Summarizing is Fun with Flat Stanley!

Reading to Learn Lesson Design
Stefanie Berryhill

I.                  Rationale:  Summarization is very important to comprehension.  The purpose of reading is to comprehend what has been read.  In this lesson, I will teach the students story mapping as a way of learning to summarize so that they may improve their reading comprehension.

II.                Materials:  multiple copies of Jeff Brown’s Flat Stanley, five large sheets of butcher paper, markers


III.  Procedures:
 1.  I will pre-assign the book Flat Stanley, by Jeff Brown, to the entire class at
 least a week in advance to this lesson. 

 2.  On the day the reading is to be finished, I will ask the students to take out their books.
 3.  Now that everyone has completed the book Flat Stanley, we are going to write a summary.  A summary is a paragraph or two that is written in your own words.  It should be a shortened version of what happened in the story.   Writing summaries can help you to remember what you have read, and it can be a lot of fun.
 4.  I want everyone to skim chapter.  As you skim and freshen your memory, write down some words or ideas that you think explain the plot of the story.
 5.  When they are finished I will begin discussing story mapping.  We are going to make a story map to help us write our summaries.  (I will hang a piece of the  butcher paper on the chalkboard.  I will write on it with a marker.)  First, I will  draw a big circle in the middle of my paper.  Inside the circle I will write “chapter  one”.  What some of the words and ideas you wrote down?  Each time I write one of your words or ideas, I will draw a small circle around it.  Then I will draw a line to connect it to our big Chapter One circle.

 6.  As a class we will complete the story map.  Now, that we have finished our   story map, we are going to write a summary.  Our summary only needs to be one paragraph long, which is three to five complete sentences.

7.     Together as a class we will discuss their ideas and condense them into a short paragraph summarizing the first chapter.  I will write the paragraph on the butcher paper large enough for everyone to see it.  Then I will split the students into four groups of four.

8.     We have four groups of students in our classroom. There are four more chapters in Flat Stanley.  Each group will be responsible for one chapter.   Everyone will skim his or her chapter silently.  When everyone in your group is finished, raise your hand and I will bring you a piece of butcher paper and markers.  As a group, you will make your own story web and write a summary of your chapter at  the bottom of the page.

9.      When everyone is finished, each group will come up and present their story  map and summary of their chapter. 


IV.  Assessment:  I will use their summaries, story maps, and presentations to assess the students’ understanding and comprehension of Flat Stanley.


V.  References:
Brown Jeff. Flat Stanley.  HarperCollins Publishers.  New York: 2003.
Swindall, Tamra.  “Learning to Summarize”.
Tomlinson, Lindsey.  “Comprehension in the Cold”.

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