Summarize and Celebrate Earth Day!
Reading to Learn
By: Leslie McGill

Rationale: Without comprehension, reading would have no meaning.  Teachers should place an emphasis on comprehension when teaching students to read.  Summarization is an effective strategy that helps students comprehend and understand what they read.  Through a series of steps, students can practice summarization.

1.  'We have an exciting book to look at today; it's all about Earth Day!  We will focus on reading just a few sections for today.  For today, we will read about the first Earth Day and about endangered species.  To be a good reader, you need to comprehend what you read.  When you comprehend, you understand and remember what you read.  Today, we are going to practice a fun way to comprehend using the sections from our book; we will summarize the sections.  Summarizing will let us pick out the most important ideas from the section and eliminate the less important ideas from the section.  Are you ready to summarize?!"
2.  "I have a poster to show you, it is the Rules for Summarization Poster.  These are the rules we will follow when we summarize.  Let's go over these rules together.  (Point to the rules as you read them aloud.)  The first rule is delete information that isn't important and information that repeats; this means get rid of the useless information and the information that is stated over and over.  The second rule is list items and events in order; this means write about the events in the correct order or rank.  The third rule is find or invent a topic sentence; this means find or make-up a topic sentence that covers the entire reading.  I am going to hang the Rules for Summarization Poster in the front of the room so we use it for practice."
3.  "I am giving each of you a copy of Let's Celebrate Earth Day.  Turn to page three with me; this page is about the history of Earth Day.  The page is only one paragraph long; I want you to read it silently.  While you read, try to separate the important ideas from the less important ideas.  Do you have any questions?  Great, begin!"
4.  "Okay, I see you are all finished reading.  Let's summarize the paragraph together; look at the Rules for Summarization Poster.  First, we need to delete information that isn't important and information that repeatsWhat do you think is some information that is not important?  Okay, Senator Nelson is from Wisconsin is not important.  I do not need to write that down since it is not important.  Was there any repeated information?  I  hear most of you saying no.  Who thinks there was repeated information?  Okay, you think that the first Earth Day was April 22, 1970 is repeated information.  Where was that idea repeated?  That’s okay, now you realize that the information was not repeated.  If it was repeated, we would need to delete it though, great try!  Second, we need to list items and events in order.  What information can we list in correct order?  Fantastic, Senator Nelson said if you’re not a part of the solution, you’re part of the problem.  What is something else we can list that would come next?  Great, Senator Nelson worked to ban DDT, a dangerous pesticide that polluted lakes and rivers.  Both of these ideas are written on the board; now we need to relate them to our next step.  Third, we need to find or invent a topic sentenceRemember, the topic sentence should cover the entire paragraph; the ideas on the board should relate to the topic sentence.  Raise your hand if you can tell me a topic sentence for the paragraph; I will write your ideas on the board.  Good, Senator Gaylord Nelson wanted to educate people on ways to protect and conserve in order to save our planet.  Does everyone agree?  Great!  Our topic sentence is Senator Gaylord Nelson wanted to educate people on ways to protect and conserve in order to save our planet.  Class, you just summarized!"
5.  "Now, turn to page six with me; this page is about endangered species.  The page is only two paragraphs long; I want you to read it silently.  As you read, use the summarization rules; they are still hanging at the front of the room.   After you finish reading, take out a sheet of paper and a pencil.  You need to summarize the page.  Use our class example that is still on the board if you need some extra help.  If you have any questions, just raise your hand."
6.  For assessment, walk around and observe their work making sure they are following the rules on the Rules for Summarization Poster and the example summarization on the board.  Use the assessment checklist during this time.  Take-up the individual summarizations as they finish.  


Allred, Katie.  "Beary Super Summarizing!"  Auburn University.  2002.

Pressley, Michael.  "Strategies That Improve Children’s Memory and Comprehension of Text."  The University of Chicago.  1989.

Roop, Connie and Peter.  Let's Celebrate Earth Day.  The Millbrook Press, Inc.  2001.

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