Reading to Learn Design: Soaring Through Summarization
Ellie Austin



Rationale: Without the ability to comprehend what one reads, reading is useless. This is why summarization is one of the most important strategies for teaching comprehension. This lesson has been designed to introduce summarization to the students through whole class and individual practice.

Materials: Chalkboard, chalk, copies for the whole class of Catwings by Ursula K. Le Guin (Refer to references), paper, and pencil.

Procedures:
1. First, review silent reading with the class. "Today, we are going to start with going back over silent reading. Who remembers what this is? Right silent reading is when we read with our eyes and not a loud. Why do we read silently? Good, we do this because it helps us to understand what we are reading. There are also other things we can do to help us understand or comprehend what we are reading. One way is by summarizing our text. A summary includes information about the main characters and/or the main ideas from the passage.
2. "There are three rules to use with picking out the main ideas."
    a. Delete trivia and repeated information
    b. Rank items and events
    c. Find or write a statement that covers everything that the passage is about.
3. Introduce the book. I would use a book with short chapters like Catwings. First, model for the class. Read the first chapter out loud and model summarizing the passage for the whole class on the board. "First I will make a web of important words or phrases from the chapter. For example, some important words would be: Mrs. Jane Tabby, four children with wings, and Mrs. Jane Tabby's dream of her children flying away from the dangerous neighborhood. Next, I will organize them and put them in order. When I am done I will write a sentence that explains the meaning or point of the whole chapter.
4. Once you have explained the steps and the use of the web, read chapter 2 with the class and let the students help you make a web. "Okay class, who remembers a key word or phrase from chapter 2?" Organize the words with the class. "Now, lets all write on our papers a summary sentence for chapter 2". Go around the class and read some of the sentences to make sure the students are following you. Have some students read their sentence to the class. Discuss here that the topic sentence does not have to be exactly the same for everyone as long as it captures the main idea of the passage.
5. "Now I want you all to read chapter 3 on your own and make a web, then organize your thoughts, and write a topic sentence." Go around the class and make sure the students are on task and answer questions when necessary.
6. When all the students are done go over the chapter.
7. Assessment: Take up their summaries of chapter 3 to make sure the students understand how to summarize a passage. Have a checklist prepared to help you know what to look for and to know what areas the student still needs help with.

Reference:
Dean, Lindsay. Summarization Mapping.
     http://www.auburn.edu/rdggenie/elucid/deanrl.html

Pressley, Michael, et al. (1989). "Strategies that Improve Children's Memory and
     Comprehension of Text." The Elementary Journal. Volume 90, Number 1. University
     of Chicago: Chicago, Illinois. Pages 90, 3-32.

Murray, Dr. Bruce. CTRD 3710 Class notes. November 17, 2002.

Le Guin, Ursula K. Catwings. Scholastic Inc.: Apple Paperbacks, 1988.

Return to Inroads