Steps to Being a Successful Summarizer

Reading to Learn Lesson Plan

by: Hannah Bailey


Rationale: The goal of reading is comprehension. One strategy that aids comprehension is summarization.  Teaching children how to summarize includes instruction on how to delete trivial details and redundancies, place items and events in order, and create a statement that contains the message the writer is trying to convey.  By providing children with instruction on how to construct summaries, they will be equipped with the knowledge of how to better interpret the meaning of the texts they read.




* Rules written on board:

           -Get rid of unnecessary information.

            -Pick out the most important information

-  Write a sentence that covers everything that is important information from the passage.

*  The Cherry Tree by M. L. Weems (Copy for each child)

*  Paper for each child

*  Pencil for each child



1.  I will begin the lesson by explaining to the students how important it is that we understand what we read. “Good readers are not only fluent when they read, but they also understand what they read. This is called comprehension (write the word on the board). When you comprehend something that means that you understand it. So, in order to understand what you read we are going to learn how to summarize, or write a summary. Summarizing helps us pick out the important parts of what you are reading.”


2.  Ask the students “Who can tell me what a summary is? A summary is a short description of something that you read. Writing summaries is a great way to help you remember what you have read.” 


3,  Book talk: “We are going to read a story about George Washington, who eventually became the first President of the United States. But, before he did all of that, he did something that got him into a little bit of trouble. In order to find out what he did we are going to read this article about George Washington. To help, I am going to do the first paragraph with you.  We are going to use our highlighters to mark down the important information, and our markers to mark out what is not so important.”


4.  “I am going to pass out a copy of the book to each of you and I would like you to read the first few pages silently to yourself. You must not read out loud or talk to your neighbors.


5. As you read the first couple of pages, I want you to write down the things that you think are the most important in the story. For example, you can include where and when the story is taking place, who the main characters are, what is the problem or problems in the story, etc. You must remember these three key points of summarization: 1) find the main point 2) delete any small details 3) combine all ideas that are repeated.”

As the students begin to read the chapter silently, I will put the butcher paper up on the board to draw a semantic map. When they finish reading I will explain the concept of semantic mapping and how it helps us to summarize. “We are now going to use this semantic map to sum up the chapter we just read. I am going to show you how to create a semantic map, so as I fill in this one, I would like you to fill in yours on your desk. In the big star in the middle, I will write The cherry tree Part 1. On each of the smaller stars that are connected to the big star, I will write an important fact.” Complete the semantic map on the board as a class, while students create the semantic map on their paper as well. This will be a good model for them to look back on when they create semantic map on their own for later summaries.


6.  Next I will explain to the students, “Now we are going to use the semantic map we created to summarize chapter one into a few sentences, or summary.” I’ll model how to use the important details in the map to create a brief summary made of a few sentences and tell the students to copy this on their own paper so they can use it as a model for writing summaries in the future. “When we summarize there are three important points to remember: 1) you want to find the main points 2) delete any small details, and 3) combine any repeated ideas.” I will remind students to focus on using the information they put in the stars when writing their summary. Have students contribute to this summary by volunteering what they think is important or saying what they think is not important (trivial information). I will make sure that all students are following along and they understand the steps of semantic mapping and summarizing.


7.  The students will read part two of The cherry tree silently. I will instruct them to create a semantic map on their own using the steps we just practiced together. I will explain that they must create both a semantic map and then compose a summary in paragraph form (three to five sentences long).



            Call the students one at a time to the teacher’s desk or table. Have them read their summary aloud to you and show you their finished semantic maps. This will allow you to assess their summary, but it will also provide an opportunity for you to assess their reading (if necessary) and also to allow them to opportunity to read.



Fleming,Nail. 123...A Summary!

Melton, Shealy. Summin It All Up.

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