Summing Up "Penguins on Parade"
"Reading to learn"

By:Leann Patterson

Rational:  As children enter the upper grades, they are required to read and comprehend more expository texts.  Comprehension is one of the most important essential aspects of reading.  A great strategy or way for children to learn comprehension is by using summarization.  This lesson focuses on helping students to learn to differentiate between the trivial information in an expository text and the important information.

Materials:  chalk; chalkboard; pencils; "Penguins on Parade" by Kristina L. Bailey, Highlights for Children magazine, issue-December 2002 (one article per child).

1. "Today class, we are going to learn a strategy, or a helpful hint, to help us with comprehension called summarization.  But first, let's review what comprehension means.  Correct, comprehension is understanding what we are reading and being able to recall the information we read.  Now, does anyone know what summarization is?  When we summarize, we choose or pick the most important concepts or details of the passage we are reading and eliminate or ignore the less important concepts."

2. "There are some steps you can follow when summarizing."  <(List on board for students' to refer back to.) >

a. Read one paragraph at a time.
b. Note the important details from each paragraph.  Try to categorize each paragraph into one topic sentence.
c. After reading the entire passage/article, then summarize all the summary sentences by forming one-two sentences.  These one-two sentences will "sum" or categorize all the important information together.
3. "Ok, now that we have an idea about our new strategy, let's put it to use for comprehension."

4. <Give each student (or pair students) his/her own article titled "Penguins on Parade" by Kristina L. Bailey.  Ask students to predict what the article will be about by simply reading the title and by looking at the pictures.  Then, question students to get an insight to their prior knowledge of penguins. >

5. "Class, we are going to break this article up into sections as we read to help us summarize better.  Each section will consist of one paragraph.  Therefore, we will read one paragraph, stop, discuss it, and finally, compose a one sentence summary of the most important information gathered from that one paragraph."

6. "Everyone ready?  Ok, we will do one paragraph together for an example for you all to follow.  As I read the paragraph, you follow along with me reading silently to yourself.  Does everyone remember how to read silently?  Yes, it's like reading in your mind without saying one word out loud.  Let's begin."  <Read one paragraph and then stop to discuss it. >

7. <Now ask students to raise their hands to share what they thought was the most important key points or the main idea.  Write their key points on the board.  Then, have students to form one sentence by putting the key points together in sentence formation. >  "For example, let's read the second paragraph."  <Read out loud as students read silently. >  My summary sentence would be something like-  "Little blue penguins are the smallest penguins of all, and they got their name because of their shiny grayish-blue feathers.  Does everyone see how I combined and summarized the sentences in the paragraph?  Yes, I categorized the information into one good topic sentence."

8. "Now, I want you all to finish summarizing the rest of the article.  If you get stuck or confused, raise your hand and I will help you.  Once you are done, you should have around nine total summary sentences."

9. Assessment:  "Once you have summarized the article, bring your paper to me to glance over.  After I have put a check on your paper, I want you to then summarize your nine sentences into one-two sentences.  You are summarizing your summary sentences!!"

10. <Once everyone is finished, review and point out helpful summarizing can be. >  "Students, you all took a whole article and made it into one-two sentences!  Great work!


Starr, Kelly.  "Simple Steps of Summarization."

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