Summarizing with the Snakes!


Reading to Learn

By : Laura Lee Nevins 

 

Rationale:  Comprehension is one of the most important things to teach to children while they are learning how to read.  A good way to help children learn this is to teach them summarizing skills, which allow them to retain only the important ideas. To be able to read and recall information from text, children need instruction in summarization.  By deleting trivial information, deleting redundant information and creating a topic sentence, students will be able to remember factual information better.

Materials:

Paper and pencils for each student

A copy of the summarization steps on a bookmark for each student made on cardstock paper and laminated: one per student

 Summarization steps:
   1. Pick out important details that are necessary to the story and highlight the key words.
  2. Eliminate the parts of the passage that are not important to the main idea or information that is repeated. .
   3. Pick a topic sentence out of the passage. Or, write a topic sentence if there is not   one.

 Overhead projector

 An overhead transparency of “Snake Safari” by Rom Whitaker http://magma.nationalgeographic.com/ngexplorer/0409/articles/mainarticle.html

 A copy of “Snake Safari” by Rom Whitaker- one per student http://magma.nationalgeographic.com/ngexplorer/0409/articles/mainarticle.html

 Checklist for assessing the student’s summarization paragraphs:

                ___ The student has a topic sentence.

                ___ There is no irrelevant, repeated information.

                 ___ The student has included all important information in the summary.

 

Procedures:
I will begin the lesson by explaining to the students how important it is that we understand what we read. “Good readers are not only fluent when they read, but they also understand what they read. This is called comprehension (write the word on the board). When you comprehend something that means that you understand it. Ask the students “Who can tell me what a summary is?  Well, a summary can be written by picking out the main points in a story or passage.  So, in order to comprehend what you read we are going to learn how to summarize, or write a summary. Summarizing helps us pick out the important parts of what you are reading.” There are three easy steps to summarizing. I will now pass out bookmarks to each student, that have the three steps.

 

 

Now, look at your bookmark. The three steps to summarizing are:

   1. Pick out important details that are necessary to the story and highlight the key words.
  2. Eliminate the parts of the passage that are not important to the main idea or information that is repeated. .
   3. Pick a topic sentence out of the passage. Or, write a topic sentence if there is not one.

 

 Now I will pass out a copy of “Snake Safari” by Rom Whitaker to each student. Then, I will give a booktalk on the article. Did you know that a king cobra snake can be 18 feet long? Let’s read “Snake Safari” to find out other cool facts about snakes!

 

I will put the article up on the overhead projector so that all of the students can see the article. I will read the first section of the article aloud. Then, I will highlight the important, key facts in the paragraph. “ Now students let’s read the paragraph and find the important facts, remember we do not need to know all the information.” Then, I will cross through the parts of the article that are not essential or are repeated. Finally, I will highlight the topic sentence. Then, I will use this information to write a summary. I will put in only the important facts as well as the topic sentence to the article.

 

 Now I will have the students read through the second part of the article silently. When all the students are done reading, I will divide them into groups and let them write a summarization paragraph together. I will leave the copy of the first summarization paragraph on the overhead for a reference for them to look at. I will remind them to use their bookmarks for help.

 

 

 

Assessment:

The teacher will circulate while the students are working, checking each summary making sure that the students are using all the steps of summarization. I will also be asking questions about the article to see if they comprehend, such as: how long can a kind cobra grow to be? Is a king cobra the largest snake?  Use a checklist including the items:

 Checklist:

                ___ The student has a topic sentence.

                 ___ There is no irrelevant, repeated information.

                 ___ The student has included all important information in the summary.

 

 References:

Gamble, Beth. Super Space Summarization. http://www.auburn.edu/academic/education/reading_genie/invent/gamblerl.html

Hood, Lara Lee. Ready Set, Read! http://www.auburn.edu/academic/education/reading_genie/sightings/hoodgf.html

Murray, Bruce.  Developing Reading Fluency http://www.auburn.edu/academic/education/reading_genie/fluency.html 

Whitaker, Rom. “Snake Safari”. http://magma.nationalgeographic.com/ngexplorer/0409/articles/mainarticle.html


Return to Project Index