Summing It Up Can Be Fun!!

Lesson on Summarization

By: Margaret Beason

Rationale:  The main goal of reading is comprehension.  Students can use many strategies to comprehend written text.  One of the most important strategies for children to learn is summarization.  Summarization can be defined as finding the most important information from a reading.  To effectively summarize a text, students must follow several rules identify main information, delete trivial and redundant information, and relate main and supporting ideas. It is important for children to be able to locate the most important information in a text.  In this lesson, students will be able to effectively summarize an article from the Ranger Rick magazine.



1.      Introduce the lesson by explaining what it means to summarize a text.  “Since we have all had plenty of practice sounding out words and recognizing words from memory, we are going to practice on understanding what we read.  Understanding what we read is very important.  It helps us understand what happens in a story, and it helps us relate the story to our own lives.  We are going to practice summarizing an article.  Summarizing means to find the most important information in a story.  Stories contain a lot of information, and only some of it – the most important parts – help us understand what happens.  Stories contain a lot of information and it is essential that we know how to pick out the important statements from the story.” Today we are going to learn how to summarize an article.

2.      Before we practice summarizing we are going to review how to read silently and then introduce the article to the students. This article is about a panda bear named Xiao Pan, and you’ll have to read the article to find out all sorts of important information about Xiao Pan.  First before we start reading, I would like to review how to read silently.  Watch me as I read silently.” I will read the first paragraph of the article to myself.  “Now I am going to pass out the article and I would like for each of you to read the title and the article to yourself.  I should not hear anyone making a sound.  I want to see your eyes following along as you read.”

3.      After the students’ finish reading the article, I will ask a couple of comprehension questions to make sure they are comprehending the material as they should.  These questions can be Who, What, Where, When, and Why questions.  For example, what is this article about? (panda bear named Xiao Pan) And where was Xiao Pan born? (China)

4.      The teacher will then model to her students how to ask the five “W” questions in order to find out what information is important. “Ask yourselves what the story is about, who the story is about, and find out where the story takes place.” Questions such as What does Xiao Pan eat? (Milk from his mother.) Why do you think he sleeps for so long? Where is he from? (China) The teacher will demonstrate by asking these types of questions.

5.      After each student seems to have a clear understanding of how to ask themselves the five “W” questions, the teacher should assign the students to reread the article to practice summarizing.  These students will be asked to get out a sheet of paper and label the paper with the categories Who, What, Where, When, and Why questions. While the students are reading these pages, they should be able to put the important information into each correct category. The teacher will walk around and assist as she is needed.    

6.      For assessment, each student will turn in this piece of paper with the appropriate information in the correct category.  This will allow the teacher to check to make sure each student has learned the correct information to summarization.  The teacher should follow these checklist to evaluate each student to make sure they are finding only the important information:

·        How long does Xiao Pan sleep a day?

·        Where in China was Xiao Pan born?

·        Who takes care of Xiao Pan?

·        What does Xiao Pan’s mother give him?


“Adventures of Xiao Pan” Churchman, Deborah. Ranger Rick magazine. Volume 37, Number 2. Pp.30-37

Claire Dugas. “The ‘Bear’ Facts about Summarization”

Misty Willoughby, Summing it all up in a Nutshell.

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