That About Sums It Up!

 

Hannah Pipkin

Lessons for Teaching Summarization

Rationale: The goal of this lesson is to teach students how to summarize text they have read.  It can be difficult to pick out the significant parts to remember in a passage while reading.  By summarizing the text read, the student’s will be able to understand the main points of a reading better.  This lesson will focus on comprehending and learning how to segregate the important parts of a reading from the less important parts.   This lesson will introduce the concept of summarization, and provide chances to practice what they have learned about summarizing.

Materials:

1. A chart with 5 summarization steps:

          1. Pick out important details that are needed in the story.

2. Pick out less important/repeated items and delete them.

3. Use an easy action term for a series of events.

4. Pick out the topic sentence.

5.  Create a topic sentence if one does not exist.

2. One copy per student of the article, “Cool Things about Elephants,” by Aline Newman (found at http://www.nationalgeographic.com/ngkids/0606/)

3. One copy per student of the article “A Big Day for America!” from National Geographic News (April 13, 2007)

4. Notebook Paper

5. Pencils

6. Sentence strip with Bob is fat written on it

 

Procedure:

Step 1: Today we will learn how to read text and understand the meaning of the text by summarization.  Before we talk about that, can anyone tell me what it means to read silently? (Give students a chance to respond) Those are some great ideas.  Reading silently is kind of like whisper reading.  Let’s read this sentence together as a whisper read. Bob is fat.  Good job.  This time let’s read it less loud.  Great job now, can you read the sentence inside your head without opening your mouth?  Good! That’s what reading silently is; reading quietly to ourselves.  Why do you think we read silently? (Give student’s a chance to respond)  There can be several reasons to read silently, but the main reason to read to yourself is to soak in and understand what you are reading.

          Summarizing what we are reading can help us comprehend what we are reading as well.  Does anyone know what summarizing means? (Give students a chance to respond)  Summarizing is when we pick out the most important parts of a text and leave the unimportant parts out when retelling the story.  This will make the text shorter allowing us to remember only the main points. Now, who can tell me what summarization means? (Give students a chance to respond) Great job; it is when we tell only the important parts of a text.  Next we are going to take a look at 5 steps that will help us learn how to summarize texts that we read.  We will also practice summarizing.

Step 2: Show the chart of the 5 summarization steps

5 summarization steps:

          1. Pick out important details that are needed in the story.

2. Pick out less important/repeated items and delete them.

3. Use an easy action term for a series of events.

4. Pick out the topic sentence.

5.  Create a topic sentence if one does not exist.

By using these 5 steps you will find it easier when trying to summarize a text you have just read.  Let’s walk through each step and talk about how to use it.  The first thing we will do is pick out any details that look important in the story.  Secondly, we will thumb through the less important details or repeated items and eliminate them.  The third thing we will do is replace the long lengthy statements with action words that have the same meaning. The fourth thing we will do is pick out what the topic sentence is.  Lastly, if there is not a topic sentence you should create one that represents the text well.

Step 3: Pass out the article “A Big Day for America” from the National Geographic News (April 13, 2007) to each student.  Tell the children to read the article silently like we practiced reading earlier.

Step 4: Now I am going to model for you how to summarize a paragraph using the 5 summarization steps that we talked about on our chart.

The first thing I will do is pick out the most important parts of the paragraphs. - Why American was celebrating, where did America land, and what did the Americans leave behind.  Next, I remembered key words like 400th Anniversary, 1607, Jamestown, and British colonies.  The final step I did was choosing a topic sentence; “America recognized a 400th anniversary in May, 2007.”  Listen as I read my summarization of the first four paragraphs.

“In May, 2007, American recognized a 400th anniversary. Colonists arrived in Jamestown, Virginia on May 13, 1607 and created the first representative government in the British colonies.”

Step 5: Next review the 5 steps to summarization to help the children remember the process.  In order to help the children know which parts of the text is important ask questions about important parts of the article.  Why is America celebrating in this article? (Give students a chance to respond) Right; Americans are celebrating their 400th anniversary.  What year or month did the colonists arrive in America? Good; it was May 13, 1607.  By asking the students questions about important information, it gives them a better idea of what to be looking for while reading.

Step 6: Now I want you to show me how you can summarize something you read.  Here is a copy of an article from the National Geographic Explorer Classroom Magazine about Elephants.  Provide a book talk for the students by asking questions about the article.  Do you think elephants can remember things for a long period of time or a short period of time?  Do you think elephants are large or small?  Are elephants gentle or aggressive?  Let’s read to find out!  Remember to look back at you chart with the 5 summarization steps on it in order to help you summarize the text after you read it.

Step 7:  After you read this article, I want you to write a summary of what you have just read.  Think in your head about important questions that you thought of while you were reading.  Write down the essential parts of the text and leave out the parts that you do not think are important.  Again, remember to use your chart.

Step 8: While the children are reading and working on summarizing the information they have read, walk around the room to monitor the progress and help the children that ask for assistance.

Step 9: Assess what the students have done by having them turn in their summaries to be looked at by you.  What to look for:

1. Does the summary cover what the topic is talking about?

2. Does the summary have the most important details listed?

3. Are unimportant details are left out?

4. Is there a topic sentence that goes along with the reading was chosen?

 

References:

Terry, Robin. National Geographic News: A Big Day for America. April 13, 2007. http://kids.nationalgeographic.com/Stories/History/Jamestown

National Geographic for Kids (2006). Cool Things about Elephants.  
 http://www.nationalgeographic.com/ngkids/0606/5.html.

Swanson, Katie. Can You Bear To Summarize It??? http://www.auburn.edu/academic/education/reading_genie/sightings/swansonrl.html

Graves, Lindsay. I'm Thankful I can Summarize!
http://www.auburn.edu/academic/education/reading_genie/constr/gravesrl.html

 

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