One Whale of a Summary

Cameron Pass

A Summarization Lesson Plan


The goal of reading is comprehension.  In order to develop this comprehension, it is important for a beginning reader to practice summarization and picking out the important parts of their reading.  For students to demonstrate that they understand what they read, they can show this by summarizing the main parts of the reading.



One bookmark with rules of summarizing on it for each student:

1. Pick out the important facts from the passage
2. Remove the information that is not very useful, or that does not back up the topic sentences
3. Pick out the repeated ideas and delete them.
4. Pick out a topic sentence or create one if you can’t find one.

One copy of the National Geographic article, “Slow Down for Calvin the Right Whale!” per student

One copy of “Giant Jellyfish Invasion” for each student






1. Who can tell me what the word comprehension means?  Good job!  To comprehend something means to understand it. At the beginning of the school year, we created the class rules, we read them, and we discussed them. Once we understood the rules, everyone signed a sheet that said they comprehended the rules. The main goal of reading is to comprehend, or to understand the text.

2. Today, we are going to learn some strategies that will help us comprehend text by learning how to summarize! Let's start by learning some important steps to summarization.

3. I will have created a transparency of the article and will use the overhead projector to model to students how to summarize.

4. Follow along with me on your paper as I highlight and cross out on my own. We will practice this one together, and then everyone will pick their own national Geographic article to summarize.

5. Read the passage along with the students. Use your bookmark to help you remember key tips to summarization. After reading the first paragraph, ask students to read the 4 tips to themselves.  First, I’m going to highlight something I think is important.  Highlight “Called Nomura's jellyfish, the wiggly, pinkish giants can weigh up to 450 pounds (204 kilograms)—as heavy as a male lion—and they're swarming by the millions.”  Next, I’m going to cross out something I think isn’t so important.  Cross out “Are aliens attacking the Sea of Japan? Not exactly.”

6. Read the second paragraph with the students and ask "Now are there any important facts in this paragraph? Yes! Now let's highlight that sentence together." Highlight the important facts in the second paragraph. "Now are there any facts we can delete? Very good, cross those out with your pencil by drawing a line through them" (all the while, the teacher is doing the same things on the overhead along with the students.) "Are there any repeated ideas?  Let’s mark those out too. What about a topic sentence? Lets underline it." Point out to students that sometimes the first sentence of a paragraph can be helpful in creating your topic sentence.  Continue to finish the passage in this manner, paragraph by paragraph with the students.

7. When the class is done identifying the important ideas, create a short three sentence summary of the passage. Do this on the board and as a class.



In order to asses students, give each student a copy of the article “Giant Jellyfish Invasion.” Have them cross out, underline, and highlight the appropriate sentences. After they have done this, have students write a short paragraph summarizing the article in their own words. Students should turn in both article and summary to be evaluated. Use the given checklist to evaluate the student's articles that they marked on, as well as the summary they created.



Did Not

Crossed out less important sentences



Highlighted/Underlined important sentences



Formulated a topic sentence



Created a summary paragraph






“Summing it up” by Laura Ashley Norman

“Slow Down for Calvin the Right Whale!”  By Catherine Clarke Fox

“Giant Jellyfish Invasion”  By Ruth A. Musgrave

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