Summing Up SuperCroc
Reading To Learn
By: Meg Crow

Rationale: Comprehension is one of the most important things to teach children when they are learning how to read. One way to understand or comprehend material is to summarize. This lesson has been designed to teach students how to summarize an article from an educational magazine.

Materials: enough copies of the "SuperCroc" article from National Geographic for Kids magazine (March 2002 issue) for the whole class; 3 pieces of white butcher paper; pencil, paper; chalk, chalkboard

    1)Explain to the class: "Today we are going to read an article from a magazine about an amazing crocodile! It is such a good article that I want to make sure you really understand it.  Does everyone remember how to read silently? Watch as I read the first paragraph silently." (Model how to follow along with your eyes WITHOUT saying a word.) "Now I would like for each of you to read the article I have passed out silently.  Remember not to make a sound and to try very hard to figure out what the author is trying to tell us.  When you are finished, write down some of the important facts from the article on a piece of paper." (Give students plenty of time to read the article)
    2) After the children have finished reading, I will begin my lesson on summarization.  "Now that you have read the article, "SuperCroc", I would like to help you understand all that you have read.  Did everyone write down important words on their paper? Well, one way to remember and understand what we have read is to summarize it by writing down important words or phrases.  A fun way to do this is by drawing a cluster or map."
    3) Show the students an example on the board. Begin by reading a paragraph from the article aloud. "Now, lets think of important facts from the paragraph I just read. I will write them on the board as you tell them to me." (Make a cluster on the board that will summarize the paragraph.) "We can do the same type of mapping with the entire article that you just read."
    4)Assessment: Divide the children up into 3 groups and give each group a piece of butcher paper. "Now that you are in your groups, I would like for you ot write the word "SuperCroc" in the middle of the butcher paper and put a circle around it.  Then write down important words and phrases  from the article to the side. Remember to work as a team."
    5) After a specified amount of time, bring all the children back together and ask each group to hang their paper up on the board and explain it to the class.
    6) If time allows, ask the children to decide which words/ideas are the most important.  Create a final summary map from the combined ideas on the chalkboard.

Reference: Pressley, Michael. "Strategies That Improve Children's Memory and Comprehension of Text". The Elementary School Journal. Volume 90, number 1. 1989

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