Summarizing Rocks!

Mary Jo Blackmon

Rationale: It is very important for students to be able to not only be fluent readers, but also understand what they are reading. The first step is for students to learn how to read silently to themselves. Once they have learned how to do this, they need to focus on making sure that they can comprehend the information that they are reading. In order to do this, they should summarize the information after they read the material. This lesson will focus on helping students to summarize what they read by teaching them how to create their own summarization map.


-Copy of Science: Earth Science for each student

-Pens for each child

-Paper for each child

-Rulers for each child

-One dry erase marker

-One white board


1. "Today we will be going over how to summarize information. Can anyone tell me what it means to summarize? Good, it means to give the main ideas of a piece of literature. Does anyone remember any rules that we went over to help us when we are trying to summarize information? Very good! They are: delete unimportant information, delete repeated information, substitute easy terms for lists of items, add a series of events with an easy action term, select a topic sentence, and invent a topic sentence if there is none. We are going to be practicing our summarization skills as well as learning about the different types of rocks."

2. "I would like everyone to begin by turning to page 196 in their Science text book. In this passage, the authors talk about the three types of rocks in the whole world! In order to find out how these rocks are different, you will have to read! I would like for everyone to read silently to yourself until you get to the end of page 198. What are a few things that we are going to remember about reading silently? Yes, you need to use your finger to follow along the words that you are reading and you also need to not speak out loud, but read to yourself in your head. Please begin reading now."

3. "Now that we have read the pages in your science book on the different types of rocks, we will make a summary map that is going to summarize the information that you just read. What we will do first to make our map is to think about the main idea that was covered in those 3 pages of literature. Can someone tell me what the main idea of the passage is? Yes, the main idea of this passage is to tell us about the 3 types of rocks. Now you will take out your sheet of paper and make a big circle in the center of it. I want you to now write our main idea in the circle you just drew. This is going to be the center of our map."

4. "After you have completed the center of our map, you will think of other important information that was in the story. You need to make sure to delete the information that doesn't add to the main purpose of the article. You will now use your ruler to draw straight lines out from the middle of the circle and then you will add more circles at the end of each line that you drew coming out of the main circle. You will now fill the other circles with important information from the passage. For example, you could write 'Igneous rocks form when melted rock cools and hardens.' That would be an example of information that described the 3 types of rocks."

5. "I would like for everyone to complete the summarization map that we just began together as a class, make sure you put a title at the top of your map. The title should portray the main idea of the passage."

6. "Now that everyone has completed their map, I would like to get a few volunteers to draw their map on my white board to show the class what they came up with." Students will then show what points they came up with and I'll explain that everyone had different points, but they all related to the main idea so they got it right.

7. "I think you all have done a great job in learning how to summarize using a summarization map! Please pass your maps forward and I will be collecting them." I will use the maps that I take up as an assessment to see if the students understand summarization or if they need more help. I will check to make sure the students have the following in their map to show me that they understand: a middle bubble that has the main idea, at least 3 more bubbles coming off of that one that includes important information to the main topic, and a title that summarizes the passage.


Bell, Michael and Marjorie Frank. Science: Earth Science- Units C and D. Harcourt School Publishers. 2006. Pg. 196- 198.

Gullion, Mark. "What Am I Reading?"

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