Simply Summarize



Reading to Learn
By: Katherine McCartha

Rationale: What students learn through reading material is based on what is comprehended. It is difficult to grasp the concept of a text without being able to focus on the main point and mentally deleting unnecessary information. The process of gathering the main idea is summarization. This lesson is on teaching students how to summarize a text.

Materials: pencils, highlighters, teacher checklist, a printed copy of Porky Pets by Sharon Thompson National Geographic Kids Magazine, a printed copy of Are Plastic Bags Harming the Environment? Reported by John Roach and written by Sara Ives National Geographic Kids News/ from:

I will begin the lesson with a review over how to read silently. This is because summarizing can only occur if a child can comprehend what the text says to begin with.
“I want you to do something.  Think of a song you really like. Sing that song in your head silently. Do you hear the words? Do you hear the music? Do you see hear talking in your mind. When you read words, silently, you do the same thing. You are hearing the words in your mind. You are also changing the mood of the words to tell the story. You hear the story in your mind and you imagine the picture of what is going on.
1. Read the article with the class the day before or the day of.
2. I will first explain to the students what summarization is. Class, do you remember the article we read yesterday. What was the article about? That's right. It was about feeding your pets to much food. Who can tell me something else about the article? Good, many pets are obese because their owners feed them table scraps and too much food. Your right, those are the ways to prevent pet obesity. (I will write these facts on the board.) Look at what we've listed about the article. The article was much longer than what we have here. That is because you have told me the most important things about the article. This is called summarization.
3. There are five simple steps to summarization. (Write steps on the board while explaining them out loud)
Step 1: Pick out the less important or repeated ideas from the story and eliminate.
Step 2: Pick out important details that are necessary to the story.
Step 3: Highlight the important details using keywords.
Step 4:  List keywords in the order they appeared in the passage.
Step 5: Trim the list of key words down to one topic sentence.
By following these steps, you can easily summarize any reading assignment. Let's see if we can summarize another article.
4. Pass out copies of "Are Plastic Bags Harming the Environment?" Read the article silently to yourself. Follow the rules on the board. Let's summarize the first paragraph together as a class. (The students will summarize the rest of the article on their own.)
5. Assessment: "Now, I want you to take out another piece of paper and your pencils."  Give each student a copy of an article. "I want you to read this article and summarize each paragraph as best as you can.  Remember to use the five steps that we wrote on the board. Remember; think about the most important information. You may want to refer to the board where the five steps are listed if you get stuck on a paragraph." Allow the class to summarize the article alone. The students will then turn in a summarization of the article to the teacher.  The teacher will read each one making sure every child knows how to summarize a story by using the checklist below.
Redundant information was taken out:                            O Yes     O No
Trivial information was taken out:                                 O Yes     O No
There are only main points in the summarization:            O  Yes       O  No

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For further information, send e-mail to Katherine McCartha

    Emily Watts, Super Summarizer!
    Megan Schmidt, Lets Sum It Up!
    Jennifer Hall, Summarization Time