Sum It Up



Reading to learn-Lesson design

By: Alex Howard



Rationale: For students to become a skillful effective reader they must gain the skills to comprehend what they read. For a beginning reader they must first practice summarization skills to be able to comprehend main ideas in their readings, because through summarization you will learn to better comprehend what you read. The teacher should review comprehension to build background knowledge for students who need extra help.  The following lesson was designed to help students be able to summarize passages by picking out important information, deleting redundant information, and identify the main idea and organize your points into a summary.



*Class set of Twister, and Space Quest - National Geographic Articles for Kids

*Class set of highlighters, pencils, and paper

*Teacher will need a projector and translation paper with an article on it so he/she can demonstrate how to summarize.  Teacher also needs dry erase markers for translation.

*Poster pointing out the 3 important summarizing steps: 1. Pick out and highlight important details 2. Mark out the unimportant details 3. Identify main ideas and summarize the important parts.




Checklist for summarizing:


                  Did the student


Highlight important information


Mark out the repeated and unneeded information


Summarized to form a few sentences that had a main idea



Procedures: 1. Say: “Today we are going to learn a new way that is going to make us more effective readers.  We are going to be learning about summarization.  Can someone raise their hand and tell me what that means?  Good job, that’s right.  It is when you shorten the main ideas from the text into a smaller version.”


2. Say: “Now we are going to go over the steps of summarization. (List all three steps, then teacher should pass out a highlighter, pencil, and article to every student.  Then, the teacher will use the article on the projector to model for students how these steps are followed through.) First, pick out important detail in the text; you can do this by highlighting.(Teacher will model how to highlight and pick out important details.) Second, find the detail that is repeated and you can cross it out with a pencil.(Teacher should model how to cross out and find useless information.) Third, organize your important facts that you have left over from your reading. (Teacher should model how to organize your facts into a summary form on the projector.) Now we are going to work on doing this one more time together.”


3. Say: “You read the second paragraph silently and try to mark out unimportant information and highlight the important information.” (When students are done, teacher reads, 2nd paragraph) “Normally, Wurman does the chasing. He's a meteorologist. He studies severe weather. That's why he was out on this stormy night in Arkansas. This time, though, the storm chased him. Sparks flew from power lines. A tree branch crashed onto the road. Wurman's truck swerved to miss it.” First, we want to share important details, I think the word meteorologist is important. We should look up that word and figure out what it means. (Highlight this on projector)  Second, we want to take our unimportant words, "yes, right, sparks flew from power lines is not very important." (Mark this out on the projector) Last, we want to summarize all the sentences we have left and make them into a sentence or two. Wurman was a meteorologist who chased storms. Good job!”


4. Keep summarizing more paragraphs by following step 3 until the class fully understand the concept of summarizing and can do it on their own.  Once you think they can do it effectively and have completed the first article, let them try an article by themselves. On this article they should summarize the whole text.  Make sure they are using their summarizing rules to highlight and cross out while reading.  The article is called Space Quest (National Geographic) This boy had been waiting for this moment for years, he was lying inside the space shuttle Columbia and was waiting for it to take off.  Six seconds before lift off the engines were roaring and rumbling loudly.  Columbia finally blasted off into the sky and this could have been the best day of his life.  Until eight minutes later everything went silent.  There were no more sounds of engines roaring.  Let’s read more to find out what happens to the space shuttle.


5. I will be reviewing the article with the class and asking comprehension questions to see if they have read and understood.  1. “What happened to the space shuttle?  2. Does sunset happen much faster in space? 3. What do star colors tell you?”


6. Assessment: You should read the students summaries on the Space Quest article for accuracy. You should use the checklist to see where student’s progress is with their understanding of summarization.  Also the teacher will evaluate the comprehension of the article by the questions.



*Crenshaw, Beth.  Sum it up, Sum it up, keep those main ideas up.

*Smalley, Alli.  Summarizing Summary!

*Beginning Reading, written by Marilyn Jager Adams (1990) published by The Reading Research and Education Center.



*”Space Quest”

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