What’s the Point

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Reading to Learn

Jennifer Redd



Rationale: The overall purpose of reading is to gain comprehension. Summarization is a successful strategy that allows students to be able to understand and comprehend the text. There are a few guidelines that are essential part of gaining comprehension. It begins when you get rid of unnecessary or repeated information, find the most important items or events, and write a statement covering everything the author is trying to say. Students can begin by applying these steps and practice using the following article.



White board and markers

Paper, highlighter, and pencil for each student

Multiple photocopies of article A Rare Kiwi Hatches in Captivity by Catherine Clarke Fox (http://news.nationalgeographic.com/kids/2006/04/zookiwi.html)

Is there any unimportant or repeated information found within their summerization?
Are any list simplified?
Has the student located or created a meaningful topic sentence?


  1. Ask the children, “Does anyone know what summarization is?”  Have a class discussion on summarization.  “Summarization is picking out the important facts out of something that you are reading.  When you summarize, you don’t worry with all the details.  Today, we’re going to learn how to summarize so that you all can be better readers.  We’re going to read silently at our desks.  Can anyone tell me how we’re supposed to read silently at our desks?  Well, we read to ourselves, and we don’t talk to anyone around us.
  2. “There are three steps to summarizing a story.”  Read them a short paragraph of a story and model how to summarize it.  Point to the poster 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 few paragraphs of the article before focusing on the summarization techniques.  Go over the summarization techniques again, and then have the students reread the paragraphs.  Tell them, “When you read the article the second time, cross out all the information that isn’t important to the story with a pencil. Circle the sentences that you think are important and then finally, take all the circled sentences and combine them into a sentence or two that sums up the whole story.”  Tell them to use the three summarization techniques.  Tell them to write down the facts that they think are important.  Model you three facts that you think are important after they read theirs aloud.  This will help them when they do this later.  
  4. Ask the students to silently read the article and use their checklist to summarize the information and write it on a sheet of paper. “Once you are finished with your summarization, you may quietly look nearby for another person who is finished and share your completed summaries with one another.” Walk around and glance at the topic sentences being written and provide help if needed.
  5. Once everyone is complete the students can volunteer to come and share with the class what they found to be the main ideas of the article. Help them to walk through their thought process using the steps as a checklist.


I will collect the students work and use a check list for determining if the student has a good grasp on summarizing while reading expository text.

Pressley, M., Johnson, C. J., Symons, S., McGoldrick, J. A., & Kurity, J. A. (1998). Strategies that improve children’s memory and comprehension of text.  The
    Elementary School Journal, 90, 3-32

Fox, Catherine Clarke. A Rare Kiwi Hatches in Captivity. National Geographic for Kids. April 05, 2006

Lyle, Amanda. Madagascar-Simply Summarized.  

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