Sum it Up!


Reading to Learn Design


By: Ann Mathews



            Reading Comprehension is one of the most important components when learning how to read.  One way children can work on comprehension is by teaching summarization skills.  When doing this the children are not only able to read the words on the page, but they are also able to understand what they are reading.  During this lesson the children will learn the six steps of summarization as well as practice summarizing the first chapter of a book.





 1.    I will have already assigned reading the book, Esperanza Rising, to the entire class about a week before wanting to do this lesson.  Esperanza Rising is a story of a young girl, Esperanza, which faces many hardships during her life.  Esperanza has jumped from the life of riches to the life of rags in a matter of a few days.

 2.    Has everyone finished reading Esperanza Rising?  Did everyone like it?  Well, Great!  Now that we have all finished reading we are going to practice writing a summary.  Does anyone know what a summary is?  A summary is a basic description of the plot and characters in a story.  Writing summaries is a great way to help you remember things about what you have read. 

 3.    I will review story structure with the children.  Then I will ask them to take out their books, and then re-read chapter one to them self.  I will say to them, As you read I want you to write down some things that you think are the most important facts about what is going on in the story.  For example, I might write down who the main character is, where the story takes place, etc…

 4.    While the children are reading hang the butcher paper on the wall so that you can draw out the map and have your children copy it onto their own paper.  When the children have finished reading the first chapter of Esperanza Rising, I will begin to explain the concept of story mapping.  Okay.  Now we are going to start summing up chapter one of our book.  We are going to use what is called a story map to help us.  I want you all to take out your main ideas that you wrote down, and two new pieces of paper.  I have drawn one large circle with five smaller circles attached to the large circle.  In the middle circle I have written “Esperanza Rising: Chapter One” because that is the chapter that we are writing our summaries about.  Now in each of the five smaller circles we are going to write some of the important facts that you picked out when reading chapter one.  For example, I might right write down the main character’s name, “Esperanza” in one circle.  What are some of the things that you thought were important when you read chapter one?

 5.    As a class we will complete the story map.  It is important to make sure that what you are writing on the butcher paper, the children are writing on their paper.  This is important so that the teacher can make sure that the children are following the  lesson, and so that the children will be able to look back at the one done together as a model for when they create a story map on their own.  Now we are all going to “sum up” chapter one in a few sentences using the ideas that we wrote down in the circles.  Write down the summary that the children have come up with on the chalkboard.  Does anyone have any questions about summarizing?  Does everyone see how easy it is to summarize your reading?

 6.    Then have the students re-read the second chapter of the book silently.  Ask them to individually make up a story map of the second chapter.  Once they have finished ask for a volunteer to come up to the chalkboard and write down everyone’s interesting facts on a clean sheet of butcher paper.  Then ask for another volunteer to take the interesting facts and make them into a three to five sentence summary and write it up on the chalkboard.

 7.    Now that we have done two chapters together, I am going to break you all into groups and assign a different chapter to each group.  I want you all to write down your own story map on one piece of paper and your three to five sentence summaries on another sheet of paper.  When your group is finished bring them to my desk so that I can look at them.  Once I have okayed your summary, then you can decorate your summary with markers.  Does anyone have any questions?  Well I will be walking around the room, so ask me if you do. 

 8.    Walk around the room and observe the students as they create their group summaries.




            I will assess the students by observing them as they are working in their groups creating their summaries as well as by looking over their group summaries.  By walking around to the different groups I can be sure that all children are participating in the activity.  I will have a checklist with the main points that should be covered when creating their story maps.




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