Summing it All Up
Reading to Learn
 Lyndsay York

Rationale: Comprehension is one of the most important things to teach to children while they are learning how to read.  A good way to help children comprehend text is to summarize.  During this lesson the students will learn how to summarize an article by making a web.  They will also learn the six steps of summarization

Materials: copies of "The World's Smallest Bird" article from National Geographic for each student, pencil, paper, a checklist of the six steps of summarization for each student, marker, dry erase board, and 4 poster boards

1.) Start by reviewing how to read silently and introduce the article. "Have you ever wondered what the smallest bird in the world is?  Well today we are going to find out and read an article about the world's smallest bird.  First before we start reading I would like to review how to read silently.  Watch me as I read silently." I will read the first paragraph of the article to myself.  "Now I am going to pass out the article and I would like for each of you to read the title and the article to yourself.  I should not hear anyone making a sound.  I want to see your eyes following along as you read."
2.) "You all did a great job of reading silently!  Now we are going to learn how to summarize the article.  Who can tell me what a summary is?  Well a summary can be written by picking out the main points in a story or passage.  There are six different steps to keep in mind when you are summarizing." Write these steps on the dry erase board.
1. Delete unimportant information
2. Delete repeated information
3. Substitute easy terms for lists of items
4. Add a series of events with an easy action term
5. Select a topic
6. Invent a topic sentence if there is none
3.) "After seeing these six steps let's go back through the first paragraph of the article and write down some important facts and information that was in the article.  To do this we will use a web." Use the dry erase board to demonstrate this.  "The middle circle will be that main topic discussed in the article.  So what is the world's smallest bird? Yes, it is a hummingbird so this will be our center circle.  Now we will draw a line from this circle out to another circle, which will describe something important about the hummingbird.  What is something described in the article about a humminbird? The size of the hummingbird would be interesting so we would put in this circle that the weight of the smallest hummingbird is 2 grams.  In order to keep adding on to the web you will need to come up with some more important information from the article describing hummingbirds."  At this time allow the students' some time to finish their web or at least write down some more key points from the article.  Explain also after finishing the web you can write all of these important details into complete sentences, which will be about one paragraph and this will be your summary.
4.) Assessment: Divide the students' up into four groups and give each group a poster board and a marker.  Ask each student to bring their webs that they have done to their group.  Have the students' talk amongst themselves and come up with a web of their own by combining some key points from everyone's web.  Remind them of the six steps used in summarization.  This would be a good time for the teacher to walk around the classroom and make sure everyone is doing his or her part to help.  After everyone is finished hang each poster up and go over some of the key points.  Have each student on their own sheet of paper make their own map by using all of the webs combined.  Let them decide which key points seem most important to them.  Then have them turn over their piece of paper and have them write one paragraph on the world's smallest bird by using these key points.  Give them a list of the six steps to use while summarizing and have them get a partner to check off each step that they have used.

Pressley, Michael."Strategies That Improve Children's Memory and Comprehension of Text" The Elementary SchoolJournal. Volume 90, number 1. Pages 3-32. 1989.
National Geographic. Volume 177, number 6. Washington, D.C. pages 73-75. 1990.

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