Get to the Point!

Reading to Learn

By: Kristin Neely

Children will learn to summarize text they are reading. This lesson will teach students how to summarize what they are reading and ultimately learn how to find the meaning of what they have read.

Materials: Non-fiction book (such as a science or history book-ex. National Geographic Society's Science book), copies of text for each child, highlighter for each child, markers, paper, pencil

1. I will begin the lesson by explaining to children what it means to summarize a text. "When you are summarizing a text, you will create a shorter version of what you read. This means you take out any information that is not very important or that is repeated in the text. For example, if I read a passage such as  “I went to the beach. I saw a raft. The raft was yellow.” I could summarize the passage by saying “I saw a yellow raft at the beach.” Do you see how I used the important information from the passage and made a shorter sentence? Today we are going to be summarizing just like I just did."
2. I will have students get out their textbook and silently read the assigned passage (this will depend on which lesson you are on). "I want everyone to read p. 32-35 silently. This is about fossils. After you have finished, be thinking about some of the important points in the story."
3. After the children have finished reading the assigned pages, I will pass out copies of the text they have just read. "We are now going to summarize what we just finished reading. On the copy of the text I just gave you please highlight all the main ideas or pieces of information you feel are important." We will then discuss each of these facts as a class. "Next, I want you to take your marker and mark through all of the information you don't feel is important. This is the information that the author included in the text but that does not need to be put in our summary."
4. "Now that we have finished highlighting and marking, I want you to write what is left on a blank piece of paper. Make sure you leave out all the information you marked out."
5. After all students are finished, allow some students to read their summaries to the class. Encourage children to listen and see if their summary is similar to the one being read.

Assessment: In order to assess summarization skills I will pass out another passage for the children to read silently. They will then summarize the passage on their own. I will then check over them to make sure they included the main ideas of the story and left out information that is irrelevant. This will demonstrate an understanding of summarization.


Click here to return to Explorations