Joanie Baker
Reading to Learn
Sum  +   It   =   Up

Rationale:  Students read many passages and it is important that they remember what they read.  An easy strategy to use is summarizing because this allows them to retain only the important ideas.  Students will learn to summarize by mapping.

Materials: Paper, pencil, chalk
2 Magazine articles from- Ranger Rick January 1998 Vol. 32 No.  1.
   Article: "Red Crab Invasion" Page 6 ­ Sections
1. Forest life
2.  Down to The Sea.
Procedure:  Review silent reading.  "Remember when we read silently we can't hear a sound because we are reading in our head.  Today we will learn to summarize.  This will help to shorten long passages into a shorter version with only the important ideas.

2.  Explain and model summarization.  "When you summarize you want to:
-Find the main points
  -Delete any small details
-Combine repeated ideas

3.  Pass out copies of "Forest Life" to each student and have them read it silently.  "I will show you how to summarize by drawing a map.  First you draw a circle and write the general idea of the passages inside the circle."  (The passage is about a Crab's Forest Life.)
What do you think is important to remember? Explain that the main points go around the circle and are connected to the circle by a line.  (Main Points- Must have moist bodies to survive, only come out when it is humid, they recycle by eating off the rain forest floor.)

Now use these points to write a brief paragraph and this will be the summary.
 Crabs recycle by eating off the rainforest floor.  They must have moist bodies to survive.  Therefore the crabs only come out during humid times during the year.

4.  Give students the article "Down to the Sea" for them to try on their own.  Also pass out paper and pencil for their maps.  "Read the article silently and draw a map like I did on the board to find the main points."  Give them about 15 minutes to complete the task.  Then on the board draw a map using the student's information.  Write down every detail they say, because they will probably give you trivial details, or repeated information. (But this is okay).  When the map is complete there will probably be too many details.  "We have not shortened it, we made it longer.  Let's erase anything that is said more than once or is not important.  There now we have summarized it."

5.  Now, on the bottom of your paper write a summary using the map we all helped to create.

6. Assessment:  Teacher should collect papers to evaluate the child's comprehension of summarizing.  Check for center circle with the general idea, main points connecting to the circle and a brief summary in paragraph form.


 Pressley, Michael. Strategies That Improve Children's Memory and Comprehension of Text.  The Elementary School Journal. Volume 90, no.1. 1989.

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