Sum it Up!!

Reading To Learn Design

Haley Davis


Rationale: The goal of reading instruction is to provide children with the skills necessary for comprehension. Summarization is a key strategy that fluent readers use in order to understand a text.  In this lesson, students will learn how to summarize what they are reading and ultimately gain a better understanding of the text. They will delete unnecessary information and create a topic sentence by referring to a checklist. The students learn this by creating their own summaries while following these rules and creating their own concept maps.


 -Chalkboard and chalk

-Article for each student: Flying Horses—The Amazing Lipizzaners of Austria (

 -Article for each student: The Ayes-Ayes of Madagascar (

 -A concept map for each student that contains a box in the middle labeled “Subject” and below it a box labeled “Topic Sentence”. Then, there should be a bigger box labeled “Details”.

 -Highlighter and pencil for each student

1.Who can raise your hand and tell me why we learn to read? Good! You are exactly right, we read to gain information.  The reason that we learn to read is so that we can comprehend, or understand, the information given in whatever we are reading.  Today we are going to talk about summarizing, which is an important strategy to learn in order to be a mature reader. When we summarize, we decide which information in the story or writing is important for understanding. Today we are going to practice             summarizing by finding a text’s main idea and the details that support that idea.

    2.It is also very important for each of us to read SILENTLY so that we do not disturb our neighbors while they are trying to read. I want you to listen to two different ways that I read and you tell me which one would not disturb others.  (Model silent and out loud reading and ask students how they are different.)

    3. There are a few simple rules that are important for us to follow in order to summarize. (Have these written on board already). Read and explain each to the class.

­-Get rid of any unnecessary or repeated information.

-Find the most important items or events.

-Write a statement that sums up everything the writer wants you to know about that subject. You do this by reading the entire text and determining the most important main idea of the piece.

4.  Read Flying Horses—The Amazing Lipizzaners of Austria (from National Geographic for Kids) as a class. Now I am going to read this text and follow our three rules of summarizing to help me comprehend this text. First, I will try to get rid of any unimportant information. For example, it is not really important to know the color of the stallions at ten years old. Next, I will take out important events or items. For example, the horses with the most potential get separated from the rest of the herd and go to training. Then the horse’s muscles are strengthened and exercised. Then their abilities to leap and kick are refined. Then the horses are flown around the world to perform. Last, I will try to make a statement that covers everything I read. For this article, I might say that the main idea is: The Lipizzaner stallions train for years so that they can travel the world, dazzling people with their incredible “ballet” tricks.

 5. Give each student a copy of The Ayes-Ayes of Madagascar. Okay boys and girls, this is an article about animals from a country near Africa called Madagascar. Now, I want you to work with a new article and use our three rules to find the important information that should be highlighted. Remember the three rules are on the board for you to use as a guide. Remember to read SILENTLY so we do not disturb our neighbors.

 6. After this part has been completed, give each student a concept map to work with. Boys and girls, each one of you will receive a concept map to help you organize the information. You will need to write the subject and your original topic sentence in the middle. Then you will use what you have highlighted to write the details that support that topic sentence in the “arms” of the map. Model filling out a concept map with the first article you read as a class.

 7. Once students have completed their concept maps, have them work in pairs to write a summary paragraph of the article. They should use each of their concept maps to do this. Now I want you to work with your partner to write a summary paragraph about the article you read. Make sure to use the information on each of your concept maps to do this. Raise your hand if you have any questions or need some extra help.

 8. To assess students’ paragraphs, have a checklist with the three rules on it and check “yes” next to the rule if they followed it and “no” next to a rule if they did not.



Roberts, Kelly. Summin’ It All Up.

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