“Sum, Sum, Sum It Up!”


IV. Reading To Learn

Whitney Patterson



One of the main goals of reading is to possess the ability to understand, or comprehend, what you have just read. A great strategy to help children comprehend text is to teach them how to summarize. This lesson will provide children with a model of how to better comprehend text through using a summarization rubric which includes: deleting trivial information, deleting repeated information, substituting easy words for lists of items, adding a series of events with an easy action term, selecting a topic, and creating a topic sentence if there is not one provided. Students will read short articles, create summarization maps, and summarization paragraphs to show their understanding of comprehension and summarization skills.



Summarization rubric (one per student), Steps To Remember When Summarizing poster (to hang in classroom) , pencil, paper, copy of Sea Turtle Soup, No Thanks! (one per student), poster board (one per group of 4 students), copy of Baby Boom! Giant Panda Cubs Give Hope to an Endangered Species (one per student).



1.) Begin the lesson by reviewing how to read silently and introduce the article  Sea Turtle Soup, No Thanks! . Ask students, “Who likes sea turtles? Who likes soup? Today we’re going to learn how sea turtles and soup are related and how sea turtle soup can be harmful to humans. Before we begin reading, I am going to review how to read silently. Please watch me.” Model how to correctly hold a book while reading. Students should be able to see the teacher’s eyes moving along the page as well as seeing her mouth move as she reads to herself without making any sound. “Now, I want you to show me that you know how to read silently as you read the article Sea Turtle Soup, No Thanks! silently. As I observe you, I should see your eyes moving along the page as you read and maybe see your mouth move as well, but no sound coming out.” Provide enough time for everyone to finish reading the article.

2.) “Great job reading silently everyone! Now, raise your hand and tell me if you know what a summary is.” Allow for various responses. “Right! A summary means the main points in a story or passage. When you write a summary, you are trying to write the most important details of that article in the fewest sentence possible. Today, we will be working on summarizing and I have 6 tips to help you as you summarize.” Display the Steps to Remember When Summarizing poster which includes:

1st-Delete unimportant information.

2nd-Delete repeated information.

3rd-Substitute easy words for a list of items.

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

5th-Choose a topic.

6th-Create a topic sentence if one is not given.


3.) Next, divide the class into groups of 4. “A great way to summarize a article or story is to create a map. When we create a map, we begin with the main idea, or topic, in a middle of our paper and draw a cirlce around it. Next, we will include supporting details around the outside of our middle circle in other smaller circles linking to the main idea. Now I want you and your Just to review, the middle circle is called our what? Right! Our topic or main idea! Can someone tell me the topic of our article? Yes, sea turtles are the topic for our center circle. Now, we need to create links of supporting details about sea turtles around the middle circle which is important details in the article. Can someone raise their hand and tell me one important piece of information we should include in our supporting details? Great job! Let’s include that some sea turtles may become extinct from being hunted and eaten by humans. Now, I want you and your group to use these six steps to summarize and finish creating a map of the sea turtle article on a poster board. Come up with three more important details to include on your poster.” Allow students to work with their group and walk around to help any students who need further assistance. After students have finished, have them write complete sentences for each idea for their summary of the article. Also, students should first, include a topic sentence to let readers know what the article is about.

4.) Finally, give give students the article, “Baby Boom! Giant Panda Cubs Give Hope to an Endangered Species.”  Instruct students to create a summarization map of the passage and write a summarization paragraph using their map. While students are working, walk around and observe to see if students are using all six steps of summarization.

5.) For assessment, collect students summarization papers and maps and use the summarization rubric to grade. The summarization rubric includes these questions:

1.) Deleted unimportant information? Yes or No

2.) Deleted repeated information? Yes or No

3.) Substituted easy words for lists of items? Yes or No

4.) Added a series of events with an easy action term? Yes or No

5.) Selected a topic? Yes or No

6.) Invented a topic sentence if none was given? Yes or No



Fox, Catherine Clarke.  Sea Turtle Soup, No Thanks!  http://kids.nationalgeographic.com/Stories/AnimalsNature/Seaturtle


          Gordon, David George. Baby Boom! Giant Panda Cubs Give Hope to an Endangered Species. http://kids.nationalgeographic.com/Stories/AnimalsNature/Giantpandacubs


Pressley, M. Johnson, CJ Symons, McGoldrick, JA.  (1989)  Strategies that Improve Children’s Memory and Comprehension of Text.  “The Elementary School Journal.” 90, 3-32.


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