Super Summarizers

Reading To Learn

Ally Johnson



            When going through school, students become better readers and gain more and more useful strategies.  The main reason for reading is for comprehension.  One strategy tat will help accomplish comprehension is summarization.  Comprehension is easier when students can remember and communicate the main points from what they just read.  Practicing picking out the most important information and deleting the unnecessary information makes comprehension effortless.  During this lesson, students will use summarization strategies to help them find and write the most important ideas from an article.



• Copy of the article for each student (see reference)

• Pencil for each child

• Highlighter for each student

• Paper for each student

• Assessment checklist for each child (below)

• Article for the teacher to put on the overhead or document camera

• Overhead projector

• Overhead marker



• "Does anyone remember what we talked about last time? Fluency, right! And what is fluency? Right, reading smoothly, quickly with expression.  Today we are working with a new concept, but we still need to be fluent readers when working with the concept."


• "Has anyone every heard of summarization? Does anyone know what this means? Yes, summarization is summing up or putting together all the important information from an article, text, or passage. We summarize things to make it easier to understand and to delete information that is not helpful."


• "There are three really important parts for us to do when we summarize.  First, we delete or take out all the unimportant information. We do this so we will not just be copying the entire passage, article, or text.  We just want the important information.  Second, we make sure and reread the details we think are important and make sure we didn't leave out anything important.  Last, we put it together and compose a statement that covers everything the author is saying about the article, passage, or text.  Let's see if everyone remembers.  What is the first step? Second step? Third? Great!"


• "Class we are about to become summarizers.  To become great summarizers, you have to practice and follow the three steps we talked about.  Today we are reading about giant jellyfish that are appearing everywhere and making fishing hard for fishermen.  These jellyfish can be as large as a male lion.  How do you think they are messing up fishing so much for fisherman?  We will have to read to find out.  Lets read our article together out loud."


• Once the article has been read aloud by the class I will reread the first paragraph and show them how to summarize it.  "I want everyone to watch and see how I chose the most important parts of the passage.  Listen for how I see if the information is important or not:

- Are aliens attacking the Sea of Japan? Not exactly. But these gigantic blobs are unwelcome visitors from another place. Called Nomura's jellyfish, the wiggly, pinkish giants can weigh up to 450 pounds (204 kilograms)--as heavy as a male lion--and they're swarming by the millions.


"The first two sentences are just a trigger sentence getting the reader interested in the article.  The thing I think that is important from these sentences are the location of the event going on so I am going to highlight sea of Japan and cross the rest out with my overhead marker, you will cross it out with your pencil.  The next sentence has a little bit of important information.  We need to know they are gigantic and unwelcome, so I am going to highlight that.  Most of the time if something is unwelcome, it is from another place, so that is not so important and I am going to cross that out.  We do not need to know they are blobs so we can cross out the rest of the sentence leaving us with gigantic and unwelcome.  The last sentence also has some important information.  We need to know what he jellyfish are called, so we are going to highlight Nomura's jellyfish.  It is not that important they are wiggly and pinkish so I will cross that out.  We already said they were giants so cross that out too.  Because they are giant, we don't need to know how big they are or what they are as heavy are, cross that out.  Do you think "they are swarming by the millions" is important?  I think so.  It is just not one jellyfish, it is millions, so I am going to highlight that too."


• "So I am left with gigantic, unwelcome, Nomura's jellyfish, and they're swarming by the millions.  Does everyone think that this information is important?  Now what do we do next?  Right, we need to sum it up in a topic sentence.  Gigantic, unwelcome Nomura jellyfish are swarming by the millions in the Sea of Japan. Does this sound like a good topic sentence?  Did I cover everything important?  Lets write that down on our paper."


• "Now I want you to practice summarizing the rest of the article on your own.  The three steps are on the board if you get stuck and need help."  The class will work individually on reading the article, finding important information, and delete the other information.  When they think they have all the important information they will write topic sentences and their summaries. 


• When most of the class has completed the assignment, I will begin calling students one at a time to my desk to read their summary to me.  I will go through the assessment checklist while the student is reading their summary.  When they are finished, I will go over what went well or what did not go so well with the student.



Musgrave, Ruth. "Giant Jellyfish Invasion." National Geographic Kids. National Geographic Society. n.d. Web. 11 April 2011.


Mathews, Pearson. Hurry! Let's Summarize!


Assessment Checklist:

Students Name: _______________________________________       Date: ___________________

Yes     No     

_____   _____   Picked out the most important information

_____   _____   Deleted unnecessary information

_____   _____   Understood the information from the text/article/passage

_____   _____   Wrote a sentence(s) summarizing the most important parts of text



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