Sensational Summarizers
Reading to Learn
Valerie Lunceford

Rationale:  It is important to teach children strategies that will aid comprehension.  In order to increase comprehension children must be able to focus on the main ideas of a passage.  Summarizing is one strategy that children can use to increase their comprehension.  Instruction on summarization is needed to help children read and recall information.  Children need to be taught how to eliminate unnecessary and repetitive information.  They also need to learn how to substitute super ordinate terms for a list of items, and create a topic sentence.  If children use these summarizing strategies they will be well on their way to becoming better readers and recallers of information.

Materials:  paper, pencils, chart paper, 12" x 12" squares of poster board, markers, copies of "Freaky Frogs" article from National Geographic Kids for each student, individual checklists with the following instructions:
1. Delete unimportant information.
2. Delete repeated information.
3. Substitute easy words for lists of items.
4. Add a series of events with an easy action term.
5. Select a topic.
6. Invent a topic sentence if there is not one

Procedures:

1.  Begin the lesson by discussing what summarizing is and why it is so important to the reading process.  "Can anyone tell me what the word summarize means?  The word summarize means to take out the main points in a passage and put them together to create a summary.  A summary is a description of the main points in a passage.  Can anyone give me an example of a summary?  Have you ever summarized before?  (Take responses and then summarize a brief lesson or book read prior to this lesson).  We are going to learn more about summarizing today in our lesson.  Before we begin, letâs review how we read silently."

2.  "Remember when we read silently that we read alone, quietly and ask ourselves questions about what we are reading as we read.  Today we are going to read an article about frogs.  Once you have finished reading the article we will practice summarizing and find the main points of our article.  Remember, I should not hear any talking.  We are reading silently."

3.  "Now that you have read the article and you know what summarizing means we will learn the six steps of summarizing."  ( Record on chart paper).

1. Delete unimportant information.
2. Delete repeated information.
3. Substitute easy words for lists of items.
4. Add a series of events with an easy action term.
5. Select a topic.
6. Invent a topic sentence if there is not one.

"It is important to delete unimportant information that we may be distracted by.  This will help us to focus on the main points of the article.  Deleting repeated information is important because it rids the article or reading selection of extra information that we already know.  When we substitute easy words for lists of items we are able to shorten the amount of information we have to remember.  For example, we may want to remember a list such as chickens, cows, horses, eggs, pigs, and sheep.  We may want to simplify this list by calling it Farm Animals.  We can place each of these animals under the topic of Farm Animals to help us recall them.  We can add a series of events with an action term to help us recall a passage as well.  Then we can select a topic of the events in our passage and create a topic sentence that describes the passage we have read."

4.  "Letâs talk about what you read in the article together.  I am going to draw a picture on the chart paper.  This drawing is called a web.  Webs help us organize our information and understand what we know.  Remember to look at the summary checklist on our other chart.  Where do I put the main topic on our web?  (the middle) Very good!  What should I put in the middle of the web?  (frogs)  Very nice!  Who can give me a main point from the article on frogs?  Call upon the students and record their comments on the web.  Explain that we should be able to create a paragraph that summarizes the entire article.  You can use the web to help you create your summary by using some of the facts that have been listed.  Each section on our web can be used to create a sentence to help create a short paragraph."

5.  Now I will have the children work in groups of 2.  Pass out the poster board squares, individual checklists, and markers to each pair of students.  "A wonderful way to help us learn to summarize is by creating a web just like the one we did together.  Can anyone tell me how to begin the web?  Great!  We place the topic of the article in the center of our posters.  Then we write facts or pieces of information out to the side.  Use your checklist to make sure you have used the six steps for summarizing.  Good luck!  I will be walking around to help if you need me!"

6. Assessment:  In order to assess the childrenâs understanding of the topic I will monitor the room as they work together on the web.  I will compare their checklists with their webs.  I will also have them individually write a brief summary paragraph based on their web from the article.  Make sure they actually eliminated unimportant information if they checked it off on their list.

References:

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

Schmidt, Megan. Letâs Sum It Up!
http://www.auburn.edu/rdggenie/insp/schmidtrl.html

Stokes, Alison. Summing It All Up.
http://www.auburn.edu/rdggenie/insp/stokesrl.html

National Geographic Explorer
http://magma.nationalgeographic.com/ngexplorer/0403/articles/mainarticle.html
 

Click here to return to Guidelines.