Sum it Up!

Cydney Dorsey, Reading to Learn


Dragonfly Flying

Rationale: Successful readers must use the tools of reading to comprehend the text that they are reading. Reading is not successful if meaningful comprehension is not the end outcome. Strategies that have proven to be effective in enhancing students’ reading comprehension include: summarization, representational imagery, mnemonic devices, story grammar, question generation, and question answering. This lesson design will focus on the skill of summarizing by teaching students’ how to pull the important details out of informational articles they will read.


-Class set of "To Catch a Dragonfly" articles:

-Class set of "Antarctica Warming, Threatens Penguins" articles:

-Summarization Hints poster: Focus on the main points. Summarize each paragraph as you read. Compose a paragraph detailing the author's main points about the topic you read.

-Summarization Rules poster: Delete trivial information, Delete redundant information, Substitute general terms for a list of items, Integrate a series of events with a general action term, Identify the topic sentence, Invent a topic sentence if there is none.

-Highlighter for each student

-Chart paper


-Pencils for each student

-Assessment Worksheets: Include places for them to summarize each paragraph in the article, Include place for them to summarize the article as a whole.


1. Introduce the lesson to the students.

Begin by explaining to the students what it means to summarize an informational article.

Say: "Students, summarizing is what we do to tell the whole of what a piece of text is about in just a few sentences. Summarizing does not include many details, but focuses only on the main points of the text."

2. Present the Summarizing Rules & Summarizing Hints posters.

Say: "Students, these posters can give you some guidelines to go by when summarizing a piece of text. First, it is important to delete all trivial information that you read. Trivial information is information that is not pertinent to the main point of the article – these can be supporting details, or trivial facts. Secondly, it is important to delete all redundant information – oftentimes, you may find that information is repeated several times throughout the text. It is important to process the information the first time, but redundancies should not be acknowledged. Next, be conscious of lists of items or events – these should be condensed into a generalized concept. Pay attention to topic sentences of each paragraph, as these are helpful in identifying the main points of the writing. If topic sentences are not easily identifiable, attempt to create a topic sentence for each paragraph."

3. Guided Practice.

Next, I will pass out the “Antarctica Warming” articles. I will read this article aloud to the students, displaying it on the document viewer. As we read, I will stop at the end of each paragraph modeling and asking the students to assist me in summarizing each paragraph. I will write down each sentence that we use to summarize each paragraph on large chart paper. Once we have reached the end of the article, we will go over all the paragraph summarization sentences on our chart paper, and I will use these and combine them to create a whole article summary.

 4. Independent Practice.

Pass the “To Catch a Dragonfly” articles out to the class. Explain to them that they will be reading them silently. Suggest that they use their highlighters to highlight main ideas of the article as they read, to make their summarization easier. They should complete their summarization worksheet as they read, summarizing each paragraph, before summarizing the entire article. While the students are reading, the teacher will circulate the classroom, helping students as they read silently and assessing their completion of the summarization worksheets.

5. Once the students have finished, they should turn their summarization worksheets in for the teacher to look over and assess. The teacher should be certain to check that the students followed the guidelines of summarization presented earlier in the lesson.


White, Amy. Fly High & Summarize.


Saye, Maggie. Sum It Up!

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