Sit Down and Read!

Reading Comprehension

By: Natasha Rosko

Rationale: The goal of reading instruction is individual comprehension and understanding. In order to understand texts, students must learn effective strategies to practice building comprehension. Summarization is an effective, research-based strategy that aids children in comprehending text (Pressley, et. al.) Three rules make up the strategy of summarization: deleting trivia and redundancies, superordinating items and events, and compositing a statement to cover everything the writer is saying. In this lesson, students will be in pairs of two and analyze an expository text and break it down into details that lead to the main idea, using our reading chair graphic organizer. Our goal is for our students to learn the strategies necessary to be able to understand and comprehend a text while independently reading.


Bookmark containing 5 steps of summarizing

                Summarization steps:
            1. Pick out important details that are necessary to the story.
            2. Pick out the less important or repeated ideas from the passage 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.

Graphic Organizers: Sit down and read! Reading Chair.
Article: The First Thanksgiving (short paragraph for modeling) by: Damon Goldsmith
Copies of book: How and Why Seeds Travel by: Elaine Pascoe

1. Boys and Girls, today we are going to learn about comprehending while we read. Does anyone know what comprehend means? That's right! Comprehend means to understand. Today we are going to learn ways to help us understand our reading. A skill we will learn today is called summarization. A summarization is when we review what we have read and use the information that will allow us to retell this story to someone without reading them the whole book.  This means, there will be information we use and information we won't use. Do you think you can help me do that today?

2. Explain summarization. To help use summarize, we are going to use 5 steps. These steps will help you determine what information is important and what is not important. The first step is to pick out important details that we think are necessary to the story.  Number two says to pick out the less important ideas or ideas that are repeated and take them away.  Number three says to highlight the important and necessary details using key words.  Next, we pick a topic sentence.  Our last step is to invent a topic sentence if we don't have one.  Im going to pass out bookmarks to each of you that have these steps on them so you won't forget our 5 steps of summarization.  You can use these whenever you need a little help or a reminder on how to summarize.

3. Alright, now that we are familiar with comprehension and summarization, we are going to read a passage from an article about Thanksgiving that will help us put our steps into action. Read about the First Thanksgiving SILENTLY to yourself. While you are reading, make sure that you are getting enough information to summarize the paragraph.  When summarizing, remember how key it is to make sure that you are trying to figure out the important details from the ones that might not be so important.  Raise your hand when you are done so we will know when to move on.

4. After the class is finished reading, summarize the Thanksgiving article by modeling with the whole class making sure they understand the steps of summarization.  While doing this as a class, make sure to model the five steps.  After reading the first paragraph, here are the main points that I came up with.  Write the following on the board:  1. The first American Thanksgiving was celebrated a bountiful harvest by the Plymouth Colony.  2. This was announced a day of celebration by the governor, William Bradford. Did anybody get anything different than I did? If someone did, write that on the board as well.  As I keep reading, I'm going to use all of our steps.  I just did our first step and picked out what I thought were the important details.  My next step is to pick out the less important points from the paragraph.  I think these would be:  1. Poet and editor Sarah J. Hale, lobbied for Thanksgiving to be a national holiday.  Write this on the board.  Did anyone get something different?  If they did, write it on the board.  What is my next step?  Wait for student to suggest:  highlight some keywords.  Great job!  You're right.  I thought that the keywords were: Celebration of Harvest, harvest feast, and holiday.  Did anybody get another word? If they did, write it on the board.  What do I need to do now?  Wait for student response.  Right!  I need to write a topic sentence.  The topic sentence I came up with is:  Write this sentence on the board: Thanksgiving started as a day of celebration for the Plymouth Colony due to a bountiful harvest. Did anyone get something else? If they did, write it on the board and discuss why they chose that.  Good!  Since we just came up with our topic sentence, we don't need to do step 5 since that step is to invent a topic sentence.  Make sure that this information is written on the board so they will be able to look at it when they are reading the rest of the article silently to themselves.

5. Now that you all got to see how to summarize, I will place you in groups and give you a copy of the book How and Why Seeds Travel to read and try to summarize. If you need help, look to your steps on your bookmark and always remember our graphic organizer. We need all the necessary details to support our chair so we can sit down and read!  When finished, have the students discuss with other groups their choices for details and main ideas. This allows them to collaborate about their different ideas without me telling them how to do it. During this time I will walk around monitoring their progress.

6. For assessment, the students will write a brief coherent paragraph summarizing the article. I want them to use the steps that we went over but not just list them, I want their ideas to flow and make sense.  I will use the bookmarks as my own checklist to make sure that they used all of the steps of summarization correctly.

Goldsmith, Damon. Thanksgiving History from fall feast to national holiday.

 Pascoe, Elaine. How and Why Seeds Travel. Creative Teaching Press Inc. 2000.