It's Time to Summarize


Reading to Learn

By: Alexis Ogubie



One goal when reading is to comprehension and one strategy to improve reading comprehension is summarization. Comprehension of a text is very important because it allows one to learn new material independently. Summarizing is very important because it helps you comprehend the main point or points in what you read.  In this lesson, students will learn the steps of summarization and applying it to two articles using highlighters.



1.  Start the lesson off by reviewing over how to read silently.  Who can tell me what it means to read silently? Yes, you are correct, it is when we read the words from the book, in our heads using our eyes, and remember no one else should hear you when you read silently.   Then model how to silent read.  I will have a sentence strip at the front of the classroom with the sentence ''The sun is out and the birds are flying.''  I will show the sentence strip to the class and first read the sentence aloud to the class.  Then tell students. Now I am going to practice reading the sentence silently.  I will face the sentence towards me so I can read it and they can see me reading it.  While I read the sentence, I will over-dramatize my eye movement from right to left as I read and I will move my mouth to the movements of each word as I am reading without saying anything.  Then I will say to the class, See how I read silently and my neighbors did not hear me or get distracted.  After modeling, ask the students, why is silent reading important? Yes, it helps you remember and comprehend what you read.

2. Tell the class that there are also other things that we can do to help us comprehend what we are reading and one of those is to summarize.  Can anyone describe what summarization is and how they do it? Discuss the views the students have on summarization and the methods they use to summarize.  Finally, tell them, Summarizing is what you do when you read a text and then make a short statement covering all of the important facts that the author tells you about the subject.  You will, include the main ideas. When we summarize something, we retell the text by stressing only the important parts in order to highlight the main ideas in the text. Now that we all know what it means to summarize, Today we are going to practice reading silently and learn how to make summaries of what we read.

3. Now we will look and our summarizing poster. There are six steps that I want us all to follow when we summarize.  First, delete unimportant information, second delete repeated information, third substitute easy words for a list of items, fourth, add a series of events with an easy action term, fifth, choose a topic and finally, create a topic sentence if one is not given.

4. Now model how to summarize. Pass out article, Did you ever get the feeling your dog was laughing at you? and a highlighter to the class. Now you are going to watch and participate as I use the article, in front of you, to model how to summarize correctly.  Read the article silently and after reading the article, model how to figure out what the main ideas/information is to the students. Research suggests that the huffing noise a dog makes may be laughter.  they huff when they are playing alone or with someone.  But when other dogs hear this sound recorded, how do they behave?  To find out you will have to read the rest of the article silently. After some time, ask Can anyone tell me what this story is about? I know it is about dogs, the noises that they make and how other dogs respond to the sound recording. Maybe we should highlight the main ideas: dogs, huffing noises, the responses of the other dogs to the recording.  After this explain what kind of information can be discarded, Information that is not important to the meaning of the paragraph include, the fact that they make noises while playing with a toy and that the pups acted afraid when they heard growls, whines and barks.  Lastly, the teacher needs to model how to relate the main facts into one to three good summative sentences. Model by saying, this article is about dogs and how they make huffing noises that seems to be laughter.  In addition, other dogs respond to this noise positively.

5. Now the students should try summarization on their own. Remind the students to look at the poster with steps for assistance. Also, that the highlighters help to point out important things.  Pass out the second article, Cool Things about Elephants.  Now I want you to read and summarize this new article by yourself. I would like to remind you that I should not hear any talking because you are to be reading silently at your desk. As they read, they should use a separate sheet of paper to record specific information to be used for their final summary sentences.


The students will be assessed by their summarization from the article. If they have read the article and comprehended it fully, their summaries will show for it.  There is also a checklist that will be a guideline for the students to follow that I will also go by as well.




Delete unimportant information.



Delete repeated information.



Substitute easy words for lists of items.



Add a series of events with an easy action term.




Select a topic.



Invent a topic sentence if there is not one




Newman, Aline Alexander.''Cool Things about Elephant''

Did you ever get the feeling your dog was laughing at you?

Falls, Jennifer. Summaries, Summaries, and More Summaries.

 White, Amy. Fly High and Summarize.



 1. Did you ever get the feeling your dog was laughing at you?

New research suggests maybe he was! Dogs make "huffing" noises scientists think is doggie laughter. Dogs make that noise when inviting another animal or a person to play. They also make it when tossing a toy around by themselves. Patricia Simonet, a Spokane, Washington, psychologist, first identified the sound. She recorded various dog sounds on a special machine that also graphs noise. The dog laughs looked different. When she played the sounds back to other dogs, they also reacted differently.  Some pups acted afraid when they heard growls, whines, or barks. But, says Simonet, "All the dogs responded positively to the laugh." They began to play. Gorillas, chimps, orangutans, and rats are also known to laugh. Does laughter mean sense of humor? No one knows for sure yet, but researchers are working to answer the question.


2.   Elephants have long memories.

Elephants never forget. "They keep coming to places they like, no matter what," says Frans Lanting, the Santa Cruz, California, photographer who snapped this picture. Taken at the Mfuwe Lodge in Zambia, in Africa, it shows a wild elephant heading through the lobby toward a giant mango tree in the lodge's inner courtyard. The elephant's herd has been visiting that tree every November for at least 25 years. That was long before Andy Hogg and his partner built the lodge seven years ago. Ever since, the herd has been showing up right on schedule. Finding a building blocking her path, the group's female leader, Wonky Tusk, didn't hesitate. She led her family up the steps and into the reception area. For six weeks, the elephants returned every day to eat the tree's fruit. And they've been back again every year since. In 2005, Wonky Tusk brought along her three-week-old calf. "She's teaching her what to do," says Hogg. So the tradition continues for another elephant generation.

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