What's the Big Deal?

Summarizing Lesson Design
Lindsay  Allen

Rationale:  Comprehension is one of the most important things to teach to children while they are learning how to read.  A good way to help children better comprehend text is by teaching them to summarize.  To be able to read and recall information from an expository text, children need instruction in summarization.  By deleting trivial and redundant information, substituting superordinate terms for a list of items and creating a topic sentence, students will be able to remember factual information better.

Materials:  Card #12 “Do a Cat’s Eyes Glow?” of Noting Details cards from Reading for Comprehension Series by Educational Insights, various other cards from Noting Details  (one per student), Steps for summarization written on poster or large paper, chalkboard, chalk, paper, pencil

1.  Begin by reviewing how to read silently and introduce the card, “Do a Cat’s Eyes Glow?” from the Noting Details card box.  Say, “Have you ever seen cat’s eyes at night time?  If so, what did they look like?  Many people think they glow.  This passage is going to tell us the truth about cat’s eyes.  We are going to read this passage silently.  Remember, when we read silently we think the words in our head without saying them out loud.  We do not talk or look around while we are reading silently.  I want to see all eyes moving on your page as you read.  When you are finished I want you to think about the most important parts you read.”
2.  “You did a wonderful job reading silently!  Now that we have read about cat’s eyes, let’s summarize what we have read.  Does anyone know what a summary is?  A summary is a shortened version of the whole story.  It includes the most important parts of the story.  We find a summary writing the main points of the story.  There are three main tips to remember when making a summary of a passage (written on large poster in room):
    1.  Remove unimportant or repeated information
    2.  Classify items
    3.  Write a topic sentence

3.  Say, “A great way to summarize is by using a skill called mapping.  When we map a reading we put the main idea or topic in the middle of the page and draw a circle around it (model on board).  Then, we write all the details or supporting information around the topic in smaller individual circles (model on board).  We connect each detail to the topic by drawing a line, or a road between the two circles just like on a regular map (model on board).  For our cat passage what could we write in our topic circle? (cat’s eyes)  What are some details we could include outside our topic circle? (pick up light, has specials surfaces in back, catch a lot of light, have a green glow, see well in dark).  Now we have to connect our details to the topic with our roads so we can get from our topic to our details.  Now that we have our map, we can write a few sentences the summarize our passage.  Cat’s eyes seem to glow bright green, but they are not really glowing.  Cat’s have special surfaces in their eyes that allows them to catch a lot of light.  This helps them see well at night.”

4.  “Now that we have made our maps and summaries, let’s talk about how you made them.”  Generate discussion on what helped them find the topic and details in order to create the map and summary.  Have students share their maps.  Display them in the room after the lesson.

5.  Give each student a different card from the Noting Details card box.  Have each student read his/her card silently and create a map of the information.  Have the students write a summarization from his/her map.  Check each map and summary paragraph to make sure the students understand and are using all three steps.  Use rubric:

    Deleted trivial and redundant information: Yes    No
    Used classifications:    Yes   No
    Wrote appropriate topic sentence:   Yes   No

    Anna Ludlum.  Slim Down to the Good Stuff by Summarizing.  http://www.auburn.edu/rdggenie/insp/ludlumrl.html