Let's Get it Together!
 Reading to Learn

Mary Elizabeth Sandlin


Children need to learn strategies that will help reading for comprehension.  Children must be able to focus on the main ideas of the passage in order to increase comprehension.  Summarizing is one strategy that children can use to increase comprehension.  Explicit instruction is needed when children are learning how to comprehend what they are reading.  They need to be taught about to ignore or eliminate the not so important facts and focus on the important main facts of the story. They should learn about to create a topic sentence by comprehending what they read. If these strategies are implemented, children will be able to summarize and comprehend what they are reading.


·        Pencil

·        Paper

·        Chart paper

·        12" by 12" squares on poster board

·        Copies of "The Truth Behind Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man's Chest" for each student

By Deborah Underwood

National Geographic Kids Magazine

September 08, 2006


·        Checklist for each student- with following:

1.     Delete unimportant information

2.     Delete repeated information

3.     Substitute easy words for lists of items

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

5.     Select a topic

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



1.      Introduce the lesson by explaining what summarizing is and why it is important when you read. Ask the class, Can anyone tell me what it means to summarize?  Explain to them that summarizing means when you take out the main points and put it in a summary.  A summary will describe the main points in the text.  When you are reading a story to summarize you take out the non important facts and just focus on the important facts. Can anyone give me an example summary of a story they have recently read? Give the students a chance to respond.  Now I will give you all an example summary of a book we have just read. (Summarize a story that has been recently read in class)  Ask the class "Have any of you tried to summarize a story before?" Well today we are going to be learning how to summarize.

2.     Today we will be reading silently and summarizing what we read.  Today we are going to read an article about Pirates.  The article is called "The Truth Behind Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man's Chest" Can anyone guess what this article might be about?  (Give students a chance to respond) Now we are going to read a little part of the article and find some important points. So, let's makes sure to pay attention while reading. Give a book talk before reading: "Do pirates really bury their treasure?  Did woman really dress as men?  You'll have to read the rest of the article to find out these interesting facts about real pirates". Have the students read the article to themselves. Now lets discuss together some of the important facts of what we just read.  This is will help us summarize our story. Teacher and students discuss the article they read.

3.     Okay, now that you have read the article and know what summarizing means, we can learn the six steps of summarizing. (Record on chart paper)   

                     1. Delete unimportant information.
                     2. Delete repeated information.
                     3. Substitute easy words for lists of items.
                     4. Add a series of events with an easy action term.
                     5. Select a topic.
                     6. Invent a topic sentence if there is not one.

It is important to ignore the unimportant information and just concentrate on the important points. .  This will help us to focus on the main points of the article. .  For example, when we are reading about pirates we may want to remember what kind of pirates they are talking about because those are the key points in the story.

4.     Let's talk about what you read in the article together. I am going to draw a web on my poster. "A web helps us see what the main points are in our story." Remember to look at the summary checklist on our other chart.  Where do I put the main topic on our web?  (the middle) Very good!  What should I put in the middle of the web?  (The Truth Behind Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man's Chest")  Very nice!  Who can give me a main point from the article? Call upon the students and record their comments on the web.  Explain to the students that we should be able to use the web to summarize the article.

5.     Now I will have the children work in groups of 2.  Pass out the poster board squares, individual checklists, and markers to each pair of students.  "A wonderful way to help us learn to summarize is by creating a web just like the one we did together.  Can anyone tell me how to begin the web?  Great!  We place the topic of the article in the center of our posters.  Then I want you to write facts about the article you just read. I will be walking around to see if anyone needs help". Make sure you use the checklist we wrote down to help you summarize the article.


In order to assess the children understands of the topic I will walk around the room as they work together on the web.  I will compare their checklists with their webs.  They will also individually write a brief summary paragraph based on their web from the article. That will help the teacher see if the student is able to ignore the non important information. I will ask questions about the article to the students, such as

·        What did the pirates display in the movie that is not true to pirates in real life?

·         Using evidence from the article, do you think the movie was accurate to real pirate life?  Explain why or why not.


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