Summing it all up in a Nutshell
"Reading to Learn"

By: Misti Willoughby

Rational: The major goal of reading is comprehension. To comprehend meanings of written text, there are certain techniques that students can use in order to have better understanding of what they are reading. One of the best techniques that a student can use is summarizing. It is important for children to be able to locate the most important information in a text.
Materials: A copy of Sarah, Plain and Tall by Patricia MacLachlan, (Harper Trophy, 1987) for each student, paper and pencils

1. First, the teacher will discuss with the students the importance of understanding what they are reading. In order to understand what you read, we are going to use a strategy called summarization which helps us pick out the important parts of the text.
2. The teacher will introduce the book to the students. (Book talk- The children’s mother died a day before one of the children Caleb is born, Papa used to sing all the time to the children but now that momma is gone he doesn’t anymore, so he decides to put an ad in the paper for a wife, and he receives a letter from Sarah Wheaton from Maine. So the children and papa write back wanting to know if she sang. She decides to come for a month and check it out. She describes herself to papa and she significantly tells him “I am plain and tall” Will Sarah be nice to them? Will she stay? Let’s read and find out.)Ê After the book talk, the children will read the first few pages. When they have finished, there will be a question and answer period on what they have just read. Questions can be who? What? When? Where? Why?Questions. The teacher also will ask them some questions at this time in order to help them focus.
3. The teacher will reread the passages that were assigned to the students. The teacher will point out the most important parts and those that are not. The teacher will model to the students how to ask the five "W" questions in order to find out what is important. "Ask yourselves what the story is about, who the story is about, and find out where the story takes place. Questions such as What does Sarah look like? Is she really tall or is she medium size? Where is Sarah from? What do you think they are going to think about this young woman that has come all the way from Maine to visit them for a month? The teacher will demonstrate by asking these types of questions.
4. Next, the children will label their papers with the 5 "W" questions. I will have the students finish reading the chapter. The students should fill in the paper with no problem after reading the text.
5. Assessment: Teacher will collect all of the student's papers to make sure they all know how to summarize correctly. The teacher will have a checklist to see that the children have found the important points.Ê 


-How does Sarah travel to their house?Ê 

-What is Sarah wearing?

-What does the letter say that Sarah wrote them?

-Is Sarah going to sing to them like Mama did?

-Where is Sarah from?

-What kinds of questions do they ask her?

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