Get to the Point!

Reading to Learn
Kim Alldredge


Rationale: The reason we teach students phoneme awareness, blending, and fluency is so that they will be able to comprehend the text.  In school students have to comprehend text so that they can pass a test on the material.  Even when students are reading for pleasure they need to be able to comprehend the text or they would not be able to enjoy the book and know what they read.  Comprehension can be difficult for students if they are having difficulty reading the words.  Students need to learn strategies to help them comprehend text.  One very effective strategy is summarization.  This strategy involves picking out the important information in the text so that they can remember it for later use.  The purpose of this lesson will be to teach students how to summarize by learning the steps of summarization and asking themselves questions.


Materials:  Chart Paper
                    Chart Markers
                    A class copy of Space Rock Makes a Crash Landing by: National Geographic


1. Who remembers what we do when we read silently?  [Remind the students to stay quiet, follow along closely with the text, and reread if they don’t understand it the first time.]  We read silently because it helps us to understand what we are reading.  There are others ways to understand what we are reading also.  The one we are going to work on today is summarization.  Summarization is when you retell the important parts of the text and leave out the unimportant parts.  When you summarize you will retell the story in your own words.  What you tell will be short because you will only tell the important parts of the text.  Today we are going to learn the strategies for summarizing text.

2.  There are five steps to summarization.  We are going to go over these and I will write them on chart paper so you can look back at them later when you are reading.  [Write the following steps on the chart paper.]  [As you write and explain the steps to the students model for them each step.  Answer any questions the students may have.]  Step 1: Pick out the main ideas in the story.  Main ideas are the parts of the story that we need to know in order to understand the text.  Step 2: Pick out the less important parts of the story and leave them out.  Step 3: Highlight the important details using keywords.  Keywords will help you remember the important parts of the story. Step 4: List the keywords in the order they occurred in the text.  Step 5: Narrow your keywords down to one topic sentence.  Now that we have gone over the five steps I want you to practice using the steps. 

3.  [Pass out the article,  Space Rock Makes a Crash Landing, to each student.  Tell the students to read the article silently.  Allow time for every student to read the article.

4.  I am going to show you how to summarize a paragraph using the five steps for summarization.  Everyone look at your article as I read the first paragraph.  [Read the first paragraph.]  [Summarize the paragraph for the students and then point out the five steps of summarization that you used to summarize the paragraph.]  [Point out to students that you left out unimportant information and stressed the important information.  Show them how you wrote down keywords in order and then came up with a topic sentence.]

5.  [Pass out highlighters to each of the students.]  Now I want you to read the rest of the article and highlight the important parts of the paragraph.  [Provide time for each student to read and highlight the important parts.]

6.  Now I want you to take out paper and pencil.  Write a summary on the article you just read.  Remember to use the five steps of summarization.  If you forget the five steps then look at the chart paper to remind you.  [Walk around and observe the students as they write their summaries.  Answer any questions they may have.] 

7.  In order to assess the students understanding of summarization I will have them turn in their summarization of the article.  Then as a class we will discuss the article and go over the five steps of summarization. 

Reference:  Kristin Herren

       Jenni Anderson


       National Geographic Staff.  Nov. 5, 2004.  Space Rock Makes a Crash Landing.  National Geographic for Kids. 


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