Sum it Up


 Emily Tyler

Rationale:  The goal of reading is comprehension.  One strategy that aids comprehension is summarization.  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 equipped with the knowledge of how to better interpret the meaning of the texts they read.




1Introduce the lesson by explaining what it means to summarize a text.  „Today we are going to practice understanding what we read.  Understanding what we read is very important.  It helps us recognize what happens in a story, and it helps us relate the story to our own lives.  Today we are going to practice summarizing a story.  Summarizing means to find the most important information in a story.  Stories contain a lot of information, and only some of it Ų the most important parts Ų help us understand what happens.  Today we are going to practice finding the main idea and supporting details of that main idea.š


2.  Next give the students their own copy of „Fastest Jaw on the Drawš by Catherine Clarke Fox.  After giving this to the students explain to them that there are five steps involved in summarization.  First, pick out the important details.  Second, pick out the details that are repeated or are not important and get rid of them.  Third, use easy keywords to highlight important details.  Fourth, list those keywords in order as they appeared in the passage.  Fifth, trim the list of keywords to make one topic sentence.  Write these steps on chart paper as you go through them. 


3.  After you have explained this to the children, tell them that you all will be reading a story together and using these five steps of summarization.  Begin reading the article aloud while the students read along.  During and after reading, apply the five steps with the help of the students. 


4.  After doing this, ask the students to get in groups of two (you may assign them if you like).  Give each student a copy of the second article, „Harriet Tubman: Civil War Spyš by Catherine Clarke Fox.  Ask the students to read the article and apply the steps of summarizing during and after reading. 

5.  To assess, visit with the pairs of students and discuss with them any problems they are having.  Also, take up the papers and use the table to assess.





Delete unimportant information.



Delete repeated information.



Substitute easy words for lists of items.



Add a series of events with an easy action term.




Select a topic.



Invent a topic sentence if there is not one



King, Milisa. Get to the Point.

Hughes, Anna. Summarizing is Superb.

„Fastest Jaw on the Drawš by Catherine Clarke Fox- National Geographic Kids

 „Harriet Tubman: Civil War Spyš by Catherine Clarke Fox- National Geographic Kids

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