Fantastic Facts

Jenny Duvall

Reading to Learn



Rationale:  By the time children reach the 4th grade, they enter a type of “4th grade crisis”.  This explains that children are thrown into expository texts which are tough for them to comprehend and gain the main ideas.  Also, this new type of text is dense and introduces new ideas and concepts to the children.  Children need to learn explicit comprehension strategies to help them transition into this new type of text.  Although there are three things to consider while teaching summarization, this lesson will focus on teaching students to delete trivia in passage of expository text.  By learning how to delete trivia and hang on to important details in a text, students will become better readers for comprehension.  (Pressley). 


Materials: 1. An article from  The teacher will print off articles regarding national news, space news, science news, and world news for most students.  Example articles are: "What on Earth is Earth Day" April 21, 2006 and "Chinese President Visits Washington" April 20, 2006.

2.  A transparency of of “Jeans” (see references)                                    

3.  Highlighters

4.  Paper and Pencils


Procedure:  The teacher will begin the lesson by asking if anyone knows what summarization means.  After the students give their answers, the teacher will provide what summarization is.  Summarization is the process of cutting out unnecessary information in what we read and picking out the important facts that we need in order to understand the story.  The teacher will explain that summarization is used in every type of story, whether it is real or make believe. 

  1. The teacher will place the transparency of “Jeans” on the overhead.  The teacher will model summarization by reading “Jeans” from the Scholastic Teaching Resources:

“Do you like to wear jeans? Do you know who made them first?  Once a man went to California to find gold.  The people there were looking for gold.  They were digging in dirt and they needed strong pants that would not tear.  The man got special cloth from France.  It was from a town called ‘de Nimes.’  He made lots of pants from the cloth.  The people started calling the cloth ‘de Nimes.’  The first pants were brown, but the man made them blue.  The pants are called denim.  The man’s name was Levi Strauss.  People say he did not find gold in California, but he found something better.  He made lots and lots of jeans, and his company still makes them today.”

The teacher will read the entire passage first.  Then the teacher will read the sentences one by one, modeling for the students if the sentence is important in the overall message of the story.  For example, the teacher will say, “In the sentence, ‘People say he did not find gold in California, but he found something better?’ I will think, is this crucial to the story?”  "No, it is not crucial to the overall message, so I will mark it out."  The important facts will be highlighted.  When each sentence has been examined, the teacher will write one sentence on the board giving the meaning of the article: “Levi Strauss made blue jeans out of a cloth from de Nimes, France in order to provide strong pants for all of the people in California digging for gold.”

  1. Now it is the students’ turn to practice summarizing.  The teacher will hand out either news articles or copies of the story books to each student.  The students will read silently while crossing out unimportant information and highlighting important information. The teacher will need to provide an “article talk” to capture the students’ interest.
  2. The students will write one sentence that summarizes the entire piece that they read.  They will hand in their sentences for assessment.  The rubric for assessing the students will be based on if the students include the most important overall message of the article and if they leave out the unimportant extra sentences.



References:  *Time for kids:

                      * “Jeans.” Week by Week Homework for Building Reading Comprehension and Fluency: Grade 1.  Rose, Mary. 2002. Scholastic Teaching Resources.  Pg86.   

                      * Fullilove, Casey:


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