Reading to Learn Design
is a skill that every reader should master. Summarization aids a
student in finding meaning in the text that they are reading. It
is important that students are taught how to pull out key points in the
text and to relate the key points into forming a summary. By
being able to summarize a student will be able to read more efficiently
Multiple copies of Flat Stanley by Jeff Brown
Large sheets of butcher paper
1. Previously assign the book Flat Stanley to the entire class at
least one week in advanced to teaching summarizing. (The book is
a very short chapter book containing only 65 pages.)
2. On the date the reading assignment is due have the children
get out their copies of the book.
3. Start the lesson by telling the students what a summary
is. “A summarization is when we read a passage or text and then
pull out the key information from the text to make it shorter.
Summarization helps us understand what we have read in a faster
way. Knowing how to summarize we can get the important
information out of what we read.”
4. Reread the first chapter aloud to the entire class. Tell
the children to “write down some words or ideas that they think are
important or that they think will better explain the story while I
5. After rereading the first chapter put a large piece of butcher
paper on the board so that everyone can see the paper and begin to
discuss a story map. Tell the children “we are going to make a
story map on this paper.”
6. Model on the paper how to begin a story map. Write on the
paper using a marker tell the children “First I will draw a large
circle in the middle of my paper. In the circle I will put the
chapter that I am reading.” For the key points you should ask the
students what they wrote down while you were reading the first
chapter. Explain to the students what to do with the key points
while modeling on the board. “Each time I write down a key point
I am going to circle it and draw a line from the circle to the middle
circle with the chapter in it.” Complete the story map with the
7. After the story map is complete begin to explain how to write
a summary using the story map. Tell the students “to take their
key ideas and form them into a paragraph.” Together as an entire
class discuss their key points and condense them into a paragraph on
the butcher paper on the board, so that everyone can see. Ask if
there are any questions.
8. Divide the students into four groups. (You will only
have 4 chapters left to summarize so you will only need 4
groups.) Each group will be responsible for one of the remaining
chapters. Tell each group to “read their assigned chapter
aloud. After rereading their chapter to raise their hands for
their butcher paper and markers.” Tell them to “construct a story
map and from their story map to form a one paragraph summarization of
their assigned chapter.” After each group has finished have them
present their story map and paragraph to the class.
9. Display the student’s story maps and paragraphs. Also
verbally praise the students for their good work.
10. For assessment use the student’s presentations, story maps,
and summaries to assess the students understanding and comprehension of
Oglesby, Kara. Fun with Summarizing, www.auburn.edu/rdggenie/openings/oglesbyrl.html
Wallingsford, Darby. Summarization Made Easy, www.auburn.edu/rdggenie/openings/wallingsfordrl.html
Brown, Jeff. Flat Stanley. Scholastic Inc., New York. 2003.
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