Summarizing Isn’t So Crabby

Kayla Petty

Reading to Learn Lesson Plan


We have learned that the main goal of reading is gaining understanding and comprehension of what has been read.  In order for readers to develop a strong sense of comprehension, it is helpful for beginning readers to learn and practice summarization skills so they will be able to identify and recall main ideas from a particular passage in a text.  Summarizing helps readers see what is important to set aside unimportant parts of a text.  To express that they have really comprehended a certain passage, readers must be able to sum up what they have just read in their own words.  In this lesson, students will learn how to pick out important information to create a topic sentence.


-Class set of the article “Crabs Clean Up” by Catherine Clarke Fox, National Geographic Kids. 22 August 2007.


-Dry Erase markers


-Large web or semantic chart (chart with a circle in the middle for the topic or main idea with key points and ideas outside)

-Bookmarks with summarization rules listed:

 1. Delete unimportant or repeated information

 2. Highlight the important and necessary details using key words and headings

 3. Select a topic sentence that covers the main idea or invent a topic sentence if there is not already one.

-Paper for each student

-Highlighter for each student

-Summarization checklist for each student

Did the Student....



Get rid of unimportant information



Get rid of repeated information



Select a topic



Write a topic statement that covers everything that is important from the passage of text




1.      Introduce the lesson by explaining that we are going to learn a new strategy to help our comprehension skills.  "Today, we are going to learn a strategy that is called summarization.  It will help us understand the text that we are reading better.  Does anyone know what the word summarization means?" "Good Answer, that is correct." Summarizing means you take the main or the most important ideas out of a passage as you read.  When you summarize, you can understand and comprehend what you have read better.  It will be helpful when retelling the passage to others."

2.      Review the strategies for fluency with all of the students. "What do we do when we have trouble reading or recognizing a word in a sentence?" "Good job!" We use crosschecking and crosscheck what we have read to make sure that the sentence makes sense. Write the following sentence on the board: The cake was a nice gift.  When I read the sentence as, ‘The cak was a nic gift’, then I could crosscheck to determine that the sentence does not make sense. I would reread my sentence correctly as, ‘The cake was a nice gift."

3.      Hand out the bookmarks with the summarization rules written on them. “On your bookmark you will see summarizations rules to help us comprehend and understand what we read."  Read the rules out loud to the students while having them following along. “These three steps are:

1. Delete unimportant or repeated information

2. Highlight the important and necessary details using key words and headings

3. Select a topic sentence that covers the main idea or invent a topic sentence if there is not already one.”

4. Next I will show the students a copy of the article, “Crabs Come Clean”.  “This passage is     about Trapeziid Crabs helping coral reefs survive.  These crabs also rely on coral reefs to live.  These crabs are very small but make a huge difference.  Now I want each of you to read this passage silently.  Can someone tell me what silent reading is? It means we read to ourselves without bothering those around us. We are not to make any sounds using our mouths.  When we read silently we can sit comfortably.” I will then model how to read aloud and then in silence sitting crisscross on the floor and read to myself. I will explain different strategies that can be used during silent reading. “I can use my finger to guide me as I read and I may move my mouth but there will be no sounds made."This is how I expect you to read the passage.  I want you to read the passage from the article “Crabs Clean Up” silently to yourselves. Remember to use your steps and look for good ideas and information as you read so we can summarize what we read.  You should put your hands in your lap when you are done so I will know who has finished.”

5.  I will walk around the room and help them if there are any problems or confusion.  Once everyone is finished I will have them all look to the front and I will explain and model making a semantic map.  "Now we are going to use a semantic map to help us summarize what we read.  After reading it is helpful for readers to concentrate on the main ideas in a passage for better comprehension. If we read a passage on Sea Turtles, we would write Sea Turtles in the middle of the map to show the main topic. We would then write facts that we learned out to the side. Can anyone tell me what the main topic or idea is?  That’s correct!  It’s about small crabs that protect coral reefs.  Since the crabs and coral reefs are the main topic I am going to put ‘crabs and coral reefs help one another’ in the circle on my map."  I will write this on the map so that everyone can see.  "Now let's discuss what we learned about the crabs and what they do."  I will write the key words and information the students come up with.  Such as, (Crabs keep sediment off reefs; Coral provides home for crabs). This information will branch off the main topic circle. 

6.  "Does everyone understand?  Ok, now I want everyone to finish reading this article silently.  When you are finished I want you to make your own semantic map and then write a summary of the article.  You may use your bookmark and remember to write only key information.  Don’t forget you may use your highlighter to highlight the important information that you want to summarize.  After you have done this combine your information into a summary of the main idea of the passage.  After everyone has completed their summarizations, we will all share them with the rest of the class."


For assessment I will observe them as they are working.  When they have finished I will take up their maps and summaries.  I will then use the checklist in the materials section to evaluate each student’s summary.  I will evaluate each child on their ability to delete the trivial and repeated information by making note of the unimportant information they have given me and note if the topic sentence pertains to the main idea. I will have each child read and explain their summary to see how well each student comprehended the article. Following this I will ask the students questions correlated with the passage and our maps.


Reading Genie site.

Herring, Brittney. Spectacular Summarizers

“Crabs Clean Up” by Catherine Clarke Fox, National Geographic Kids. 22 August 2007.

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