"Seeking Out the Facts"

Reading to Learn

Emily Cole



Rationale:  Comprehension plays a huge role in reading.    One way to increase comprehension is through summarizing.  Being able to summarize what one reads helps one comprehend what they read better.  Summarizing also teaches students how to pick out the important information and leave out the less important information.  In this lesson, students will learn to delete trivia when reading expository text, pick out the key information, and then create a topic sentence about the text.


Materials:  Overhead copy of Seeking the Stars, One copy for each student of Seeking the Stars, Yellow and Black overhead marker, Yellow and Black marker for each student, One copy of Saving the Saiga for each student.



  1. Today we are going to learn a way to increase our comprehension.  Who can tell me what comprehension is?  That’s right-comprehension is when we remember what we read after we are done reading.  We are going to learn a way to increase our comprehension called summarizing.  We are going to learn how to get rid of all the useless information, pick out what’s important, and then write a topic sentence about what we read.
  2. Now I am going to model how to summarize and you are going to practice along with me. (Write all of the steps of summarizing on the board for reference.)  Pass out the article Seeking the Stars out to all students. Also make a transparency of the article and put it in the overhead.  Have a black marker for crossing out trivia and a yellow marker for highlighting important information.  Pass out black and yellow markers to students.    I am going to read an article aloud to you.  Everyone listen very closely.  (Read the article aloud to students.) Now that I am done reading we are going to go back and cross out the trivia or useless information with a black marker.  We want to mark out all of the information that is not important to the story.   Will you help me figure out what is useless?  (Have students call out facts/sentences that are useless.)  You mark out on your paper what we decided is useless.    Now that we have crossed out the sentences that have useless information, let’s highlight the important facts.  The important facts are the statements and sentences in the article that are very important.    (Have students call out important facts/.sentences.)  You highlight the important facts.  Now I am going to find a topic sentence in the article.  After we find a topic sentence we are going to write our own topic sentence that summarizes what we read.  You write your own topic sentences based on the things we highlighted.  (Walk around the room and look at each of the students topic sentences.  If students are off help guide them in the right direction.)
  3. So let’s review how we summarize.  The first thing we do is read the article.  This time you are going to read your article silently.  Remember what we do when we read silently?  That’s right we sit quietly and read to ourselves.  If you need to you can mouth the words, just make sure you are being silent.  The next thing we do is cross out all of the trivia or useless information with our black marker.  After we cross out all of the useless information, we highlight all the important information with our yellow marker.  Then we read the important facts and create a topic sentence that summarizes the article. 
  4. Now it’s your turn to practice summarizing.  I am handing out everyone an article to read silently and then summarize.  The name of the article is Saving the Saiga.  What do you think a saiga is?  Where do you think the saiga lives?  (Allow time for student responses.)  This is an article about an endangered antelope in Asia and what scientists are trying to do to save the antelope.  After you read the article silently you should first cross out the useless information, then highlight the important information, and then write a topic sentence to summarize the article.  Raise you hand if you need help and I will come around and help you.
  5. To assess the students have them turn in their article with their markings.  That will give you a good idea that they understand what is important and what is not.  Also have students turn in their topic sentence.  Once students have turned their work in call students up one by one to ask comprehension questions about the article they just read, Saving the Saiga. 



Autrey, Sarah.  Let’s Get the Facts.  http://www.auburn.edu/academic/education/reading_genie/constr/autreyrl.html


Fox, Catherine Clark.  Seeking the Stars.



Fox, Catherine Clark.  Saving the Saiga


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