Storm to Summarization

Mary Kathryn Johnston

Reading to Learn Lesson Design

Rationale:  An essential part of students learning is comprehension.  Students can use many strategies to comprehend a text as long as it is a strategy that helps a student remember what they read.  The most important strategy is summarizing the main idea to remember and understand the text.  This strategy must be taught early on in reading so that students can remember the text they read. To effectively summarize a text, students must follow several rules:  identify main information, delete trivial and redundant information, and relate main and supporting ideas.  This lesson is designed to help students to identify and remember the main idea in text.

 Materials:  How to Eat Fried Worms by Thomas Rockwell, paper and pencil, and whiteboard, summarization checklist.


1 Begin by introducing reading. "We have spent time on memorizing words, sounding out words, crosschecking, and fluency.  Today we will begin putting all this information together and learning to memorize and understand the stories.  Understanding the story is important and it allows us to relate it to our own lives.  We are going to practice summarizing.  When you summarize text you pick out the most important information that the story is telling you.  Books are filled with words but when you summarize you delete information that does not really matter.  Only the main idea helps us understand what happens in the story and today we are going to figure out how to find this information.  We are going to practice reading silently.  Do we remember how to read silently? Correct, we stay at our seats without talking and interrupting others. Watch me read silently." Teacher pulls out a book and sits and reads silently for a few seconds to set an example.  "That is how we read silently, now I want you to pull out a reading book and show me that you all can read silently." They read until the teacher tells them to stop.


2 Teacher further explains how to find the main idea.  "Great job silent reading! It is important when you read to remember the details of the 5 W’s-who, what, when, where, and why.  These questions help you to figure out the main idea and remember the important details.  The author gives you a lot of information but using the 5 W’s you can piece together the information given and summarize what the main idea of the text is.  Main ideas are in every text you read.  There are supporting details that go along with the main ideas to help you better understand what you are reading.  When you are reading try to find a few supporting details that relate to the main idea. We are going to find the main idea and supporting details in the book How to Eat Fried Worms. When you are reading I want you to write down the main details that you found.  Remember the 5 W’s who, what, when, where, and why."


3 The teacher gives a book talk on the book.  "Billy Forester is dared by his friends.  Billy never turns down a dare and is always up for a challenge.  His friends, Alan and Joe bet Billy fifty dollars he can’t eat 15 worms in 15 days.  Billy makes it through his first three worms.  When Alan and Joe realize that he enjoys eating the worms they try and do anything they can to make him loose the bet.  Do you want to find out if Billy eats all 15 of the worms despite all the tricks Alan and Joe use to try and stop Billy.  You have to read How to Eat Fried Worms to find out." 


4 The teacher divides the class into groups and gives each student a copy of the book.  "The group you are in will be your literature group for this book.  Your group will be there to read with you and discuss and answer any questions you may have.  Now I am going to show you a model of how you can record the main idea and supporting details." The teacher draws a giant worm on the board.  "On the head of the worm is where we write our main idea sentence.  Each chapter has a new worm and you use the worm to write details around so that you can answer the questions you will have at the end of each chapter you read.  As you read remember the 5 W’s and write those details around the worm.  We are going to read chapter one together and fill in the first worm.  I will need your help filling in the main ideas so remember as much as you can and take notes if you need to."  The teacher reads the first chapter aloud as the class follows along.  "Who knows what the important aspects of the first chapter are? That is great, I am going to write the characters.  There is Billy, the main character, and Alan and Joe who are Billy’s friends.   I want you to finish with your group the main idea and supporting detail of this chapter."  After  the students finish give them two questions to test their comprehension of the first chapter they should be related to the main idea and supporting detail.  (5 W’s) "What did Alan, Billy, and Joe get into trouble for doing? Where would Alan get the money if he lost his bet? Very good I want you to read chapter two for next Tuesday and remember to write down details if you think you might forget. 


5 The next time they meet to discuss the book their groups get together and talk about the chapter, fill in the worm with important ideas, and answer comprehension questions. The teacher should walk around and assist as needed and always remind them to remember the 5 W’s. 


6 Assessment will be graded after the book is finished.  The students will turn the books in along with all the worm summarization guides for each chapter.  These will be graded to see if the students used the summarization strategy.  The teacher meets with each group that needs help and extra assistance.  The checklist for each worm chart is as followed: Does the group have one main idea sentence for each chapter that portrays what happens? Does the group have a minimum of three supporting details? Do the supporting details support the group’s main idea? The teacher then meets with each group and has the students retell the story based on their diagrams and ideas.  The will compose each chart into miniature chapters based on their main ideas and supporting details including illustrations for each chapter. 


Rockwell, Thomas. How to Eat Fried Worms. Random House Children’s Books; NY, 1973.

Adams, Marilyn Jager. Beginning to Read: Thinking and Learning about Print.

The Reading Genie Website: Rdggenie 

The Map of Summarization Reading to Learn  by Larkin Ade.