What Did That Say?

Reading to Learn

Alison Gray Chamberlin


Rationale: As students read and become better readers, it is important for them to know how to gain meaning and understanding about the story.  Summarizing is a strategy to gain comprehensive strategies, and they are learning the most important information and ideas from the reading.  Although there are many comprehension strategies, this lesson will focus on teaching students how to summarize in their own words their text selection. Students will also learn strategies for selecting the critical information from text, especially expository text.



-Bookmark with the 5 rules of summarization for each student

1. Pick out all the important details.

2. Find details that are repeated or that are not important to the text and get rid of them.

3. Use key words to highlight the important details.

4. Put the key words in order as they appear in the passage.

5. Use the key words list to make a topic sentence.

-Pencil, paper, and highlighter for each student

-Assessment checklist for each student

Did the student?



Comprehends the information from the passage.



Got rid of unnecessary information from the passage.



Picked out the most important information from the passage.



Write at least one sentence that covers everything that is important information from the passage.



- Balloon-Popping Dog! article for each student

-The Dog Whisperer: Helping Dogs-and Owners-Be on Their Best Behavior article for each student



1. Say: Today, we are going to learn an important tool that will help make you all better readers.  Have you heard of the summarization?  Summarization is the process of cutting out pointless information in what we read and picking out the main facts that we as readers need to get the story.  Has anyone ever written a summary, or summarized what they had read?  Why is summarizing important?  (Helps for us, as readers, to determine what the important information is and what is not important).

2. Hand out the bookmarks with the rules of summarization on them.  Say: There are five steps to summarize.  First, you pick out all the important details.  Second, you find details that are repeated or that are not important to the text and get rid of them.  Third, you use key words to highlight the important details.  Fourth, you put the key words in order as they appear in the passage.  Fifth and lastly, you use the key words list to make a topic sentence.

3. Say: Let's read Balloon-Popping Dog! from National Geographic and I will show you how I would summarize this article.  I will pass out the article to the students, and then I will model summarizing by first reading it aloud and then summarizing the short article. Say: Balloons don't last very long around Anastasia the Jack Russell terrier.  Her favorite game is popping as many as she can!  The pooch can pop 100 balloons in 53.7 seconds, the fastest time a dog has popped that many.  Usually the dog bites the balloons in the air, but the record was set with the balloons secured to the ground.  The noise might scare other dogs, but that just makes the game more fun for Anastasia.  She likes balloons so much that she goes nuts when a blimp flies over her backyard!

- First, I am going to get rid of unneeded details.
Balloons don't last long around the dog.

How long it takes her to pop balloons.
How dogs usually bite and behave around balloons.

That the dog does flips when she is excited.

- Next, I am to select what I think are the most important details that help me understand the text.
The dog loves popping balloons.

She has the fastest balloon-popping time.

She isn't scared of the popping noise.

- Finally, I am going to write a short summary.

The dog in this story loves popping balloons and isn't scared of the noise.  She is has the fastest balloon popping time of any dog.

5. Next, the students will practice summarizing on their own. I will pass out The Dog Whisperer: Helping Dogs-and Owners-Be on Their Best Behavior article to each student, and give a brief book talk about it.  Say:  This article is about a man named Cesar Millan that has his own television show on the National Geographic Channel.  He helps dogs and their owners understand each other, and he teaches dog owners how to take better care of their dogs.  The article talks all about Cesar and how he trains dogs.  If you want to find out more about him, you'll have to read to find out.  The students will then read the article and use summarization strategies that we have practiced today to eliminate information that isn't necessary for the meaning of the article and pick out the important information.  While the students are reading the article silently, they will mark out the unnecessary information with your pencil, highlight the key information, and write a one or two sentence summary of what they have read.

4) After the students have read and wrote down a couple of summarization sentences, they will turn their sentences in and then get into groups of 2-3.  Once they have formed their groups, they will discuss the article and share what they did to summarize the articles. This will allow the students to share different techniques to summarize a story. 

5) Students will be assessed on their summarization sentences.  I will use a checklist to assess their progress. Students are required to earn at least 3 out of the 4 checks possible. (See checklist below.) I will use this information to determine which students need to work more on this skill.



- National Geographic Kids. (2006)  Balloon-Popping Dog!


- National Geographic Kids. (2006)  The Dog Whisperer: Helping Dogs-and Owners-Be on Their Best Behavior.


-Montgomery, Greer. Sum It All Up! Spring 2009.


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