Summarization Super Stars


By Angela Simpson

Reading To Learn

Rationale: People have to comprehend information that they read in order to recall it; therefore comprehension is the ultimate goal of reading instruction. Comprehension is complicated and requires practice, yet there are various strategies that can be used to gain meaning and knowledge from a text. One strategy is summarization.  Summarization is a key strategy that fluent readers use in order to understand text.  Children need direct instruction in how to appropriately summarize material from an expository text. By implementing these skills students will be better prepared to recall and discuss information from an assigned reading.  In this lesson, students will learn the six steps of summarization which will allow them to summarize what they are reading. This will ultimately give children a better understanding of the text.  

Marker board
A bookmark for each student with the 6 summarization steps on it
      Summarization steps:
1.  Pick out important details that are necessary to the story.
2.  Pick out the less important ideas from the passage and delete them.
3.  Pick out the repeated ideas from the passage and delete them. 
4.  Highlight the important and necessary details using key words.
5.  Pick a topic sentence
6.  Invent a topic sentence if there is none.

Copy of Space Rock Makes a Crash Landing, National Geographic Kids News    
         for each student.


1.  Good Morning boys and girls, today we are going to learn about something we each do each and every day, comprehension. Does anyone know what comprehension means?  The reason that we learn to read is so that we can comprehend, or understand, the information given in whatever we are reading.  When we comprehend information, we are able to remember what we are reading and are able to remember even after we have read. So, today we are going to learn some steps that will help us comprehend what we read.   I am going to teach you a new trick to be able to comprehend more information, the trick is summarization. When we summarize we decide which information in the story or writing is important for understanding.  Today we are going to practice summarizing by reading through the story and picking out the main idea and the most important details, and forgetting about the things that do not go along with the main idea.

2.  The teacher will now explain summarization. The six rules will already be written on the board so that the teacher can refer to them as needed. The first step is to pick out important details that we think are necessary to the story.  The second step is to pick out the less important ideas and take them away.  The third step is to pick out ideas that are repeated and take them away.  The fourth step is to highlight the important details using key words.  For the fifth step we pick a topic sentence.  And our last step is to invent a topic sentence if we do not have one.  I am going to pass out bookmarks to each of you that have these steps on them so you will not forget our 6 steps of summarization.  You can use these whenever you need a little help.

3.  Okay guys, now that we have talked about comprehension and summarization, we are going to read something and see if we can use our new trick.  Before I pass out the article, I'm going to tell you a little bit about it.  We are going to read a passage about something very unusual that happened.  A New Zealand couple had a surprise visitor in turned their world upside down.  So if you want to find about more about this surprise visitor, you'll need to read on.  So, read the first paragraph SILENTLY to yourselves.  This will let everyone focus on what they are reading. While you are reading, make sure to get enough information to summarize the paragraph. When summarizing, remember that it is very important to make sure you separate the important details from the ones that are not so important.

4.  The teacher will model for the class using the 6 steps of summarization for the class. The teacher will use the first paragraph to make sure the students understand all of the steps. After reading through the first paragraph, these are the main points that I came up with.  1) The house was in New Zealand. 2) A grapefruit meteorite crashed through a roof. Did anyone get anything different?  As I go on through the story, I am going to use all of our steps.  I just did our first step and picked out what I thought were the important details.  The next step is to pick out the less important points from the paragraph.  I think these would be: 1) The meteorite slammed into a couch.  2)  Hit the ceiling.  3)  It rolled under a table.  Did anyone get something different?  What is the next step?  Correct, take away any repeated information.  Did anyone see anything that was already there?  OK, then we will move onto the next step- highlight some keywords.  I thought that the keywords were grapefruit sized, meteorite, roof, and New Zealand.  Where there any other words that anyone came up with? What do I need to do now?  Right!  I need a topic sentence.  The topic sentence I came up with is A grapefruit sized meteorite crashed through the roof of a house in New Zealand.  Did anybody get something else?  Great Job Guys, you really are being Summarization Super Stars!  Since we just came up with our topic sentence, we do not need to do step 6 because that step is inventing a topic sentence. The teacher will make sure all of the steps are written on the board so the students can use it.

5.  The teacher will make sure all of the children understand the goal of summarization and how to do it. Does everyone feel good with summarizing now?  Great!  Now that anyone knows what is going on, I want everyone to read the rest of the article and use the 6 steps to summarize it. If you need any help you can look on the board or at your bookmarks. 

6.  The children will read the article to their selves silently and then they will summarize the article on their own. Now that we are finished reading, please take out your paper and pencil and summarize the article. Do not forget to list the important details and to separate the less important details.  Remove any repeated information.  Then, make sure to list your keywords that you create from the important details.  Last, use your keywords and your main points to pick your topic sentence, or use them to form your own topic sentence.  If you have any questions, please raise your hand and I will come and help you.

Assessment:  The teacher will use the students summarizations to see how they understood the concept. The teacher will use a list of the six summarization steps and check yes if they followed the rule and no if they did not.  Also, the entire time they are working on their summarizations, I will walk around to make sure that they are following the steps written on the board and on their bookmarks.


Gamble, Beth.  Super Space Summarization. 

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