Sea Turtles are SUMthing cool?

A Lesson on Faster Reading

By: Jennifer Stuart



Comprehension is essential in order for readers to understand text. Summarizing texts paves the way for successful reading. In order to become adequate readers, children must learn to use this tool to aid in their literacy progression. Whenever readers achieve comprehension skills they gain a sense of confidence as well as concepts about the text. The goal of this lesson is to teach students how to summarize texts through asking questions.


“The Kids Times: Green Sea Turtle” article



Poster with rules

Highlighter for kids

Pencils for kids

Checklist for teacher to assess



1.       “Good afternoon class! Today we will be sharing what we know about summarization. We will also be learning about how helpful it is! Now class, raise your hand and tell me what summarization means. Right! It is the ability to hold on to the important facts of the story and delete the lesser and additional information. For example, if you read a book about a girl who had a cat that ran away from home, had kittens, and then came back and I asked you the following question: Did the girl have a cat? You would be able to delete all of the additional information of the story.”

2.       “Alright class, before we begin let’s take a look at our some new vocabulary words you will find in the article. I want you all to know what they mean before we dive into learning about green sea turtles. The first word is juvenile. Juvenile means young or youthful person (in our case turtles).  Juvenile is like a young person. Which is more like a juvenile, a grandmother or a teenager? The second word is conserve. Conserve is the act of protecting animals from being injured. Which is more like conserve, allowing an animal to stay in a safe place or putting animals out to live in the wild? Now we will talk about the rules together and read them aloud.”After each of the rules has been stated, I will go into further detail of what each of the rules means and how to use this strategy.

Delete unimportant information

Delete repeated information

Select a topic

Write a topic statement that best covers all of the important information in the text

“All eyes on the smartboard, we are going to read part of the article I’m going to show you how I find the main idea in the first passage of the article. “Sea turtles are graceful saltwater reptiles, well adapted to life in their marine world. With streamlined bodies and flipper-like limbs, they are graceful swimmers able to navigate across the oceans. When they a reactive, sea turtles must swim to the ocean surface to breathe every few minutes. When they are resting, they can remain underwater for much longer periods of time.”  Here’s how I decide what’s important and what isn’t. First, I take out all of the words that describe. In the first sentence, the only part I need to keep is sea turtles are reptiles. All of the other information is unimportant because it’s extra information.

3.       An example of a good topic statement for this passage would read: Green sea turtles reptile sea creatures that get their name from the green-colored fat tissue under its belly. They can weigh up to 350 pounds and grow up to 3 feet long.  Green sea turtles can live to be over 100 years old and eat sea grass and algae. Unfortunately, these turtles may not be around much longer. They have become listed as endangered species. Many people are interested in ways to help the green sea turtles increase their chances of survival. Ensuring that these turtles will be around for a while has become the goal of organizations like Convention on International Trade of Endangered Species (CITES).

4.       Put students into groups of 2. Pass out “The Kids Times: Green Sea Turtle” Article and allow students to read and work together. They will use their highlighter to point out important information, and use their pencil to delete information that is not valuable. Remind them to apply the rules we learned about summarization that are posted in the front of the classroom.

5.       Students will be assessed using the following checklist:

Did the student?



Comprehend the information from the passage?



Delete unnecessary information from the passage?



Highlight important information from the passage?



Write at least one sentence that includes all important information in the passage?






If the student gets “no” he or she will be asked to take the article to his or her seat and work on trying to find their mistakes.


Backer, Katie, Ready, Set, Summarize!

Harrison, Molly. 2004. “The Kids Times: Green Sea Turtles.” NOAA.

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