Summarizing Summer

Reading to Learn

Allison Nall



Rationale:  Comprehension is very important when it comes to successful reading.  Knowing how to properly summarize helps children to comprehend the reading better.  There are strategies to follow that help students comprehend reading material.  To summarize means to get rid of unimportant information, keep the important information, and know how to organize that information. By summarizing, children will learn to recognize the most important information



  1. Ask the class, “Do you know what summarization means?”  Have a class discussion on summarization.  “Summarization is picking out the important facts out of something that you are reading.  When you summarize, you ignore the details.  Today, we’re going to learn how to summarize so that you all can be great readers.  We’re going to read silently at our desks.  Do you remember how we’re supposed to read silently at our desks?  That means we only read to ourselves, and we don’t talk to or disturb anyone around us.”
  2. “There are three important steps to know when you summarize a story.”  Read them a short paragraph of a story and model how to summarize it.  Point to the board with the summarization techniques on it.  “Before we begin to read, let’s go over the three important things to remember when you read.  The first step is to pick out important ideas from the story.  The second step is to throw away the details that are not important.  The third step is to organize the important ideas and make one main idea of the story.”
  3. Pass out the article to each student.  Have them read silently through the first paragraph of the article first.  Go over the summarization techniques again, and then have the students reread the first paragraph of the article. Model for them by showing which sentences can be deleted. “I’m going to cross out these sentences, because they are only details”. Next, show them how to pick out the important information. “I think that this sentence in important because it is one of the main ideas in the paragraph. I am going to circle this one and keep it”. Tell them, “When you read the story this time, cross out all the information that isn’t important to the story with a marker. Circle the sentences that you think are important. Lastly, take all the circled sentences and combine them into a sentence or two that sums up the whole article.”  Tell them to use the three summarization techniques. After they have crossed out and circled sentences, tell them to write down the facts that they think are important.  Share your three facts with them that you think are important after they read theirs aloud so that you can model how to do it.  This will help them when they do this later.   
  4.  The students should have a primary understanding of how to summarize a story now. Give each student a piece of paper.  Tell them to make two columns.  In the first column, they should put “Deleted Information.”  In the second column, put “Important Ideas.” Explain to them that the information from the story goes into the two columns.  Model using the first paragraph again.  Put all crossed out sentences in the “Deleted Information” column. Put all circled information in the “Important Ideas” column. This will be a good scaffold for the students.  If a student continues to have problems putting the information into the columns on paper. “Everyone please finish reading your article silently. You should have two columns on your paper, write the sentences in the proper column, and if you need to, continue to cross out unimportant information and circle important stuff. Remember to write down all of your information as you go.”
  5.  Continue to practice summarization strategies so that children can successfully the skill of summarizing.


 You can check their summarization skills by checking their work. They should have two columns with the appropriate content in each one. They should also have a separate paragraph which summarizes the main ideas of the article. You could also give the students a different article, so they could summarize something new.


Britton, Kristen. Plug it All In.


Meadows, Michelle. A Primer on Summer Safety.