It’s Safer to Summarize
Rationale: In order for students to understand what they are reading, they need to have certain ways to organize all the information they are obtaining. For a child to succeed in comprehension, they need to know how to summarize passages they have read. Making maps of the passages is just one way for children to comprehend what they are reading.
Materials: the article “Penguins at the Beach”, lined paper and pencil for each child, chalk, example main ideas and details from the article “A Dramatic Atmosphere Unit”, page from article called “Penguin Problems”
1) I will introduce the lesson by explaining that children need to know how to organize information presented to them, in order to comprehend what they are reading. I will show them that one way to organize information is to construct a passage map. First I’ll have them review how to read silently.
2) Students, remember how we read silently. First we start out reading the passage in a normal voice. Then each line we are going to make our voice become softer and softer. Then we are going to just read in our heads to ourselves so that no one else can hear us. Let’s all practice on our article about Penguins.
3) Next explain to them what a passage map is and how to construct one. First I want everyone to write the title of the article in the center of the paper and put a box around it.
4) Now I’m going to search through the article and find one main idea from the story. Next I’m going to put the main idea in a circle, branching out from the title (draw this on the board while explaining). Then I’m going to find details that relate with the main idea and I’m going to put them in my own words. Next I’m going to put the details in the circle under the main idea. For example, I’m going to use the main idea, “The little penguins live off the coast of southern Australia” and put it in its own circle. Then I’m going to take the detail that relates to this, which is, “they live in burrows in sandy hills.” Do you see how this sentence gets its own box that comes off the main idea?
5) Now I’m going to give you some example main ideas and details from the “A Dramatic Atmosphere Unit” article. I want you to practice putting them in your own words and then place the main ideas in different circles and then put the details that relate to that idea in the circle too.
6) Next I want each of you to look through the article with a partner and find three more main ideas and branch each idea in it’s own circle off of the title. Then find details that relate with each idea and put the details in the circle that corresponds to its main idea, just like I did on the board.
7) For assessment, give the children the article “Penguin Problems” and have them underline the main ideas from the article.
Pressley, Michael. “Strategies That Improve Children’s Memory and Comprehension of Text.” The Elementary School Journal. Vol. 90. Num.1. The University of Chicago. 1989. p. 3-27
Wurst, Douglas. “A Dramatic Atmosphere Unit.” The Good Apple Magazine. March-April 2002. McGraw-Hill Children’s Publishing. p. 8-9
Evans, Nancy. “Penguins at the Beach.” Ranger Rick. January 2002. National Wildlife Federation. p. 18-20
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