Karissa Lang                                                                                                                                       Reading to Learning

Outlines are Fun and Easy

Rationale:  An important goal for all students to achieve is summarization.  By this stage of reading, students will be able to read familiar words and decode words at their reading level.  This activity involves summarizing articles through the use of an outline in order to improve reading comprehension.  A basic outline format will be used by everyone.

Materials:  A short informational article from the HBJ Science Book and an outline for each student provided by the teacher.

1. Today we are going to learn how to summarize a short article about radar using something called an outline.
2. How many of you know what it means to summarize an article or story?  Have any of you have ever used or heard of an outline?  Today, we are going to read a story and make an outline in order to help us better understand or comprehend the main ideas.  Everyone pull out your HBJ Science Book and turn to page 195 where we are going to read Forecasting Thunderstorms and Tornadoes.  I want everyone to read the article silently to themselves.    Remember, by reading to ourselves, this helps us better concentrate and comprehend what we are reading.  Then, while everyone is finishing, I want you to write down some important things about the article on a piece of notebook paper.
3. Now that everyone has finished, I am going to hand out an outline.  This outline can be used as a template for summarizing other types of articles.

Example of the outline provided for each of the students:

                                                   I.  Main Topic
                                                       A. Sub-topic I
                                                            1. Fact
                                                            2. Fact
                                                       B. Sub-topic II
                                                            1. Fact
                                                            2. Fact
                                                       C. Sub-topic III
                                                            1. Fact
                                                            2. Fact
At the top of the page is Roman numeral one for the main topic.  The main topic is the main thing the article is about.  For example, look at the paragraph on the board about clouds.

 Clouds come in all shapes and sizes.  You can often forecast rain by just observing the kinds of clouds in  the sky.  Clouds can also be used to make rain.  Clouds that look like curls of white hair or feathers are cirrus clouds.   Cirrus means curl.  These clouds form high in the sky.  They often appear a few days before rain or snow.  Clouds that look like lumps of cotton piled high are cumulus clouds.  Cumulus means heap or pile.  These are usually fair-weather clouds.  Layers of clouds that cover the sky with gray are stratus clouds.  Stratus means spread out.  These clouds spread out across the sky and hide the sun.

Listen as I read the paragraph and then complete the outline format on your sheets.  The main topic would be clouds.  An example of one of the sub-topics would be cirrus clouds.  An example of a fact about cirrus clouds would that they look like curls of white hair or feathers in the sky.
4. When everyone gets finished reading and completing their outline, get into groups of four and compare and discuss your outlines.
5. Now that everyone has discussed their outlines in groups, clear away everything on your desk.  I am passing out a handout that has an article at the top of the page with an outline underneath it.  After reading, complete the outline and then answer the questions below it.  Turn your sheets into me when finished so I can check to see if you comprehended the material read.
6. Review:  Outlines are a good way of summarizing an article in order to help improve your reading comprehension.

Reference:  Harcourt Brace Jovanovich.(1989). Science Nova Edition. Grade 4.
Pressley & Ed. “Strategies That Improve Children’s Memory and Comprehension of  Text”. 1989.

Return to Insights index at http://www.auburn.edu/rdggenie/insights.html