“In A Nutshell”

Reading to Learn
By Erin Pringle

Comprehension is one of the most important key concepts of reading.  Also, it is a very important skill to teach children in order for them to become better readers.  Summarization is a fantastic method to follow to better comprehend material.  It allows children to be able to separate important information from the rest of the text.  The purpose of my lesson is to teach children how to summarize using a series of steps.  In this lesson, I will model how to properly use the steps of summarization and then I will allow the children to practice independently.   

A copy of  “Hot Spots” for every child in the classroom
Sheet with the steps to summarization for each student (and write on the board):  
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 sentence
6. Invent a topic sentence if there is none

1. First I will begin by explaining to the class what we will be doing:  “Today we are going to learn a new strategy called summarization.  Does anyone know what it means to summarize?  (Listen to the suggestions)  Well class, summarization is being able to pick out important information from texts.  A summarization of an article is the main important points that are found in the article.  This strategy is very helpful for readers, and it will help all of us become even better readers, because it will improve our comprehension skills.  What is comprehension again?  (Hopefully, someone will recall a previous lesson and give you the answer!) Very good, that's right; comprehension is understanding what we read."  

2. "Now I am going to give everyone a paper.  This paper lists the six steps that you should follow when trying to summarize something.  Let’s go through them together.  I will read them out loud as you follow along with your finger.  
1. Delete unimportant information (any information that is not critical to our understanding of the article)
2. Delete repeated information (any information that is found in the article more than once)
3. Replace lists of items with easier words or terms (lengthy lists should be replaced with simple short terms)
4. Add a series of events with an easy action term
5. Select a topic sentence (one sentence that encompasses the meaning of the article)
6. Invent a topic sentence if there is none.

Are there any questions on any of the steps?   (Cover all questions)

3. "Now we are going to review a skill that we talked about recently, silent reading.  Who can tell me what “silent reading” is?  Yes, that’s right; it means that we read to ourselves without making a sound.  Why is this important for good readers?  Exactly, it helps us to understand or comprehend what we are reading."

4. "Alright, now we are going to practice the skills that we have been talking about.  (Pass out the article).  First, I want everyone to take a look at this article, and read the first two paragraphs to themselves, silently.  As you are reading, remember to focus on the words, and try to remember the important information."  

5. "Now that everyone has finished this section of the article, let’s begin to summarize it, together.  First, we must delete the unimportant information."  I will model one unimportant fact on the board to give them an example.  "The following information is not important to understand the article: “Joanne Green carefully put her foot down as if it were her last step. It could have been.” This part of the article is not important because it does not tell us something that we must know to understand the article.  Since we do not need this information to comprehend the story, we can "delete" it from the text.  Now, I would like for everyone to take a pencil and paper (pass out the materials) and write down the information that you found in the article that can be deleted.  When you get done, lay your head on the table, and put your pencils down.  "Okay, I have looked for repeated information, and I did not find any.  So, we will move on to the next step.  “The next step is substituting easy terms for lists of items.  Can someone raise their hand and give me an example from the passage?  Good, now I want someone to raise their hand and tell me what they think would be a good topic sentence for this article.  Very good, can someone else give me another example?  Great job!"  I would use step six if there were not a topic sentence that we could use from the passage.  

6. "You have all done a wonderful job, so far.  Now, I want you to try to summarize the rest of the article by yourselves.  Read the rest of the article silently.  Remember, pay attention to the main ideas."

I will assess each student individually as they summarize the remainder of the article.  "While you are reading the article I want you to write down the important information on the front of you paper and the unimportant information on the back of your paper.  When you are finished, I want you to come up with your own topic sentence and write it down on the top of the front of your paper.  I am going to take these up, so do the best that you can!"  I would read their papers and make sure that they were able to distinguish between unimportant and important information.  Then I would check to make sure that their topic sentence relates to the article.   
Does their summary contain unimportant information?
Does their summary contain repeated information?
Are there lists or simpler terms?
Have series of events been replaced with action terms?
Has the student selected or created an appropriate topic sentence?

Knight, Sara.  (2002). Steps to Summarization.  http://www.auburn.edu/rdggenie/inroads/knightrl.html.

Back to Expressions

*Back To The Top*