Super Summarization

Reading to Learn
Kathleen Wheat

Comprehension of text is a vital aspect in reading; it allows the reader to fully understand what is being read. One proven strategy that can boost reader comrehension is summarization. Summarization involves deleting unimportant and redundant information, superordinating items and events, and composing a statement that touches on everything the writer was saying. The purpose of this lesson is for students to use the summarization strategy to better comprehend text. By having students learn to delete trivia and redundancies, superordinate items and events, and compositing information, they will better understand and remember what they are reading.

- student checklist (1 per student)
- paper
- chalk/white board with chalk or marker
- highlighter
- pencil
- assessment for summarization (for teacher)
- student copies of "Cool Things About Elephants" by Aline Alexander Newman, found at:
- computer with Internet access to National Geographic Kids, will use the following articles:
"The Great Koala Rescue" by Ruth Musgrave
"Lightning" by Renee Skelton

Student Checklist for Summariation

  ______    unimportant or redundant information is left out of summary

  ______    important ideas and events are stated

  ______    state author's main idea and supporting details

Assessment for Summarization
  Name: ___________________

  ______    student left out unimportant or redundant information in the summary

  ______    student lists important events and ideas

  ______    student states author's main idea and supporting details

1. Begin by explaining the purpse of the lesson. Today we are going to learn about summarization and how that can help us with the most important aspect of reading, comprehension or understanding what you are reading. When you make summaries about what you are reading, you will better understand and remember more of what you read. You will summarize articles and practice finding the main idea and the details that support it.

2. Review with students how to read silently. Remember how we have discussed the importance of reading silently? It allows us to read more without disturbing our neighbors. I will show you how to read silently to yourself. Write the following sentences and read out loud: I like to pick blueberries during the summer months. Then read it silently. Even though you did not hear me read, that doesn't mean that I was not reading. Write the following sentence and allow students to read out loud and then silently: I went to the grocery store to buy some bread and milk.

3. Explain and model summarization strategy. When we summarize text, there are 3 rules to use that can help. Write on board as you write.
Read out loud "The Great Koala Rescue" from the National Geographic for Kids  Website. Now I will follow our three rules of summarizing to help me comprehend this text. First, I will try to get rid of any unimportant information. For example, it is not really important that the koala in the story was looking for eucalyptus leaves. Next, I will list important events and items. For example, the koala got its head stuck in the fence. A park ranger helped to free it. Last, I will try to make a statement that covers everything I read. In Australia, a koala got its head stuck in a fence, but a park ranger came to save it by using a tranquilizer and cutting it free.

4. Allow students to practice the summarization strategy using the "Lightning" article. Now I want everyone to practice by summarizing this paragraph. The paragraph may be written on the board. "As lightning flashed around the,, Sabrina and her parents ran for cover. 'When it stopped raining, we thought we were safe,' says Sabrina. They started to hike to their car along the trail. Then zap! A lightning bolt struck nearby. It happened so fast that the family didn't know what it hit. A jolt of electricity shot through their bodies. Allow the whole class to work together to create a summary; their will be a class discussion following.

5. Give each student their own copy of the article, "Cool Things About Elephants" by Aline Alexander Newman and a student checklist to make sure they have completed each step in their summary. Students will read silently; they will mark out unnecessary or redundant information and highlight important thoughts and ideas. Here is the handout for everyone, it is called "Cool Things About Elephants." You will read it silently, as you read, go through and mark out all unnecessary or repeated items. Then take your highlighter and highlight all important ideas and sentences.


While students are creating their summaries, teacher will walk around and observe and ask questions to check for comprehension. Some possible questions could include:
Teacher will collect the summaries, using the assessment for summarization sheet, evaluate student's work on creating summaries.

Holzapfel, Kim. "Sum It Up!"

Musgrave, Ruth. "The Great Koala Rescue."

Newman, Aline A. "Cool Things About Elephants."

Skelton, Renee. "Lightning."

Murray, Bruce. The Three Step Summary Rules

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