figure out the topic of the text. This should be one or two words that lets you know that the text is about. Rule 4: Lastly, Write a sentence that covers the topic and everything else that was important in the story Get this sentence down to as small a sentence as you can.  This can be short as long as it covers the topic and everything that is of importance in the reading." Get the poster out with the two paragraphs from the brain text. Pass out the Your Amazing Brain article to each student. "We are going to read the first two paragraphs from the article and then I will show you how to summarize the two paragraphs we read." Have two different students read each paragraph aloud while the rest of the children follow along.

4.Using the poster with the two paragraphs written on it, show students how to summarize them. "We have the two paragraphs we just read written on this poster. I will use this to show you how to summarize, and then you will summarize on your own. Let's look at the rules, first it says we must get rid of all the unimportant information.  So we will keep the first sentence, mark out the part in sentence two from the word from to the word heartbeat. Then keep the last sentence of the first paragraph. Mark out the first six sentences in the second paragraph and keep the last one. The sentences in paragraph one tell us what we are talking about and the sentence in paragraph two tells us how fast the brain works. Now we can move on to rule


You carry around a three-pound mass of wrinkly material in your head that controls every single thing you will ever do. From enabling you to think, learn, create, and feel emotions to controlling every blink, breath, and heartbeat-this fantastic control center is your brain. It is a structure so amazing that a famous scientist once called it "the most complex thing we have yet discovered in our universe."


Your kitten is on the kitchen counter. She's about to step onto a hot stove. You have only seconds to act. Accessing the signals coming from your eyes, your brain quickly calculates when, where, and at what speed you will need to dive to intercept her. Then it orders your muscles to do so. Your timing is perfect and she's safe. No computer can come close to your brain's awesome ability to download, process, and react to the flood of information coming from your eyes, ears, and other sensory organs.


 2. Rule 2 says we need to organize our information. I will use my highlighter to highlight the sentences we did not mark out. Next it's time to use rule 3 and figure out the topic for the text. Let's reread the sentences to see what a good topic would be. I think 'brain' is a good topic." Write this on the board. "I will write this on the board so we can begin our summary. Now it's time for rule number 4 where we write a topic sentence. Let's reread the highlighted portions." Now we need to generalize this information into an even smaller sentence to weed out some of the nonsense. Read them together as a class. "I believe a good topic sentence would be 'our brain is complex structure that can process information that it gets from your senses. " Write this sentence under the word Brain.

5."Now it's your turn to summarize using a different reading." Pass out copies of Is Pluto No Longer a Planet? Give one to each student.  Then give a book talk. "This passage is all about Pluto and whether it is a planet or not. It also gives reason why it should not be a planet and it even talk with researches on the argument of whether it is a planet or not. Let's read on to see if it is in fact a planet or not. Remember that after you have read the passage to go back and cross out any unimportant information. Then highlight the important sentences. Finally, find a topic and then write a topic sentence. Are there any questions? Once you are finished turn in your article and summary to me. Get started!"


The teacher will evaluate the student's marking on the passage they did individually and the summary that they wrote. The teacher will use the checklist to check for students' assessment. Ask your children some comprehension questions to see if summarizing helped their comprehension of the Is Pluto No Longer a Plant reading. Here are a few questions that you can ask for comprehension?

According to the article is Pluto a planet?

What kind of planet is Pluto classified as?


Did the student…



Get rid for unimportant information?



Organize events and items together that happened in the story?



Select a topic for the text?



Write a sentence that included the topic, as well as everything that was important from the text?














Houlton, Allyson. Be a Super Summarizer.

Is Pluto No Longer a Planet?. 1996 – 2011

Your Amazing Brain. National Geographic for Kids. 1996 – 2011

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