Summing It Up!


Reading to Learn


Kerry Adkins


Rationale: As students progress through school they become better readers and gain many useful strategies. The strategy we will be working on now will help children derive meaning and understanding from the texts they read. This strategy is called summarization and it helps students to comprehend the meaning within the text and organize it in an informative way. Teaching students to summarize will show them how to find out which information is the most important in any text. This lesson will teach students to extract important information from texts and summarize that information in their own words.    



Class set of Giant Jellyfish Invasion articles from National Geographic (see reference list for web address)

Slow Down for Calvin the Right Whale! article from National Geographic (see reference list for web address)

White Board





Assessment Checklist for each child


Summarization Assessment Checklist

Did the student:



Read the article?



Pick out the most important information from the article?



Delete unnecessary information?



Understand the information from the article?



Write a sentence(s) summarizing the most important parts of the article read?






1. "Hello everyone! Does everyone remember what we worked on last week? Fluency! We read and reread passages to become quick expressive readers. As we learn something new today remember to read and reread so you will get the full effect of the text. Has anyone ever heard of the word summarization? Excellent, can you explain it to me? That is right; summarization is summing up all of the important information from a text, article, or passage so we can understand it and deleting everything else that is not needed." "Can anyone tell me why summarizing could be important or if they have done it before?" Those are all great answers! Let's all jump into the world of summarization."


2. "There are three main steps for summarizing and I have them written here on the board. First, after reading the story, pick out all of the important ideas. Second, reread all of the important details you have chosen and delete all of the information you do not need. Last, combine all of the important ideas you have chosen to make a topic or summative sentence(s)."  "Can anyone tell me all three of the summarization steps? Excellent, let's keep working!"


3. "Ok, now we are going to read Slow Down for Calvin the Right Whale! and I will demonstrate how I summarize passages."  I will begin by reading the article aloud and then I will summarize it by following the three step process. "Does anyone remember what I should do first? That is right pick out all of the important details." I will write the details on the board: North Atlantic Right Whale was hit and killed by a ship, a government rule would make ships slow down in whale areas, this rule would save whale lives, Calvin lived and had a baby. "Now I will reread the important information and delete anything I do not need. I think we should delete the part about Calvin having a baby because it does not have anything to do with whale deaths or the new government rule." All of this will also be noted on the board. "Finally I will combine the important parts to make a topic or summative sentence: A whale was killed by a ship so the government imposed a rule to make ships slow down so whale lives could be saved.


4. Now the students will practice summarizing on their own. Each student will receive a copy of Giant Jellyfish Invasion (from National Geographic) that they will be able to write on and practice summarizing the passage. I will remind them of the three steps on the board and give them an article talk before they begin. Giant Jellyfish are beginning to take over the seas of Japan. Will these monsters kill all of the healthy fish and run off all of the Fishermen or will they leave as quietly as they came? To find out you must keep reading!"  The students will read the article silently and mark up their papers as they follow the three steps. They can use highlighters to cover important ides, they can cross out unwanted information and they can write anything important to remember on the article itself. Finally, the students should write their topic sentence(s) about what they have summarized on a clean sheet of paper.


5. Assessment: I will call each of the students up to my desk individually to read the summative sentence(s) they have written about Giant Jellyfish Invasion. I will mark their progress on a checklist (see attached) to determine if they understand the skill or if they need more help.  While I am assessing students individually the other students will be in groups of two-three discussing the article and all of their thoughts about it.




National Geographic:


National Geographic:


Helpful Lessons:

Greer Montgomery, Sum It All Up!:


Haden Casey, Keys to Summarization:


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