Science in Summarization!!!


Reading to Learn

Kendra White

Rationale: Comprehension is important because it allows students to learn as they read because they can recall information and remember it after reading.  One helpful comprehension strategy is summarization.  Summarization involves five steps that help students trace and remember important information in a text.  The five steps are delete unimportant information, delete repeated information, substitute easy terms for lists of items, substitute a series of events with one easy action term, and select/invent a topic sentence.  The goal in this lesson is that students will learn how to use these five steps to summarize the text as they read.  After the students learn how to summarize by using these five steps, they will be able to summarize anything that they read. 


1.  Marker board
2.  Markers
3.  1 highlighter for teacher and each student
4.  Paper
5.  Pencil
6.  Checklist listed below
7.  Eight is Enough article on a transparency for an overhead projector and copies for the class.
8.  Overhead projector

9. Class set of the article Solar System Exploration: Dwarf Planets



1.  Begin by asking, "Can anyone tell me what it means to read silently?"  Allow several students to answer. That is a great answer!  It means that we read the words with our eyes, but we do not say anything with our mouth.  Then model the difference by first reading the text out loud, and then reading the text silently emphasizing the eye movement so students know you are reading silently and include silent gestures of expression, such as an open mouth when something is surprising.” Does anyone know why it is important for us to read silently?   It helps us to remember what we read.  Today, we are going to read silently, and then, we are going to learn how to summarize what we read.”

2.  “What does it mean to summarize what you read?”  Allow several students to respond.  “Right!  It means to give a shorter version of a story, only including the main points.  When we summarize, we will follow five basic steps.”  Write the steps on the board for the students to refer back to.  “The five basic steps we use to summarize are delete unimportant information, delete repeated information, substitute easy terms for lists of items, substitute a series of events with o$ne easy action term, and select/invent a topic sentence. “

3. “Now I am going to pass out a copy of a passage about Pluto.  This passage talks about why Pluto is not a considered a planet. Do you know why? You will have to read to find out? When you are finished reading, turn your paper over, so I will know when everyone is finished reading.”

4.  “I am going to show you how to summarize this passage by using the five steps. “ Put the passage up on the overhead. Highlight the most important parts as you read the paragraph about Pluto being a planet aloud.  Let the students know why you are highlighting certain information, such as I highlight the parts I want to remember.  They are important or interesting. Tell the students your thinking process as you model for them.  “First I am going to highlight Pluto is no longer a planet. I am going to highlight rules because that is how scientist classify a planet.  Next, I am going to highlight orbits and round and cannot cross paths and Neptune because these are the rules of planets.  Dwarf planet is also important because that what Pluto is classified as.” An example of a summary for the first section is:  Pluto is no longer a planet because of rules. The rules are they must orbit, be round, and cannot cross paths. Now it is called a dwarf planet.

5.  Give all of the students a highlighter and pass out the article Solar System Exploration: dwarf planets.  “Now, I am going to let you practice summarizing.  Read the paragraph about dwarf planets.  When you are finished, write your summary on a piece of paper.  Make sure you follow all five steps.”  Walk around the room and assist students who are struggling.   When the students are finished, discuss the summaries that everyone came up with, and how they used the five steps.  An example of a summary is:  A planet is light among the stars. Pluto, Eris, and Ceres are dwarf planets that lack gravitational muscles to scatter objects in orbit. These planets orbit the sun in zones. Allow students time to revise their papers and take them up.


The students will read the article Solar System Exploration: dwarf planets and summarize it. We will discuss a few of the summaries then I will allow them a few minutes to revise their papers. I will then take them up and assess them with the checklist.

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The Eight is Enough article (found at:,28391,1424116,00.html

Solar System Exploration: Dwarf Planets:

 McKissack, Brittney. Summing It Up:

Rockwell, Leah. Summing It All Up:


Sample Checklist:

1.  Removed unimportant/ repeated information

Yes O  No O

2.  Topic sentence given                      

Yes O  No O

3.  Only used main points                    

Yes O  No O

 4.  Created easy terms to classify items     

Yes O  No O