Reading to Learn
Sum Stuff
Alyssa Williams

Rationale:  As children are starting to develop fluency they also need to begin comprehending what they are reading. It is important that children remember what they read by summarizing because this allows them to retain only the important ideas.  Students will learn to summarize by mapping.

Materials: Paper, pencil, chalk, 2 Magazine articles from- National Geographic Kids Magazine/ Issues: January/February 2003 and April 2002

Articles: Avalanches: Snow that Smashes and Ghost Lions of Africa

Review silent reading.  "Remember that when we silent read that our voices shouldnât go louder than a whisper." Tell the children that we are learning how to summarize passages and that we will be shortening long passages into shorter versions with only the important ideas remaining.

Explain and model summarization.  "When you summarize you want to:
  -Find the main points
  -Delete any small details
  -Combine repeated ideas"

Pass out copies of the National Geographic Kids or copies of Avalanche article to each student and have them read it silently.  "I will show you how to summarize by drawing a map.  First you draw a circle and write the general idea of the passages inside the circle."  (The passage is about an avalanche that occurred in Alaska).
What do you think is important to remember? Explain that the main points go around the circle and are connected to the circle by a line.  (Main Points- what an avalanche is, where it occurred, when it occurred, damage done).
Now use these points to write a brief paragraph and this will be the summary.

Give students the article "Ghost Lions of Africa" for them to try on their own.  Also pass out paper and pencil for their maps.  "Read the article silently and draw a map like I did on the board to find the main points."  Give them about 15 minutes to complete the task.  Then on the board draw a map using the student's information.  Write down every detail they say, because they will probably give you trivial details, or repeated information. (But this is okay).  When the map is complete there will probably be too many details.  "We have not shortened it, we made it longer.  Let's erase anything that is said more than once or is not important.  There, now we have summarized it."

"Now, on the bottom of your paper write a summary using the map we all helped to create."

Assessment:  Teacher should collect papers to evaluate the child's comprehension of summarizing.  Check for center circle with the general idea, main points connecting to the circle and a brief summary in paragraph form.

 Pressley, Michael. Strategies That Improve Children's Memory and Comprehension of Text.  The Elementary School Journal. Volume 90, no.1. 1989.
Baker, Joanie. Reading Genie website.

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