LET’S SUM IT UP!
RATIONALE: Learning to read is just as important as reading to learn. Once students have become fluent readers, it is important that they be able to comprehend the texts they are reading from. Summarizing texts students have read is a wonderful way to for them to practice their comprehension strategies. In this lesson the students will read a chapter out of Tuck Everlasting and summarize it as a group and individually. They will also learn the six steps of summarization.
1. Delete unimportant information
2. Delete repeated information
3. Substitute easy terms for lists of items
4. Add a series of events with an easy action term
5. Select a topic
6. Invent a topic sentence if there is none
1. Prior to this lesson, the students should have been given some time to read the first chapter in Tuck Everlasting. Teachers can take this time at the beginning of the lesson to review with students how to read silently. “I know all of you can read out loud, but let’s remember how we read to ourselves, silently.” Model this for a moment to the students. Then invite the students to read silently themselves. “Take a little while to re-read the first chapter in Tuck Everlasting so the material is fresh in your minds. Remember, we’re all reading silently so no one should be talking.” Give the students 10 or 15 minutes to read.
2. Introduce the 6 steps for a summary: “Alright, now that we’re all done reading, can anyone tell me what a summary is? A summary has to do with picking out the most important points in a text we read. There are six important steps to writing a summary (write these on the board). First, we want to delete unimportant information. Next, we want to delete anything that is repeated in the story. After that we want to substitute easy terms for a list of items. Then add a series of events with an easy action word. Last, we want to select our topic. If there is no topic sentence then we’ll invent one.”
3. Provide students with paper. “Now that we’ve gone over the 6 steps in making a summary, let’s see if we can pull some important information from the chapter we read. To see this, we can use a web. (draw a circle on the board) What do you think might go in the middle circle? That’s right, our most important idea or main idea. In this case, the first chapter talks a lot about…what? The wood near the Foster’s house. So that would be our main idea (write that in the circle). Next we need to find some information that we read about the wood. What could we say about it? How about that it is quiet and mysterious? (write this down in the circle that comes off the web) For you to finish your web, you’ll need to add some more circles that tell us something about the wood (give the students time to do this). Once you’ve finished your web, that can be used to write a few short sentences about the chapter we’ve read.”
4. Assessment: Place students into small groups and hand out butcher paper and markers to each group. “Now that you’ve finished your webs, I am going to put you into groups and you can work together to decide which important points will go on your group web.” Give the students a little time to work. Walk around the room and monitor students as they are working to make sure they have the right idea. Take each web and hang it on the wall. Then discuss, as a class, if each group was able to identify some important points from the text. Ask students to make one more web, drawing key points or ideas from the group webs they and their classmates made. “Now that you’ve finished with this web, turn your paper over and write a small paragraph using the most important points you have chosen.” Hand out the 6 step checklists to the students. “Then, using the checklist I’ve just given you, I want you and a partner to look at each other’s webs and paragraphs to see if you were able to complete each step.”
Pressley, Michael."Strategies That Improve Children's Memory and Comprehension of Text" The Elementary SchoolJournal. Volume 90, number 1. Pages 3-32. 1989.
York, Lyndsay. “Summing It All Up”. http://www.auburn.edu/rdggenie/openings/yorkrl.html
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