Let’s Get it Together!
Reading to Learn

Lizzie Fain


Children need to learn strategies that will aid them in comprehension.  Children must be able to focus on the main ideas of the passage in order to increase comprehension.  Summarizing is one strategy that children can use to increase comprehension.  Explicit instruction is needed to help children read and recall information on what they have read.  They need to be taught how to eliminate the “trivial facts” to focus on the bigger picture.  They need to know what information is unnecessary or less important.  They should learn to substitute super ordinate terms for a list of items and create a topic sentence.  If these strategies are implemented, children will be able to become better readers and be able to better summarize information.


á        paper

á        pencils

á        chart paper

á        12” x 12” squares of poster board

á        Markers

á        Copies of “Freaky Frogs” article from National Geographic Kids(National Geographic Explorer- http://magma.nationalgeographic.com/ngexplorer/0403/articles/mainarticle.html) for each student

á        Checklist for each student- with following:

1.     Delete unimportant information

2.     Delete repeated information

3.     Substitute easy words for lists of items

4.     Add a series of events with an easy action term

5.     Select a topic

6.     Invent a topic sentence if there is already not one.


  1.  The lesson can begin by discussing what summarizing is and why it is important to the reading process.  Ask the class, Can anyone tell me what it means to summarize?  Tell them that the word summarizes means to take out the main points in a text and put them together go create a summary.  A summary will describe the main points in the text.  When reading a text, you will summarize by mentally deleting the less important facts and making note of the important events.  Can anyone give me an example summary of a story they have recently read? Give the students a chance to respond.  Now I will give you all an example summary of a book we have just read. (Summarize a story that has been recently read in class)  Have any of you tried to summarize after reading?  This can often be helpful when trying to understand a story or prepare us for a test.  Today, we are going to learn more about summarizing.  But before we begin, lets review how we read silently.
  2. When we read silently, we read quietly to our selves, asking ourselves questions as we read.  Today we are going to read an article about Frogs.  The article is called “Freaky Frogs.”  Can anyone guess what this article might be about?  (Give students a chance to respond) Does anyone know any facts about frogs?  There are many different kinds of frogs, even kinds that smell!  Did you know that some frogs are becomming extinct?  Now we are going to read part of the article together.  Then we will go back and pick out the important parts.  So, Let's makes sure to pay attention while reading. ( Excerpt of Article):  "Frogs are found on every continent on except Antartica.  Some live in cities, deserts, mountains, or grasslands.  But most prefer we areas.  The wetter, the better.  They really like ponds, marshes,  and rain forests.  Frogs like wet areas for many reasons.  They lay their eggs in water.  They find their favorite meals- flies, snails, worms, and other tasty treats- there as well.  They also find protection in water.  A frog can hid from birds and other predators by darting under a nearby leaf or swimming underwater."  Now lets discuss together some of the important facts of what we just read.  This will  help us to form a topic sentence or summary.  Let students respond with the important facts- frogs live everywhere except one continent, frogs like to live in water because they find their food there along with protection and they lay their eggs in water.  Now we will come up with a topic sentence for what we just read:  Frogs are found everywhere on earth except Antartica.  They prefer wet areas because they lay their eggs in water, find their meals, and hide from their predators.  Now that we have practiced together, You are going to read the article silently to yourself.  While you are reading the article, I want you to pay attention to what the text is telling you.  Once you have finished reading, we will practice summarizing and find the main points of the article.
  3. Okay, now that you have read the article and know what summarizing means, we can learn the six steps of summarizing. (Record on chart paper)    1. Delete unimportant information.
                         2. Delete repeated information.
                         3. Substitute easy words for lists of items.
                         4. Add a series of events with an easy action term.
                         5. Select a topic.
                          6. Invent a topic sentence if there is not one.

        It is important to delete unimportant information that we may be distracted by.  This will help us to focus on the main points of the article.  Deleting repeated information is important because it rids the article or reading selection of extra information that we already know.  When we substitute easy words for lists of items, we are able to shorten the amount of information we have to remember.  For example, we may want to remember a list such as chickens, cows, horses, eggs, pigs, and sheep.  We may want to simplify this list by calling it Farm Animals.  We can place each of these animals under the topic of Farm Animals to help us recall them.  We can add a series of events with an action term to help us recall a passage as well.  Then we can select a topic of the events in our passage and create a topic sentence that describes the passage we have read.

  4. Let’s talk about what you read in the article together.  I am going to draw a picture on the chart paper.  This drawing is called a web.  Webs help us organize our information and understand what we know.  Remember to look at the summary checklist on our other chart.  Where do I put the main topic on our web?  (the middle) Very good!  What should I put in the middle of the web?  (frogs)  Very nice!  Who can give me a main point from the article on frogs?  Call upon the students and record their comments on the web.  Explain that we should be able to create a paragraph that summarizes the entire article.  You can use the web to help you create your summary by using some of the facts that have been listed.  Each section on our web can be used to create a sentence to help create a short paragraph.
  5. Now I will have the children work in groups of 2.  Pass out the poster board squares, individual checklists, and markers to each pair of students.  "A wonderful way to help us learn to summarize is by creating a web just like the one we did together.  Can anyone tell me how to begin the web?  Great!  We place the topic of the article in the center of our posters.  Then we write facts or pieces of information out to the side.  Use your checklist to make sure you have used the six steps for summarizing.  Good luck!  I will be walking around to help if you need me!"
  6. Assessment:  In order to assess the children understands of the topic I will walk around the room as they work together on the web.  I will compare their checklists with their webs.  They will also individually write a brief summary paragraph based on their web from the article.  Make sure they actually eliminated unimportant information if they checked it off on their list.   I will also ask questions for discussion after all the students have finished reading such  as  What kind of  areas do frogs like to live?- wet areas, Why do frogs like wet areas?- lay their eggs in water, protection from predators,  to find food.  What are some reasons frogs are in danger? 



National Geographic Explorer

Sensational Summarizers, by Valerie Lunceford-


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