So What’s the Point?

Amy Whitcomb
Rationale: The final goal of learning to read is to have the ability to read and understand the text. Once students are fluent readers, they need to learn to summarize the text, taking out all “unnecessary” information. This lesson will give students the tools they need to choose information that is more or less important to the overall comprehension of the text. Eventually, this will help students to be able to summarize the text and will help improve their reading comprehension.

1.    copies of article  “The Truth Behind Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man's Chest” by Deborah Underwood for each student and teacher copy
2.    highlighter for each student
3.    black marker for each student
4.    pencils
5.    paper
6.    Poster with summarization rules on it:
a.    Find main points and highlight important information
b.    Cross out redundant information
c.    Write down main points that author is trying to make
7.    Poster with paragraph on it: from
a.    NASA wants to make a new spaceship for the missions using parts from the Apollo program, which first took people to the moon in 1969, and the space shuttle. NASA says the new Crew Exploration Vehicle (CEV) will be "affordable, reliable, versatile, and safe."
1.    Today we are going to learn a very important part of reading! Has anyone ever read a paragraph and is overwhelmed by all of the information? That can be frustrating, so today we are going to learn how to become excellent summarizers! Does anyone know what summarizing means? (give students an opportunity to answer) Good! Summarizing means taking all of the important information away from the unimportant information in the text. When you do this, you are able to better understand the paragraph.
2.    Show paragraph and model how to summarize. Tell the students “First, I am going to read this paragraph aloud and then reread it to myself (model for them by reading first sentence aloud then reading it silently). Next, I am going to read the rest of the paragraph and I want you to read it silently to yourself. Let’s all try this together”.
3.    Now, we will talk about what is important in this paragraph. What is extra information in this paragraph? Now we will cross out extra information. I would cross out everything except NASA, new spaceship, CEV, and space shuttle. Those are the most important words in this paragraph. So I would mark out all of the extra information with my black marker. Let’s go on and find the other important ideas in this paragraph.
4.    Now that we have crossed out all of the extra information, let’s follow rule #2 and highlight all of the important information. I would highlight NASA, new spaceship, CEV, and space shuttle. Now let’s move onto rule #3 and write down all of the information that we think is important. Congratulations! You have just summarized a paragraph! Let’s try it again!
5.    We are going to look at an article about Pirates. Has anyone seen the movie Pirates of the Caribbean? This article compares real-life
 pirates to Pirates of the Caribbean. We will have to read more to find how just how real the Hollywood version of pirates is. I am going to pass out an article, paper, pen, highlighter, and a black marker. Now I want each of you to follow along with the article as I read the article aloud. We will go through the first paragraph together for guided practice. Then I want you to go back and highlight and cross out all important and non-important information. It is easier when you go paragraph by paragraph so pace yourself! When you have finished crossing out and highlighting, I want you to write down the important facts on the sheet of paper I gave you.
6.    When they are finished, I will have them share their summaries with their neighbors, comparing their “important information” with each other.

Assessment: I will walk around and observe their summaries as they are reading it aloud to their partner. I will also have them turn in their summaries so that I can better assess their level of understanding.


Abbott, Patrick. “NASA Planning Travels to Moon and Mars”. National Geographic Kids Magazine. 14 October 2005.

Bell, Elizabeth. “Ready, Set, Sum!”

Underwood, Deborah. “The Truth Behind Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man’s Chest”.National Geographic Kids Magazine. 08 September 2006

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