Summing Up for an Easy Read

 

 

Megan O’Brien

Reading to Learn



Rationale:  This lesson will help children learn strategies to facilitate comprehension of text. It is important for children to improve their comprehension skills because the purpose of reading text is to comprehend the material.  Comprehension of the text is improved by summarizing.  This lesson will focus on improving summarization skills.  Students will learn to become readers who focus on comprehension through reading, observing the teacher model the proper methods of summarizing a text, and the individual practice of summarizing texts.  

 

Materials:

Paper

Pencils for each student

Projector

A copy of the article "Polar Bears Listed as Threatened" and "Lungless Frogs" from the website National Geographic Kids for each student (included)

Board

Rules for Summarizing:

1.     Pick out the most important information and highlight the key terms.

2.     Draw a line through the less important information.

3.     Substitute a series of events for a list of items.

4.     Add a series of events with an easy action term.

5.     Write a sentence that includes all of the important information.

6.     Create a topic sentence if there is not already one.

 

Procedures:    

     1.  Say:  It is very important to focus on comprehension during reading.  A reader who focuses on comprehending the text is more likely to understand the text and remember what was read.  One thing that helps improve comprehension skills is summarizing a reading.  It is important to be able to summarize a reading so that we can eliminate the information that it not important and focus on the more important portions of the text.  Today we are going to focus on learning the steps to summarizing.

 

     2.  There are six steps for summarizing a text.  (I am going to write the summarization rules on the board as I introduce them to the students).  The first rule in summarizing is to pick out the most important information and highlight the key words.  It is important to make note of the important information that you need to know to fully understand the text.  The key terms are words that describe the subject of the text or are words that are important to the text.  The second rule is to draw a line through the less important information.  Sometimes when we read a text there is a lot of information that is not important to understanding what the text is about.  We do not need to focus on unimportant information when summarizing a text.  The third rule is to substitute a series of events for a list of items.  It makes it easier to remember if we write the important information in a list of sequence.  The fourth rule is to add a series of events with an easy action term.  While summarizing, it helps to think of a word that describes the information.  The fifth rule is to write a sentence that covers everything that is important information from the passage.  When you list all of the important information in one sentence it easy to identify and remember exactly what the text was about.  The sixth rule is to invent a topic sentence if there is not already one.  It is important to have a topic sentence that describes a general idea of what the text is about. 

 

     3.  Now, we are going to practice following the summarization rules while reading "Polar Bears Listed as Threatened". This is an article about the dangers polar bears face in becoming extinct and what is causing them to become extinct.  First, we are going to read the article silently to ourselves.  Who knows what it means to read silently? (Wait for response).  When we read silently, we read to ourselves and not out loud where people can hear us reading.  When we read silently, if we have anything to say, we wait until everybody is finished reading.  It is important to read silently because it allows us to read and understand the text for ourselves.  Remember, reading fluently helps you to better comprehend the material.  So, practice recognizing words quickly and even reading with expression to yourself.  If you come to a word you do not know, just sound out the word to yourself, and then try reading it in the sentence to see if it makes sense. 

 

     4.  Everybody read the article "Polar Bears Listed as Threatened" silently, and then we are going to work together as a class to create a summary following the rules listed on the board.  (Pass out the article to each student and read the article silently to demonstrate proper silent reading; then, wait for the students to finish before beginning the demonstration).

 

