Three Steps to Summary

            

Reading to Learn

By Haley Dykes

 

Rationale:

Summarization is an essential strategy for reading comprehension. Summarization is the ability to find the main idea of a story or a passage. When you write a summary, you want to pick out the most important facts. The purpose of this lesson is to teach students how to summarize by picking out the most important ideas. The learning goal for this lesson is for students to be able to apply a summarization strategy with three simple steps.

Materials:

-         Class copies of National Geographic article Tiny Frogs Ring in Spring by Lyssa White

-         Class copies of National Geographic article Drinking Water: Bottled or From the Tap? By Catherine Clarke Fox

-         Notebook paper

-         Highlighters

-         White board and markers

 

Procedures:

1.  'Today we are going to work on summarizing. Who can tell me what a summary is?' Allow time for responses. 'Remember that when we read, our goal is comprehension, which is the ability to understand the information we are reading, and being able to summarize is a great strategy for us to use in order to comprehend information. To summarize means to find the main idea of the passage or story that you read.  When you write a summary, you want to pick out the most important facts. This will help remember key details from things that we read and we can tell our friends and families about it.'

2. 'There are three easy steps to help you remember summarization. I will write the steps on the board while explaining them.'

Step 1:  Keep the most important details.

Step 2:  Get rid of the less important details.

Step 3:  Write it in your own words.

3.  Pass out copies of Tiny Frogs Ring in Spring. First, before we start reading, I would like to review how to read silently.  Watch me as I read silently. (I will read the first paragraph of the article to myself.) We are going to read a short article about some really neat frogs that can sing, and then summarize the article together.  I want you to read to yourself silently and look for the main point of the article while I read out loud. Now, I am going to pick out the most important details of the article and write them on the board:

       When the warmer weather arrives, male frogs attempt to attract a mate with a spring serenade

     Their peep peep peep creates an other-worldly whistling sound that, to many, is the first sign of spring.

    The 'vocal sacs' under their chins allow the frogs to 'sing.'

Since I now know the important details of the article, I can summarize all of this information in my own words: Spring Peepers are a type of frogs that use their vocal sacs to sing and mate in the springtime. Do you see how I took all of that information and created my own version of it in my own words? This is and example of what a summary is. (Teacher writes these sentences on the board.  The teacher also tells the students that it is important to write their summary in their own words.)

4.  'Now that I have shown you how to write a summary, I am going to let you practice summarizing by yourself.  (Give each student a copy of the article Drinking Water: Bottled or From the Tap?, a sheet of notebook paper, and a highlighter.)  This article is about the importance of recycling and drinking water. First, I want you to read the article silently to yourself. Use your highlighter to highlight the sentences that have important details. Then, I want you to review the information you have highlighted and decide what you think the main idea of the article is. On your sheet of paper, I would like for you to answer the questions that I have written on the board:  What is the title of the article?  What are some important details? What is the main idea of the article? Using these questions, write one paragraph to summarize the article. '

5.  'Now, since everyone has completed their summary, we will all write one big summary on the board together. Who can tell me some important details of the article that they highlighted? What was the main idea of the article? (Let students give their responses and pick out most important facts students give and write on the board) Ok, now look at your paper and the board and compare/ contrast. Is your paper and the board similar?'

6.  For assessment, I will give students quiz on the readings. I will assess their ability to summarize and use the three step strategy with a checklist.

References:

Fox, Catherine Clark. Drinking Water: Bottled or From the Tap? National Geographic News Online, 2008.

http://kids.nationalgeographic.com/Stories/SpaceScience/Water-bottle-pollution

White, Lyssa. Tiny Frogs Ring in Spring. National Geographic News Online, 2009.       http://kids.nationalgeographic.com/Stories/AnimalsNature/Spring-peepers

Wheeler, Emily. 'To Sum it all Up'. Auburn University Reading Genie Website, 2004. http://www.auburn.edu/academic/education/reading_genie/guides/wheelerrl.html

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