Super Summarization

Elizabeth Stevens

 Rationale: Once children have learned to read fluently, they must then learn to comprehend and gain knowledge from the material that they read. One way to help in comprehending information from text is summarization. Summarization should be taught through rules. Teaching children how to summarize includes instruction on how to delete trivial details and redundancies, place items and events in order, and create a statement that contains the message the writer is trying to convey. By providing children with instruction on how to construct summaries, they will be ready to know how to better interpret the meaning of the texts they read.  



  1. Explain to the students that they will be reviewing silent reading. “Does anyone remember what silent reading is? Silent reading is when we read to ourselves but not out loud. We read the words in our head. Why do we silent read? We do this to understand what we are reading. There are also more ways to understand what we are reading. One way to do this is to summarize. Does anyone know what summarizing means? When we summarize, we retell something but only retelling the most important facts and the main idea. When you are summarizing a story, your version should be much shorter than the one you read, because you are only trying to retell the most important information. Why do you think summarization might be important? Summarization helps us to understand what we are reading. Today, I’m going to teach you some tips on how to summarize.”
  2. “There are five steps to summarizing.” Have these steps written on the board so that everyone can see them. “When we summarize, we use five steps.  These five steps help us summarize more easily. These five steps are written for you here on the board. Number One, pick out the important details.  Number Two, pick out the details that are repeated or are not important and get rid of them.  Number Three, use easy keywords to highlight important details.  Number Four, list those keywords in order as they appeared in the passage.  Number Five, trim the list of keywords to make one topic sentence.”
  3. “Now we are going to test our summarization skills.” Pass out the article Poison Snakes Swarm Florida Island to each student. Give a quick “book talk” to get the students interested. “There are many snakes swarming an island in Florida. They are very poisonous snakes. I wonder what they are doing and if they are causing trouble with people or other animals? We’ll need to read to find out.” Tell the students to read the article silently to themselves and to pay close attention to the important details of the article. After the students have read the article silently, tell them that you will be modeling for them how to summarize the article using the five steps.
  4. Read the first paragraph and summarize it. “Notice that I only used the important information from the article. I didn’t need the trivial facts. Next, I will write down keywords from the story in order on the board. Then I will make the list of key words smaller and turn it into one topic sentence." Then, I will read the topic sentence aloud to the children.
  5. The students will then be given highlighters and instructed to reread the rest of the article. They will be asked to highlight the most important information in the rest of the article.
  6. I will then model for them how to create a web. I will use a piece of butcher paper. “Let’s talk about what we just read. We are going to organize our information in a web. Webs are very helpful when we are trying to get our thoughts together before we write something, in this case, our summary.” Explain that the main topic should go in the middle. Then we should draw lines from the main idea to put our supporting information out next to it. Explain that the students should be able to create a paragraph from this information in their web.
  7. Split the students into groups of 3 and have them work on summarizing the article we have just read. “Now I want each group to look at article and summarize it.  You do not have to use everything you highlighted, and you may add things that you did not highlight if you feel they are important for the summary.  Remember to use the checklist to make sure you have used all five steps for summarizing.  If you have any questions, raise your hand and I will be around to help you."


The teacher will collect all of the summaries and review what each student had written. The students will be assessed on their ability to follow the five steps in summarizing the article, and working in groups to prepare their summaries. They will also be assessed on their ability to create their webs.


Clabby, Caitlin. Tell Me All About It.

 Murray, Bruce.  The Reading Genie

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