Learning to Summarize
Reading to Learn
Because it is important for children to be able to focus on the main
points in a passage and understand what they are reading, it is
important to teach children strategies to help them improve in
comprehension. One strategy to improve their comprehension is
summarization. As students begin reading expository texts, it is
crucial that they be taught how to eliminate trivial facts so they can
understand the main idea better. Explicit instruction is needed to help
students read and recall information on what they have read. This
lesson will provide students with summarization tools that they will
practice when using an expository article and a graphic organizer.
Children’s articles: New “Rainbow Glow” Jellyfish Found and “Megamouth
Shark Picture: Ultra-Rare Shark Found Eaten”, from National Geographic
Smartboard and markers (or projector)
Dry erase board
Dry erase board markers
Bookmark checklist for summarizing:
1. Delete unimportant information
2. Delete repeated information
3. Highlight the important and necessary details using key words.
4. Choose a topic.
5.Create a topic sentence if there is not one.
1. “Today we are going to learn how to summarize.
This is a very helpful strategy to use when reading. Can anyone tell me
what it means to summarize something?” See if students have some kind
of background knowledge that summarizing involves reading a text and
picking out the important parts or main ideas and deleting the
information that isn’t important.
2. I will pass out the bookmark checklists to the
class. “I am going to teach you six simple steps to help you learn how
to summarize”. I will thoroughly explain each of the six steps which
include: deleting unimportant and repeated information, highlighting
the important words, choosing a topic, and creating a topic sentence if
there is not one already given.
3. “Now that you know what it means to summarize and
how to do it I am going to show you another strategy. When you are
summarizing it can be very helpful to use a graphic organizer to map
out the key points or details. This can make it really easy to look
back at the key points and remember what the article or story was
4. At this point I will pull up the article
“Ultra-Rare Shark Found Eaten” onto the Smartboard. “ This article is
very similar to the one you are going to read.” I will read the short
article to the class so I can model how to summarize to the students.
“While I am reading the story to myself I am thinking about what points
are the most important. For example I know the article is about
Megamouth Sharks so I am going to write that in the middle of my web
(draw on the dry erase board). As I re-read, the article the first
important fact that I notice is that the shark was very rare so I am
going to draw a line out on my web and write that fact because it is
important to know why this shark was so special. As I continue reading
the article I notice that the quote by Yokelee Lee is really not very
important so I am going to cross that out. Who can tell me the next
important fact in the article?” After modeling twice, scaffold the
students to begin finding important facts on their own. Finish
summarizing the article by completing the web using the checklist.
Write the important information and topic sentence on the web and
delete all the unnecessary information.
5. Now give each student a copy of the article
“Rainbow Glow”, a piece of paper and a pencil. Have the children read
the article silently to themselves. Then have them summarize the
article by using their bookmark to help remind them of the steps.
6. Finally have them create a map or web that
summarizes the article.
I will have the students turn in their webs and compare them to the
checklist on the bookmark. The students will also use their webs to
write a summary of the text. I will evaluate the summary to see if
students identify the steps listed on the checklist.
Fain, Lizzie. “Let’s Get It Together”
Cassie. “To Sum It All Up…”
“Megamouth Shark Picture: Ultra-Rare Shark Found”, National Geographic.
April 13, 2009.
‘Rainbow Glow’ Jellyfish Found”, National Geographic. April 13, 2009.
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