Summarize to Find

The Treasure



Hannah Stewart

Reading to Learn


Rationale:  Comprehension strategies are specific techniques that children use while they are reading to help them make sense of text.  These actions can be thought of as thinking strategies or "ways of thinking" that help children understand and remember important parts of a story.  One comprehension strategy that helps students think about what they have read is summarization.  Summarization involves pulling out important information from the text.



                        --Summarizing poster

                                    A.  Somebody

                                    B. Wanted

                                    C. But

                                    D. So

                        --Copy of practice page Homes of Early Settlers

                        --Sticky notes, highlighters, paper and pencil for each student

                        --Overhead projector, marker and overhead transparency with reading passage

                        --Copy of Cave Treasure for each student



  1. For the past few weeks we have been talking about things that good readers can do to help them understand and comprehend what they read. Today we are going to learn about summarizing or how to summarize what we read.  Summarizing is another comprehension strategy.  When we summarize, we want to include the main ideas or things we feel are very important about the story we are reading.
  2. There are different ways we can summarize.  When I read at night, I like to take my highlighter and highlight the things I want to remember.  Other times when I read, I might jot down little notes about things I feel are important.  Can you think of a time when you tried to summarize an event that happened or a story you read?  When studying for a test, have you ever written little notes or highlighted words or phrases you felt were important to know? 
  3. Now I want you take out your practice page entitled Homes of Early Settlers.  This is a story we read yesterday.  Letâs look at the first paragraph.  I am going to read each sentence using the overhead, and I want each of you to follow along using your practice page. 
  4. The first sentence reads, "The voyage across the Atlantic from England to the New World was difficult and dangerous".  Do you think this sentence is important?   Why or why not?  What is the title of our story?  Response:  Home of the Early Settlers.  Does the first sentence tell us anything about the home of the early settler?  Response:  No.  Since we are looking for information about the home of early settlers, the first sentence is not important.  Letâs cross out the first sentence with our pencil. 
  5. (The teacher will work through the first paragraph with the students while asking if each sentence is giving important information about the story).  Now let's go back and look at each sentence that we have highlighted and summarize the first paragraph in our own words.  I am going to write a sentence on the overhead that will summarize the first paragraph.  Here is my first sentence·After the forest was cleared, early settlers built there home with stones and logs on a hill so it would stay dry.
  6. Remember that I told you there were different ways to summarize what you read.  Let's look at the same paragraph again using our summarizing poster.  Take your sticky notes and write down the words that you see on my summarizing poster.

                  A.  Somebody÷who was the story talking about?  Response:  The settlers.

                  B.  Wanted÷what did the settlers want to do?  Response:  Build their homes.

                  C.  But÷what did they have to do before they built their homes?    Response:  They had to clear the forest and find high ground.

                  D. So÷so they could do what?  Response:  So their homes could stay dry.

      Did we come up with the same summary even though we used different     techniques to summarize the same paragraph?  Response: Yes.

  1. Now I want you to take our story Cave Treasure and read silently with your    partner.  After you and your partner have finished reading the story, I want you to summarize the story in your own words.  You can use the highlight method, the summary chart or both. The most important thing about summarizing is that you can pull out important information or the main ideas in the story and rewrite or retell it in your words.  Our story Cave Treasure has eight paragraphs.  Working together, you and your partner should have eight sentences, one for each paragraph, if you are using the highlighted method.  If using the summary poster, you should have eight sticky notes.  Some of you might want to use the highlighted method for the first four paragraphs and the sticky notes for the last four paragraphs.  Choose whatever method is best for you.  Remember, the most important thing is that our summaries are accurate.
  2. Once everyone has finished the story and the summarization, I will go around to each student and their partner, and assess comprehension based on what they have written in their own words or can tell me in their own words about the story Cave Treasures.



Armbruster, Bonnie and Jean Osborn (2001).  Put Reading First:  The Research           Building Blocks for Teaching Children to Read.  C. Ralph Adler, RMC Research     Corporation.

ARMT Grade 3 Reading Passage:  Home of the Early Settlers (2005).  Alabama State Department of Education.

McDuff, Dona R.  Cave Treaure.  Addison-Wesley Educational Publishers Inc.

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