Putting It All Together With Summarization

Reading to Learn
Katie Burns

Rationale: The main goal of reading is comprehension.  Students can use many strategies to comprehend written text.  One of the most important strategies for children to learn is summarization.  Summarization can be defined as finding the most important information from a reading.  To effectively summarize a text, students must follow several rules including identify main information, delete trivial and redundant information, and relate main and supporting ideas.

Materials: Copy of the article “Adventures of Xiao Pan” from the Ranger Rick magazine  
                  for each student
                  Chart paper
                            1.    Redundant information taken out                   Yes     No
                            2.    Trivial information taken out                          Yes     No
                            3.    Only main points included in summary          Yes    No

1.    Explain what it means to summarize a text. “When we read we need to be able to pick out the important information in the text. This will help us understand what we are reading. Summarizing means being able to find the most important information within the text. Stories contain a lot of information and only some of it is necessary to help us understand what the story is about. Today we are going to learn how to summarize an article”.
2.    Review how to read silently. “I am going to give each of you an article about a panda named Xiao Pan, and I want you to read through it the first time silently. I don’t want to hear any sounds but instead see your eyes looking at each word as you read. Watch me as I read the first paragraph silently. (Demonstrate reading the first paragraph) Now I want all of you to try”.
3.    After the students’ finish reading the article, I will ask some comprehension questions to make sure they comprehend the material they are reading. These will include Who, What, Where, When, and Why questions. “What is this article about?, Where was Xiao Pan born? Etc.”.
4.    Explain how to ask each of the 5 W questions (these questions should be written on chart paper and hanging where each student can see them) and demonstrate some of the questions that could be asked. “If I wanted to find the important information in this article I would ask myself some of the following questions. “Where was Xiao Pan born?, What does he eat?, Where does he live? Etc.” Do you understand how to use these questions to find out important information? (Class answers yes). Good now I want each of you to reread the article and answer the 5 W questions we just reviewed. Also be sure to pick out any important information you come across.”
5.    “When you have finished reading the article and answering the questions I want you to turn the answers into a paragraph and this will be your summary of the article. To turn it into a paragraph take your important facts and make them sentences. When all the sentences are put together you will have a paragraph. Remember it should only include the important information from the article.”
6.    When the children turn in their summary paragraphs I will use the checklist mentioned above to make sure that each child has the correct idea of summarizing. I will know that they understand if I can mark yes next to each statement.

                  Beason, Margaret. Summing It Up Can Be Fun!
                 “Adventures of Xiao Pan” Churchman, Deborah. Ranger Rick magazine.                               
                        Volume 37, Number 2. Pp. 30-37.
                  Anderson, Jenni. Summarization Station.

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