Short, Sweet, and to the Point
Reading to Learn Design
By: Christina Woods

 

Rationale
     In order for students to understand what they are reading, they need to have certain ways to organize all the information they are obtaining.  For a child to                 succeed in comprehension, they need to know how to summarize passages they have read.  This lesson will help students understand and apply the strategy of         summarizing as they highlight important facts while reading.

Materials
     1 printed copy of National Geographic article per student (see Nyquist link below for article), 1 copy of "Jupiter" passage for teacher (see step #2), highlighters,     black marker, lined paper, pencil, chalk, chalkboard, evaluation checklist (for assessment)

    Evaluation Checklist for Assessment (categories include but are not limited to):
        A)  Formulates a topic sentence    yes    no    yes, but not factual
        B)  Focus on main ideas/facts        yes    no
        C)  Eliminates unimportant details    yes    no
        D)  Other comments:

Procedure
      1.      Begin the lesson by introducing the concept of summarization.  DOES ANYONE     KNOW WHAT IT MEANS TO SUMMARIZE WHAT YOU             READ?  THAT'S RIGHT.  WHEN WE SUMMARIZE, WE CHOOSE THE MOST IMPORTANT FACTS IN THE PASSAGE WE ARE READING IN         ORDER TO FORM A MAIN IDEA ABOUT THE TEXT.  AT THE SAME TIME, WE ELIMINATE LESS IMPORTANT DETAILS THAT DO                     NOT HELP US UNDERSTAND THE MAIN IDEA.  IT IS IMPORTANT FOR US TO KNOW HOW TO SUMMARIZE WHAT WE READ                         BECAUSE IT HELPS US UNDERSTAND OR COMPREHEND BETTER.  
   
      2.      Now model how to summarize text.  TODAY WE ARE GOING TO BE READING SOME PASSAGES SILENTLY AND SUMMARIZING                 THEM AFTER WE READ.  DOES EVERYONE REMEMBER HOW TO READ SILENTLY?  GREAT!  WHEN WE READ SILENTLY, WE DO NOT         SAY THE WORDS ALOUD.  WE USE ONLY OUR EYES TO READ THE TEXT AND OUR MOUTHS SHOULD BE CLOSED AND QUIET.  WHEN     YOU SILENT READ, NO ONE SHOULD BE ABLE TO HEAR YOU OR KNOW THAT YOU ARE READING.  DOES ANYONE HAVE ANY                 QUESTIONS?  Allow time for students to ask questions.  NOW THAT WE REMEMBER HOW TO READ SILENTLY, I AM GOING TO SHOW YOU         HOW TO SUMMARIZE AFTER YOU READ.  AS I READ THIS PASSAGE ABOUT JUPITER, I WANT YOU ALL TO LISTEN FOR THINGS THAT     YOU THINK MIGHT BE IMPORTANT FACTS.  Read the passage about Jupiter aloud:  "Jupiter isn't just the largest planet in the solar system.  It also has the     most moons.  There are 61 that we know about—and there may be even more!"  DID ANYONE HEAR AN IMPORTANT FACT AS I READ?  Allow             students to name important facts and write them on the chalkboard.  Once all the facts have been identified, create a brief summary or topic sentence about                 Jupiter.  IN SUMMARIZING THIS PASSAGE, I AM GOING TO TAKE ALL THESE IMPORTANT FACTS AND COMBINE THEM INTO A                     SHORTER SENTENCE.  JUPITER, THE LARGEST PLANET IN THE SOLAR SYSTEM, HAS AT LEAST 61 MOONS, WHICH IS MORE THAN             ANY OTHER PLANET.  SEE HOW I ONLY USED THE FACTS TO CREATE A SUMMARY?  THIS IS WHAT WE ARE GOING TO BE DOING             TODAY.
    
