That’s the Sum of It

Andrew Brown

Reading to Learn Lesson Design


 Reading is all about comprehension, but this takes a lot of practice.  For the beginning reader to be able to comprehend the meaning of a passage, it is important for them to learn summarization skills used to identify and recall the main ideas in the passage.  The process of being able to recall and identify the main ideas of a passage is called summarization.  This lesson will teach students summarization skills and allow them to practice their new skills by summarizing the passage provided. 


One summarization tips laminated card for each student

1.  Pick out a topic sentence from the passage

2.  Pick out important facts from the passage

3.  Remove information that is not very useful, or that does not back up the topic sentences

4.  Pick out repeated ideas and delete them

Copy of National Geographic Kids articles for each student.

            The Original 7 Wonders of the World

            Cow Power

Notebook Paper




1.   Start with a discussion about the meaning of the word comprehension.  Being able to comprehend while reading means that we are able to understand what we read and remember the important parts after we have finished reading.  We are going to learn a strategy that will help us comprehend what we read.  This strategy is called summarization.   Being able to summarize will help us remember the most important parts of what we read. 

2.  Go over summarization steps. In summarization, we first find the topic of what we read.  The topic is the key point of what the entire passage is going to be about.  Secondly, we pick out the important facts.  We will use highlighters to mark the most important parts of what we read that relate to the topic sentence.  Next, we look for information that is not important to the main idea of what we read and mark it out.  We will use the pencils to draw a line through these ideas.  Last of all, we mark out any ideas that are repeated already.  After we do all of this, come up with a sentence that sums up all the important parts of what we just read.

3.  Pass out the article The Original 7 Wonders of the World.  Have each student read through the article then model how to summarize for them.  First, I will read a little bit to decide what I think the article is going to be about.  Now that I have an idea of what it is trying to tell me, I will highlight any important parts that I come across.  Whenever I come to a part I think is not very important, I’ll just mark it out with my pencil.  Oh look, I’ve already heard that information earlier in the reading.  Got to mark out the repeated information too!

4.  Now that you have seen how to summarize, you all get to summarize too!  Pass out the copies of Cow Power to each student.  Give a booktalk:  On a farm, the animals can get kind of stinky.  There are some new ways though that stink from the animals can help people.  To find out how, you’ll have to read the article.  The students will then read the article and practice summarizing.  Walk around the room to make sure they stay on track.

5.  When student finish summarizing the article, they will get into groups of three and discuss what they thought was important and unimportant in the article. 


The students will pass in the articles they summarized.  I will assess their ability to summarize by seeing what was deemed important, and what they thought was unimportant in the articles.


National Geographic Kids

The Original 7 Wonders of the World

Cow Power

Hood, Lara Lee.  Lesson Design


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