Super! You can Summarize!

By: Margaret Ann Hinshaw

Rationale: Comprehension can be seen as the process of using one's own prior experiences and the writer's cues to construct a set of meanings that are useful to the individual reader (Eldredge, 11). A good way for children to gain comprehension skills is for them to summarize what they read. Summarization is important because it lets teacher's know if their students understand the main idea behind what they are reading. In the following lesson, children will learn how to use summarization skills on their own and will be able to apply them to their everyday reading skills.



1)      A copy for each student of the National Geographic Article, “Exotic Pets Run Wild in Florida” By Sarah Ives April 19, 2004.

2)      Worksheet for each student with the following categories: Title, Main Idea, Details, Conclusion

3)      Pocket Chart displayed on the board with following categories: Title, Main Idea, Details, Conclusion

4)      Lined paper for each student to write up their summary of the article in their own words.



1)“Today we are going to discuss what it means to summarize what we read.” “Has anyone ever heard the word summarize before?” “Very Good! To summarize what we read, means to take the main idea of what we read.” “It means to tell what is the most important idea behind what we read.” “This is what we will be doing today.”

2) “I will pass out an article that I want you to read silently to yourself.” “It is important that we read silently to ourselves because it helps us to better comprehend what we are reading.” “Then I will pass out a worksheet for you to fill out using the information you gathered from the story.”

3) “Now that everyone has had a chance to finish their reading, I'd like to go over the worksheet.” “There is a place for you to write the title of the article, which is?” “Correct, Exotic Pets Run Wild in Florida.” Now look below that to where it says main idea and details.” “I would like for you to pair up with a partner and fill out the main idea and details part of the worksheet.” “When coming up with supporting details it is important that we answer five questions: Who, What, Where, When, Why, and How?” “Then we will place our answers in the pocket chart as a whole class.”

4) “We will now place our answers in the pocket chart as a whole group.” Who can tell me what the main idea of the story was?” “Very good! The main idea was that exotic animals are getting lose in Florida and causing problems in the community.” “Please write that on a sentence strip for us and place it in the pocket chart under main idea.” “Does everyone agree with this answer?” “Good!” “Who can give us a good supporting detail answering how these animals got here?” “Yes, These animals are in the environment because they were once someone's pets and have been released into the wild.” “What's another detail answering why this is a problem?” “Great, these animals are not friendly and need to be caught.” “Write these details on sentence strips for me and place them under details.” “What's another detail answering where these animals are coming to?” “Yes, these animals are coming to Florida because of its wet and warm climate.”

5)      Assessment: “What I would like for you all to do individually is to rewrite the article in your own words using the information we came up with.” “Your paragraph should explain what the main idea of the article is and tell the important details we need to know to be able to understand the article.”




                  Eldredge, J. Lloyd. Teaching Decoding in Holistic Classrooms. Prentice Hall, 1995. (Pg. 11)

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