     3.      Hand out the National Geographic article to each student.  EACH OF YOU HAS A COPY OF THE ARTICLE ABOUT SPACE AND                             CONSTELLATIONS.  I WANT YOU TO SILENTLY READ THE FIRST FOUR PARAGRAPHS ABOUT BIG BEAR AND LITTLE BEAR (THE                 CONSTELLATIONS WE HAVE BEEN STUDYING).  STOP READING WHEN YOU GET TO THE PARAGRAPH ABOUT GALILEO.  AS                     YOU READ, PAY ATTENTION TO ANY IMPORTANT FACTS THAT MIGHT HELP US SUMMARIZE THE ARTICLE LATER.  WHEN YOU             HAVE FINISHED READING, PUT YOUR HEAD DOWN.  WE HAVE JUST REVIEWED HOW TO  READ SILENTLY SO I WANT TO SEE                     EVERYONE DOING THIS.  ARE THERE ANY QUESTIONS?  OKAY, BEGIN READING.  Give ample time for the students to read the article and             assure that each child's head is down before proceeding with the lesson.  
      
    4.    NOW WE ARE GOING TO SUMMARIZE WHAT WE JUST READ.  WE ARE GOING TO FIND ALL THE MAIN POINTS OF THE TEXT             AND TAKE OUT ALL THE INFORMATION THAT WE DO NOT NEED SO THAT WE WILL HAVE A SHORTER VERSION OF THE                             PASSAGE.  Hand out 1 highlighter and one black marker to each student.  I WANT YOU TO RE-READ THE PASSAGE AND HIGHLIGHT ONLY THE         MAIN IDEAS AND IMPORTANT INFORMATION.  Discuss each of these facts with the students after they have finished highlighting.  WHAT FACTS DID     YOU HIGHLIGHT?  GOOD JOB.  THAT'S VERY IMPORTANT.  Allow time for several facts to be named.  Next have students mark through the                     unimportant information with a marker.  NOW I WANT YOU TO GO BACK AND MARK THROUGH ALL THE OTHER INFORMATION THAT IS             NOT AS IMPORTANT USING YOUR BLACK MARKER.  THIS IS THE INFORMATION THAT IS NOT USEFUL FOR OUR SUMMARY.
      
    5.     Once the students have highlighted all the important facts in the story and marked     through the unimportant facts, have the students write what is left on a         blank sheet of     paper.  NOW I WANT YOU TO RE-WRITE THE IDEAS IN SENTENCES THAT ARE HIGHLIGHTED ONTO A BLANK SHEET             OF PAPER.  COMBINE THE HIGHLIGHTED FACTS TO FORM A SUMMARY OF THE PASSAGE.  MAKE SURE TO LEAVE OUT ALL THE             SENTENCES THAT YOU MARKED THROUGH WITH THE BLACK MARKER.  WHEN YOU ARE FINISHED WITH THE SUMMARY, YOU             MAY PUT YOUR PENCIL DOWN AND READ OTHER PARTS OF THE ARTICLE THAT INTEREST YOU.  When everyone has completed their                summary, allow a few students to read their summaries to the class.  LISTEN CAREFULLY AS THESE STUDENTS READ THEIR SUMMARIES TO             FIND OUT IF THEY MARKED OUT THE SAME INFORMATION THAT YOU DID.  Each of  the students' summaries should sound similar.

Assessment    
    Instruct the children to read the two paragraphs in the National Geographic article discussing Galileo.  After they read, the students will individually create a                 summary of the passage and write it on a blank sheet of paper.  This will be turned in to the teacher for assessment using the evaluation checklist.

References
 Kanute, Jenn.  "Keep it Short."  http://www.auburn.edu/rdggenie/elucid/kanuterl.html

Pressley, M., Johnson, C.J., Symons, S., McGoldrick, J.A., &Kurity, J.A.  (1989).  Strategies that improve children's memory and comprehension of text.  The Elementary School Journal, 90, 3-32.    

Nyquist, Kate Boehm.  (2002).  Exploring Space.  http://www.nationalgeographic.com/education/readingexpeds/WE41264.html


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