Summarization Safari

Reading to Learn

Elizabeth Anne Odom

Rationale:  It is very important that children be able to comprehend material that they read.  Without reading comprehension children do not have an understanding of what they read.  This is why teaching children how to use summarization as a strategy can ensure success in future reading comprehension.  In this lesson children will learn why summarization is so important and how to use summarizations strategies to summarize the texts.

Materials:  Paper, Pencil, and a copy of The Tiny Seed by Eric Carle for each student.


1.   First it is very important to review what silent reading means with the children.  “Class today we are going to practice reading quietly to ourselves.  So quietly that even your closest neighbor cannot hear you.”  (Then show them how to silent read by demonstrating.)  “Watch me when I read silently, you can see my mouth move but you don’t hear a sound. 

 2.   2.  Then explain to them how we can practice comprehension by summarizing what we have read.  “Class have you ever read a story and your friend asked you what the story was about?  You have!  Great, do you know that when you explained to your friend about the story without rereading the story to him or her that you where summarizing the story to them.  When you summarize you are practicing good reading comprehension.  

       3.  Then introduce the book The Tiny Seed to the students.  “Class today we are going to read the book The Tiny Seed.  This book is about flower seeds that are spread when a strong fall wind carries them to all different places. Some of the seeds are lost, some are burned by the sun, some are eaten by birds, and some fall into the ocean.  Will the seeds survive this journey and make beautiful flowers?  You will have to read the book to see."  Now I want you to read the first three pages of the book to yourself.  While you are reading it is important to ask yourself who, what, when, where, and why.  After you finish reading I am going to ask you some questions. “  Allow them to read the passage then ask them a variety of questions some that are key points in the story and others that are not. 

       4.  After asking the students the questions, reread the passage to them.  During the reading point out the key points to the students as you read.   Also it is important to explain why some points are not important either, like the color of the car the man was washing.  While reading it is important to model to the students who, what, when, where, and why.  “Class, ask yourself: Who is the story about, what is it about, what is going on, when is this taking place, where it is taking place, and why is it happening?”

5.   5.  Next have the students take out their paper and pencils.  “Class I want you to use your paper and pencil and label the top of your papers: who, what, when, where, and why.  Now I want you to read the remainder of the book and fill out these questions on your own."

       6.  For Assessment, the teacher will collect all of the student’s papers and review them to see if the students were able to find all of the five “w” questions. 


The Reading Genie Website:

Carle, Eric. The Tiny Seed.  Aladdin. 2001. 40 pgs.

Bruce Murray:  Information from class lecture notes.

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