"Sum Sum Summarize!"

Learning to Read

By: Maribeth Ward


 pageturningbook

Rationale: One of the most important things students should learn is reading comprehension.  Without comprehension, reading would be pointless because people would not remember what they just read.  Summarization is taking important ideas out of a passage. One great way to show that you really understand what you have read is to sum up the main ideas in your own words.  This lesson will focus on helping children learn how to summarize.  The goal is for the students to learn how to pick out the important information of what they are reading.

Materials:

-Kintsch and Van Kijk's Summarization rules written on board:

1. Pick out the most important information and highlight the key words.

2. Pick out less important information

3. Substitute a series of events for a list of items

4. Add a series of events with an easy action term.

5. Write a sentence that covers everything that is important information from the passage.

6. Invent a topic sentence if there is not one.

-A printed copy of National Geographic Kids articles for each student:

Examples:    

- "Amazing Bats of Bracken Cave" http://kids.nationalgeographic.com/Stories/AnimalsNature/Bat-cave

-"Chomp! Meat-Eating Plants" http://kids.nationalgeographic.com/Stories/AnimalsNature/Meat-eating-plants

- "Straw Houses: No Need to Fear the Big, Bad Wolf" http://kids.nationalgeographic.com/Stories/WackyStories/Straw-house

-Bookmarks for each student that have the five summarization steps on them.               

-Paper

-Pencils

-Highlighter for teacher and for each student

-Check List:

Did the student

YES

NO

Get rid of unnecessary information.

 

 

Pick out the most important information

 

 

Write a sentence that covers everything that is important information from the passage.

 

 

  Procedures:

1.   Begin by asking students if anyone knows what comprehension means. Discuss answers as a class and tell them that "comprehension is understanding what we are reading and then remembering it after we are done.  Today we are going to learn a couple of steps that are going to help us comprehend our reading.  This new technique is called summarization. Can anyone tell me what summarization is?" Wait for students to answer, and discuss answers as a class. "You're right! Summarization is reading and choosing the big, important ideas out of a passage. The whole time we are doing this, we take out some of the stuff that really doesn't have anything to do with the main idea. When we summarize a passage, it helps us understand the reading."  

2.     Explain summarization.  "Our new tool has 5 easy steps to remember."  The rules will already be written on the board, and I will go over them one at a time so the students can follow. "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." Then pass out the bookmarks to each of the students to aid in remembering the 5 steps of summarization. 

3.     "Alright, now that we are familiar with comprehension and summarization, we are going to read an article and put our steps into action. I am going to pass out the article called "Amazing Bats of Bracken Cave" to each of you.  As you read this article silently, make sure that you are getting enough information to summarize the paragraph.  When summarizing, remember how important it is to try to figure out the main details, and also the ones that might not be so important."

4.      After they finish reading the article, we will go through the summarization rules one by one, and summarize the article together. I will go through the article with the students and talk about the important aspects.  I will highlight parts of key sentences and cross off the words or sentences that are not relevant to summarization of the article.  While doing this as a class, I'll make sure to model the five steps. "After reading the first five paragraphs, here are the main points that I came up with."  Write the following on the board:

            - Every summer evening, Millions of bats fly out of Bracken Cave in Austin, Texas

            - 20 million bats

            - Group of bats called a colony

            - Parents use their sense of smell to recognize their baby bats, which are called cubs.  

"Did anybody get anything different than I did?"  If someone did, I will 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: 

- "The sun is setting on a summer night."

- Scary, horror movie

Write this on the board.  "Did anyone get something different?"  If they did, I will write it on the board.  "What is my next step?"  Wait for students to suggest:  highlight some keywords. "Great job!  You're right.  I thought that the keywords were:

- cave, colony, pup, guano, insects

Did anybody get another word?"  If they did, write it on the board.  "What do I need to do now?"  Wait for a student to respond by saying that we need to write a topic sentence.  "Right!  I need to write a topic sentence.  The topic sentence I came up with is: 

- Every summer evening, a colony of about 20 million bats fly out of Bracken Cave in Austin, Texas and make a relaxing sound with the flapping of their wings

Write this sentence on the board:  Did somebody 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 I have modeled how to summarize an article, I have a couple more articles from National Geographic Kids that you may choose to read and summarize." I will then give a brief article talk for both of the articles before they choose the one they would like to summarize. "The first article is called 'Chomp! Meat-Eating Plants' and it talks about different kinds of carnivorous plants and what kinds of things they eat. If you read this article, you will find out some of the characteristics of meat-eating plants. The second article is called, 'Straw Houses: No Need to Fear the Big, Bad Wolf,' and it is about how straw can actually make a good home for some animals. In reading this article, you will find out what characteristics of straw make it a good home, and why it is good for certain animals." After giving the brief article talks, I will give them some basic instructions. "Only pick one of these articles.  After reading the article silently to yourselves, you will be responsible for summarizing it in one paragraph.  Remember to highlight the important information you have picked out to summarize." During this time I will walk around monitoring their progress.

6.  After completing the summarizations, students will get into groups based on the article they chose and discuss what they discovered as they summarized the articles. "Ok, after you are finished with your summaries, make your way into a group of people that read the same article as you. Compare your summaries, and discuss what you thought was important about the article that you read." The students will hand in their one-paragraph summaries to me so that I can assess them.

Assessment: 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 to assess their summarization skills.

References:

National Geographic Society. 2007. http://kids.nationalgeographic.com/

 - "Amazing Bats of Bracken Cave" http://kids.nationalgeographic.com/Stories/AnimalsNature/Bat-cave

- "Chomp! Meat-Eating Plants" http://kids.nationalgeographic.com/Stories/AnimalsNature/Meat-eating-plants

- "Straw Houses: No Need to Fear the Big, Bad Wolf" http://kids.nationalgeographic.com/Stories/WackyStories/Straw-house

Wiggins, Jessie. "Let's Get to the Point - Summarize!" http://www.auburn.edu/academic/education/reading_genie/odysseys/wigginsrl.html

Berger, Amy. "Don't Despise, Summarize!" http://www.auburn.edu/academic/education/reading_genie/odysseys/bergerrl.html

 

Return to Encounters Index