Stormy Summarizing




By: Gina Thomas


Learning to Summarize

Rationale: Comprehension is the main goal of reading.  Summarization is a great way for children to acquire the skills for comprehension. This lesson will help children learn to summarize and comprehend what they read through a story.


Materials: Book: The Storm by Anne Rockwell (multiple copies for everyone), paper, pencils



  1. First, introduce the lesson by explaining that understanding what you read is very important.  “Anytime you read a book, you need to try to comprehend what you read.  This means to try and understand the text.  One way of doing this is called summarizing.  Summarizing is taking the information you read, deleting unimportant things, and giving the main points of the story. A summary can usually be put into one paragraph.”
  2. Next, pass out the books to everyone.  “Now, I would like for each of you to start reading silently from the book.  You will have plenty of time to complete the book so don’t worry about who will finish first and last.  As you read, I want you to think about the main points in the story.  When everyone has finished the book, we will move on to our summarizing activity.”
  3. When every child has finished, give each child one page from the book to summarize.  Ask everyone to get out a sheet of paper and a pencil.  “Now that everyone has finished the book, I want you to close your books and listen carefully to your instructions.  I will give everyone on page to summarize.  You need to read your page and write a brief summary on your paper.  When you have written several sentences, I will take up the summaries.  Take you time and focus on only the main points of the story.  When everyone has finished, we will read the summaries out loud and combine them to make one main idea.
  4. Allow time for each child to read his or her story out loud. When everyone has had their turn, ask the students to raise their hand and tell you what the main idea of the whole story was.  “Now class, those were great summarizes.  I want you to raise your hand and tell me what you think the main point of the whole book was.” If possible, allow every child a chance to discuss what he or she feels is the main point.  Discuss with them what you think the main point it and see if they agree.
  5. Assessment:  The teacher should take up all of the summaries and read them privately.  This will allow the teacher to see who understands how to summarize and who comprehends the story. 


Sample Checklist:
Length of Summary
Does the summary include the main topics?
Is the summary original and creative?



Rockwell, Anne. The Storm .Hyperion Books for Children, New York, 1994.


Blair, Jill. "So You Want to be President"


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