Let's Get to the Point

Reading to Learn

Katie Pegues


Rationale:  Summarization is an important strategy for students to use when they are reading.  This will help students to learn how to get to the point of what they are reading, faster.  Through summarization, and by following the five step process, students will be able to pick out the point of the text and do it quickly.    

Materials:  A copy of the article "A Life of Service to His Country" from Time for Kids Magazine for each student, A chart with the 5 summarization steps listed (1.  Pick out important details that are necessary to the story. 2.  Pick out the less important or repeated ideas and eliminate them. 3.  Highlight the important and necessary details using key words. 4.  Pick a topic sentence 5.  Invent a topic sentence if there is none.), paper, pencil, and chalk. 

Procedures:  "Who remembers what silent reading is? Great.  It's when we read inside our head and not out loud.  Does anyone know why we do silent reading?  That's right.  It helps us to comprehend the story that we are reading.  Another way that we can comprehend a text is by summarizing what we are reading.  When we summarize a story, we are picking out the most important pieces of information that are in the text.  In this lesson we are going to learn 5 different steps that can help us to learn to summarize."

2.  I will write the five steps up on the board.  "These five steps are:

  1.    Pick out important details that are necessary to the story.
            2.    Pick out the less important or repeated ideas and eliminate them.
            3.    Substitute easy words for a set of terms
            4.    Pick a topic sentence
            5.    Invent a topic sentence."

3.  Then I will pass out the article, "A Life of Service to His Country".  Students will be given enough time to read the story completely to themselves.

4.  I will model part of the first paragraph to help show them how they should begin to summarize a piece of text.  As I summarize, I will write my summarization on the board.  "In the first paragraph we see that it says that John F. Kennedy was born in 1917 into a wealthy family.  He was always expected to do well in all that he did.  After he graduated, he joined the Navy and was in WWII.  His boat was attacked, but he lived and ended up winning a medal for bravery.  As you can see I took out the information that I do not necessarily need, and I only kept the information that was most important to what the story was trying to tell us.  The students will then reread the text one more time so that they can get a clearer picture of what exactly the text is about.   

5.  They will then be reminded of the five steps to use while summarizing.  Then they will begin.  While they are summarizing I will walk around the room to make sure everyone understands the assignment.  If necessary, I will help out as needed.  "Remember, your summary needs to be in your words, and not the words of the article".     

6.  When all the students have completed the article I will ask two or three to read what they wrote in front of the classroom.  I will then take up their summaries so that I can assess their work to see if they understand just exactly how to summarize a story. 


Let'Summarize by Tiffany Miller - Reading Genie Website http://www.auburn.edu/academic/education/reading_genie/persp/millerrl.html

"A Life of Service from His Country" from the Time for Kids Magazine (November 16, 2007, Vol. 13, No.11) - http://www.timeforkids.com

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