must learn how to use strategies in reading to effectively comprehend
text and its ideas. There are a few strategies that have been proven
to be effective comprehension strategies: summarization,
representational imagery, mnemonic devices, story grammar, question
generation, and question answering. This lesson will focus on teaching
the strategy of summarization to students through finding the main idea
in each paragraph from an expository text. When students are able to
summarize well, they will be able to utilize this strategy and become
better at comprehending.
poster displaying the six rules of summarization (delete trivial
information, delete redundant information, substitute general terms for
a list of items, integrate a series of event with a general action
term, select a topic sentence, and invent a topic sentence if there is
none,) Volcanic Lightening article from the Smithsonian online (http://www.kidscastle.si.edu/issues/2007/february/augustine.php),
Salem Prologue article from National Geographic (http://www3.nationalgeographic.com/salem/),
and the summary worksheet.
1. First, I will explain to the students that in order to be truly
effective readers, we must not only read fluently, but also comprehend
what are reading. One strategy that helps us to comprehend what we read
is summarization. When we summarize, we explain the main ideas in a
passage. By explaining the main ideas, we are forced to really think
about what we are reading instead of just quickly and correctly reading
text. Today we will be applying the strategy of summarization to an
article about the Salem Witch Trials by finding the main idea in each
2. I will say to students, "Before we read for comprehension, let's
discuss a little more about summarization. There are six rules that
will help us when we are summarizing.� I will then point to the poster
displaying the six rules and go over each. The rules of summarization
are as follows:
-Delete trivial (or unimportant) information.
-Delete redundant (or repeated) information.
-Substitute general terms for lists of items.
-Integrate a series of events with a general action term.
-Select a topic sentence.
-Invent a topic sentence if there is none.
3. I will say to students, "Let's read an article together and I will
show you how you can summarize each paragraph in one or two sentences.
The article we will be looking at together is called Volcanic
Lightening. This article is about how volcanic eruptions can cause
lightening to strike. Let's read it and find out why. When we first
read it, let's review our fluency strategy of expression. Make sure to
pay careful attention to the words and punctuation in the sentence to
know how the author meant for it to be expressed."� I would then
demonstrate the first sentence with and without expression. 'When
Mount St. Augustine in Alaska erupted in mid-January 2006 for the first
time in 20 years, researchers at the Alaska Volcano Observatory knew
they had a rare opportunity on their hands.' I didn't use very much
expression, did I? I was just focused on correctly reading the words.
This time, I will try it with expression. 'When Mount St. Augustine in
Alaska erupted in mid-January 2006 for the first time in 20 years,
researchers at the Alaska Volcano Observatory knew they had a rare
opportunity on their hands.' That had much more expression, didn't it?
Now, let's read the text out loud with expression and decide what the
main ideas of each paragraph are." I would then have the class read the
first paragraph aloud together and say, "Good job using expression!"
4. Say to students, "Now let's look at each sentence and see if we can
find the main ideas. In the first sentence, the author is talking about
how rare it is that the volcano erupted. Then in the second sentence,
they said that the eruption caused lightening and they really aren't
sure why. The last sentence is a quote by a scientist saying you have
to be there at just the right time and have the right equipment to know
why the volcano eruption causes lightening to strike. So how can I find
the main idea of all those sentences and combine them into one or two
summary sentence? I can start by getting the main idea from each
sentence. I will start my sentence by saying 'Sometimes, although it is
rare, volcano eruptions cause lightening to strike.' But, that's only
the information from the first sentence. I have to also say that
scientists aren't sure why the eruptions cause lightening to strike and
that they have to have to right equipment. So I could change my
sentence to say 'Although scientists aren't sure why volcanoes can
cause lightening to strike, they are working to find out by setting up
equipment when the time is likely for an eruption.' Do you think that
might work? I think so."�
5. I will say to students, "Now that we have discussed how to summarize
and you have seen me do it with one paragraph, I want you to show me
that you can do it too. I am going to give each of you a copy of the
Salem Prologue, an article
from National Geographic. This article is about the Salem witch trials.
I want you to read
this article to yourself, but make sure to still use expression when
reading and just say it in your mind. Read the article one time and
then reread it before you begin to try and discover the main ideas in
the paragraph. I am also going to pass out a worksheet to you that will
help you to analyze each sentence and have a space for writing your
draft summary sentence and your final summary sentence. I want you to
fill this out for all seven paragraphs. The paragraphs aren't too long
and you will get the hang out summarization the more you practice, so
don't worry about time. You will be able to do it and I will be
available to help you at any time. Just raise your hand if you need my
help. When you get your article you may begin, but remember to read the
article twice before summarizing."
6. After students begin reading, I will walk around and monitor them to
make sure they are reading silently and not having any problems. I will
continue to walk around the room and help students as they work on
their summaries and worksheets.
7. When every student has completed the worksheet, I will take them up.
After every worksheet has been turned in, we will go through the
article by paragraphs and discuss how we could be summarize each
paragraph in one or two sentences to capture the main ideas.
8. I will assess students by their written summaries to the Salem
Prologue article on their worksheet. If they were able to effectively
use the comprehension strategy of summarization and their writing
reflects this, I will know they have grasped the concept.
1. National Geographic, Salem Prologue, http://www3.nationalgeographic.com/salem/.
2. Smithsonian, Volcanic Lightening, http://www.kidscastle.si.edu/issues/2007/february/augustine.php.
3. Michael Pressley. Strategies That Improve Children's Memory and
Comprehension of Text. The Elementary School Journal. University of
4. Summer Patterson. "Summing It Up", http://www.auburn.edu/acedemic/education/reading_genie/explor/pattersonrl.html
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