Simon Says Summarize

Reading to Learn (Summarizing)

By: Holly Kilgore



Rationale: The goal of reading is for the reader to comprehend what they are reading. Readers need to be able to understand the text and understand what it is saying. This lesson will help students summarize what they are reading by choosing options that are more or less important than other ones. Eventually, this will help students with their comprehension. 





 black markers

copy of the article “Godzilla” Fossils Reveals Real-Life Sea Monster for each student

poster with paragraph written on it - Last Tuesday I was very busy. I went to my grandmother’s house. Albert did not go with me. Then I went to the store because I was hungry. I forgot my snack. After I went to the store, I saw Dusty.

poster and individual copies with rules on it –

1. Get rid of any unnecessary information 2.classify items and events  3.construct a topic sentence




1.Today we are going to learn some very important things about learning. We will learn how to read a text and then come up with a summary of what they text was about. Who knows what I mean when I say “summary”? (I will give the children an opportunity to respond and give asssitance if needed). That’s right, a summary tells about the important information we read in a text. When you are able to summarize, then you know you understood what they story was about.

2.I am going to read a sentence aloud and then I want to say it silently to myself. Can anyone tell me what I mean by “silently”? (I will give the children an opportunity to respond and give asssitance if needed)That’s right! It means to read it to yourselves without making any noises. I am going to show you what I want you all to do (I will model for the steps I want them to take). "Last Tuesday I was very busy" (now read it silently to model how to do it). Now I am going to read the rest of the paragraph aloud and I want each of you to follow along with me silently (finish reading the rest of the paragraph aloud from the poster board it is written on so every student has an opportunity to view it).

3.Now I would like us to talk about what is important in the paragraph. What is the most important idea in this paragraph? Last Tuesday I was very busy. Let’s highlight the words Last Tuesday and busy. Now what should we do with the rest of the sentence? That’s right. Rule #1 says to get rid of it so we will cross it out (continue through the rest of the paragraph, crossing out unnecessary information and highlighting the important information).

4.Now that we have decided what the most important information, we can make up a summary. Lets take the highlighted parts and make a summary.  I will point out the first fact that I find important and then the students will follow just what I did (have each student help pointing out the important information).

5.When we summarize text, there are 3 important rules we need to remember. The kids will also get a sheet of paper with the rules on it. 1.) Get rid of any unnecessary information, 2.) Classify items and events 3.) Construct a topic sentence.  The best part about the rules is that we used each of them while we were summarizing the story and did not even realize we were doing it!

6.We are going to look at an article about a sea monster named Godzilla. Part of Godzilla's body was found and discovered to be very old. In order to find out more information about Godzilla and what he is, you all will have to read the article I am going to pass out. Here are some highlighters, markers, paper, pencils and articles for each of you. We are going to read the first two paragraphs of the article together. Now I would like each of you to take your highlighters and while we are reading, highlight the important information, then take your marker and cross out the information that is not important. Then take the highlighted information and make a sentence out of it.

7.Now that we did the first two paragraphs together, I would like you all to finish the rest of the article. Read the article silently and make sure you use the three rules to help you. I will have the rules posted on the board. Make sure to also use your highlighter and markers like we did in class. Then write your summaries.

8.Now that you all are finished, I would like each of you to discuss what you wrote about (let the students have time with group members if needed for assistance).

In order to assess what the children have done, ask them to turn in their completed work in order for you to assess it. If the majority of the students need more assistance, include another activity with more modeling. In only a few need asssistance, pull them aside in class to see what trouble they are having.


1. "Godzilla" Fossils Reveals Real-Life Sea Monster. Stefan Lovgren. National Geographic Kids News.

2. Adams, Marilyn Jager. Beginning to Read: Thinking and Learning About Print. Illinois. 1990. 148 pgs

3. Haley Davis' Sum It All Up! -


4.Elizabeth Bell: Ready…Set…Sum

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