Let’s Really Sum it Up!

Reading to Learn


Catherine Church

Rationale: One great way to show that you really understand what you have read is to sum up the main ideas in your own words.  This lesson will focus on helping children learn how to summarize.  They will learn how to pick out the important information of what they are reading.

Materials:

Pencil

Paper

Stellaluna by: Janell Cannon, San Diego: Harcourt Brace, 1993

Big chart of a summarization checklist

 

Procedures:

1. We are going to learn a new strategy to help us understand what we are reading.  This is called summarizing.  Summarizing is when you locate all of the important parts of a story and leave out the details that are not really important.

2. Give all the students a copy of the story Stellaluna.  Introduce the story to them: This is a story about a baby bat who gets seperated from its mother one night.  The baby bat tries to become part of a bird family, but it is just too different from the birds, it is sad and lonely.  Read the story to find out what happens to the bat.  Ask all of them to read the story silently.

3. When they have finished have them look up at the board.  Now we are going to try to summarize this story together.  Show them the chart with the summarization steps on it: 1. Delete unimportant information
            2. Delete repeated information
            3. Substitute easy terms for lists of terms
            4. Add a series of events with an easy action term
            5. Select a topic
            6. Invent a topic sentence if there is not one

 4. What are a few words that might tell us what the whole story is about? (Write their thought on the board as a web with the main words as the center of the web) Tell me some of the things that happened in the story to the bat (these thoughts are smaller circles coming off the center)

5. Have the students copy the web onto their own paper and add some more thoughts in small groups as you walk around and see what they come up with. Then have them share their ideas with the class and finish the big web on the board.

6. Have the students help you write a paragraph using the web. Show them how to write a topic sentence using the words they came up with in the middle of the web.  Have them come up with sentences for you to write on the board to summarize the story. 

Evaluation

Choose a book for them to summarize in centers or at home for homework. Evaluate the paragraphs by checking to see if they included all of the imporant information from the story, did they delete important parts, did they include unneccisary information, did they understand the main idea of their story?

Reference:  Bell, Ginny. That Really Sums it Up: Reading to Learn.
http://www.auburn.edu/academic/education/reading_genie/explor/bellrl.html

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