Super Space Summarization

By: Beth Gamble

Comprehension is an important part of the reading process for children. One great way for students to develop comprehension is through summarization. Summarization is important because children need to be able to know what is important in the text that they are reading. There are certain strategies that can help students grasp the important parts of what they are reading.





-A bookmark for each student with the 5 summarization steps on it
      Summarization steps:
      1.  Pick out important details that are necessary to the story.
      2.  Pick out the less important or repeated ideas from the passage and eliminate them.
      3. Highlight the important and necessary details using key words.
      4. Pick a topic sentence
      5. Invent a topic sentence if there is none.

 -Copy of Space Rock Makes a Crash Landing, National Geographic Kids News    
         for each student.


First ask the students if they remember what comprehension is.  Wait for their responses and then review each of their responses.  "Good job!  When we comprehend, we are understanding what we are reading and then remembering what we read when we are finished.  What we are going to do today is learn some steps that will help us comprehend what we read.  This new technique I am going to talk about is summarization.  When we are summarizing we read through the story and pick out the most important details and we forget about the stuff that doesn’t go along with the main points of the idea."

Explain summarization.  "Our new tool has 5 easy steps to remember."  Then write them on the board so that the students can see them.  "The first step is to pick out important details that we think are necessary to the storyNumber two says to pick out the less important ideas or ideas that are repeated and take them away.  Number three says to highlight the important and necessary details using key words.  Next, we pick a topic sentence.  Our last step is to invent a topic sentence if we don’t have one.  I’m going to pass out bookmarks to each of you that have these steps on them so you won’t forget our 5 steps of summarization.  You can use these whenever you need a little help."

"Alright, now that we are familiar with comprehension and summarization, we are going to read a passage from an article and put our steps into action.  Read the first paragraph SILENTLY to yourselves. This means we will read what is in the passage without saying the words out loud, this allows each person to be able to concentrate on what they are reading.  While you are reading, make sure that you are getting enough information to summarize the paragraph.  When summarizing, remember how important it is to make sure that you are trying to figure out the important details from the ones that might not be so important.  Raise your hand when you are done so we’ll know when to move on."

After the class is finished reading, summarize the first paragraph with the whole class making sure they understand the steps of summarization.  While doing this as a class, make sure to model the five steps.  "After reading through the first paragraph, these  are the main points that I came up with." (Explain each answer in detail and explain why these points are the most important). Write the following on the board:  1.  A grapefruit size meteorite crashed through a roof.  2.  The house was in New Zealand.  "Did anybody get anything different than I did?"  If someone did, write that on the board as well.  "As I keep reading, I’m going to use all of our steps.  I just did our first step and picked out what I thought were the important details.  My next step is to pick out the less important points from the paragraph.  I think the these would be:  1.  The meteorite slammed into a couch.  2.  Hit the ceiling.  3.  It rolled under a table."  Write these on the board.  "Did anyone get something different?"  If they did, write it on the board.  "What is my next step?"  Wait for student to suggest:  highlight some keywords.  "Great job!  You’re right.  I thought that the keywords were grapefruit sized, meteorite, roof, and New Zealand.  Did anybody get another word?"  If they did, write it on the board.  "What do I need to do now?"  Wait for student response.  "Right!  I need to write a topic sentence.  The topic sentence I came up with is:"  Write this sentence on the board:  "A grapefruit sized meteorite crashed through the roof of a house in New Zealand.  Did somebody get something else?"  If they did, write it on the board and discuss why they chose that.  "Good!  Since we just came up with our topic sentence, we don’t need to do step 5 since that step is to invent a topic sentence."  Make sure that all of this is written on the board so that they will be able to use it when they are reading the rest of the article by themselves.

"Does everybody feel comfortable with summarizing now?  Great!  Now that you are all pros, I want you to read the rest of the article silently and summarize it using our steps.  If you need any help you can look on the board or at your bookmarks that each of you have."  

6. When they have finished reading silently, they will summarize the article on their own.  "Now that you are all finished reading, take out your piece of paper and pencil and summarize the article.  Make sure that you remember to list the important details of the article.  Separate the important details from the less important ones.  Then, make sure you list your keywords and then using your keywords and your main points, form your topic sentence.  If you have any questions, please raise your hand and I’ll come and help you!"

: I will take up the student’s summarizations to see how well they understood the concept.  I will use the bookmarks as my own checklist to make sure that they used all of the steps of summarization correctly.  The entire time they are working on them though, I will walk around to make sure that they are following the steps written on the board and on their bookmarks



“Space Rock Makes a Crash Landing.”  Staff.  National Geographics Kids Magazine.  18 April 2005.
Melton, Shealy. Summin It All Up
Vest, Amy.  What’s the Main Idea??

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