     5.  After reading the article, can you tell me why the polar bears are becoming extinct? (Allow students to answer).  Now, we are going to follow all of the rules so we can make a good summary of this article that will help us remember the facts about polar bears becoming extinct.  (I will write the summarization as we create it on the projector).  First, let’s highlight the important information and the key words (I will display my copy of the article on the projector as I highlight).  I think that "Polar bears were added to the list of threatened species and will receive special protection under U.S. law" is an important part of this article that we need to remember to fully comprehend the text, so I am going to highlight this sentence.  I also think it is important to remember that "...the decline of Arctic sea ice is the greatest threat to the bears" is an important fact to remember, so I am also going to highlight this information.  A key word in this article is "threatened species", so I am going to highlight these two words.  Now, I want you to raise your hand and tell me information that is important to remember or key terms and I will highlight the sentence or words in the article (I will allow students to point out sentences that are important information and if the students read a sentence that is not important, I will explain why it is not important to remember that information).  Next, we are going to draw a line through all of the information that is not important.  I am going to give you a couple of examples of information that is not important to the article and then I will allow you to point out information that you think is unimportant to the article.  I don’t think it is important to remember that Dirk Kempthorne is the person who stated that the decline of the arctic sea is the problem in the decline of polar bears, so we can mark through his name.  It is important to remember what he said, but in this article it is not important to know who said the information.  I also think that it is not important to remember that "Scott Bergen is a landscape ecologist with the New York-based Wildlife Conservation Society", so we will mark through this information.  Now, I want you to raise your hand and tell me information that you think is not important to the article (I will allow students to list material that is unimportant and I will mark through the information, and if the students list information that is important, I will explain why it is important information to the text).  Okay, great, now that we have highlighted the important information and drawn through the unimportant information, it is easier to read through the article and create a good summary.  But, first, we have to finish following the rest of the rules.  Now, let’s write all of the important information in a list (I will then write the information on the projector for the students to see how to list the information).  When we write the information in a list, it makes it easy for us to read through the important information.  Next, we need to think of an easy term to identify what the summary is about.  For example, we could write "Polar Bears Declining".  Next, let’s write a sentence together that includes all of the important information in the article.  I am going to begin the sentence to give an idea of how to write the sentence, and then I will allow you to list information that should be included in the sentence (I will write the sentence on the projector).  I am going to start my sentence, "Polar bears are marine mammals in the arctic who are becoming extinct because of the decline of the arctic sea ice, the..." (I will then allow the students to list other important information for the sentence and I will continue writing the sentence on the projector).  Now, we need to create a topic sentence because there is not one in the article.  A topic sentence is a sentence that gives a brief description of what the article is about.  The topic sentence is kind of like a summary of the entire summary.  A good topic sentence for this article would be "Polar Bears are becoming extinct because of the decline in their habitat, being hunted, and what can be done to help save the polar bears" (I will write the sentence on the projector).

   

     6.  Now that we know how to summarize an article, I want you to practice reading the article "Lungless Frogs".  Before you read the article, I want to tell you a little bit about the article.  This article is about a frog that has a very special characteristic.  This type of frog can breathe without lungs.  We’ll have to read more to find out how the frog can breathe.  Remember to read silently and then make your own summary of this article (Pass out articles, paper, and pencils).  Remember, when you are summarizing the article to follow the rules for making a good summary (I will still have the rules listed on the board).

    

     7.  After the students have finished reading and creating their own summary, I will ask the students to pair up with another student and share summaries.  I will ask the students to pay attention to any differences in their summaries while discussing the article.    

 

     8.  I will assess the students knowledge by checking each student’s summary and making sure they 1.) highlighted the important information and key words, 2.) drew a line through the unimportant information, 3.) created a list of the important information, 4.) created an action term for the series of events, 5.) wrote a sentence that included all of the important information, 6.) and invented a topic sentence for the article.  I will also ask students how frogs breathe without lungs and if there are other animals that can breathe without lungs.  I will use this information to make sure the students understood the article and read the material.

 

Checklist

1.  Did the student highlight the important information and key words?

 

 

2.  Did the student draw a line through the unimportant information?

 


3.  Did the student create a list of the important information?

 


4.  Did the student create an action term for the series of events?

 


5.  Did the student write a sentence that included all of the important information?

 


6.  Did the student invent a topic sentence for the article?

 



 References:

 Mandy Jones.  Reading Genie Website.  Let’s Summarize.

http://www.auburn.edu/academic/education/reading_genie/sightings/jonesrl.html

 

"Polar Bears Listed as Threatened".  National Geographic Kids. 

http://kids.nationalgeographic.com/Stories/AnimalsNature/Polar-bears-threatened

 

"Lungless Frogs".  National Geographic Kids.

http://kids.nationalgeographic.com/Stories/AnimalsNature/Lungless-frog

 

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