Something's Fishy About Our Summaries


snorkling fish

 

Reading to Learn
Meg Terry

Rationale

Comprehension is the main purpose for reading, and being able to summarize is vital to understanding the reading. This lesson will help students with their summarization skills through the modeling of helpful summarizing strategies and having students use summarization graphic organizers for a reminder of the strategies for the students. The students will read an article and will hopefully create their own correct topic sentence for an article about elephants.

 

Materials

Copies of ‘Newly named fish crawls and hops’ from Science News for Kids, one per student (http://www.sciencenewsforkids.org/articles/20090311/Feature1.asp) 

Poster with summarization rules to display and bookmarks (one per student) with summarization rules:
          *Get rid of unimportant information.
          *Get rid of repeated information.
          *Organize items and events under one umbrella term.
          *Select a topic.
          *Write a topic statement that covers everything that is important from       
            the text.                            

A poster of the Blue Whale passage: ‘‘The blue whale is the largest animal known to have ever lived on Earth and is the largest mammal in the world. These massive creatures are hefty from the moment they are born and continue to add to their girth throughout their first year. A blue whale calf weighs two tons at birth and gains an extra 200 pounds each day of its first year.’’ (from http://kids.nationalgeographic.com/Animals/CreatureFeature/Blue-whales)

Paper

Pencils

Pens/Markers for each student

Highlighters for each student

Dry erase board and marker

Summarization Checklist:

Did the Student....

Yes

No

Get rid of unimportant information

 

 

Get rid of repeated information

 

 

Organize Items under One Umbrella Term

 

 

Select a topic

 

 

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

 

 

 

Procedure

1. Introduce the new comprehension strategy, summarization, to the students. ‘‘Today, we’re going to learn another way to help us understand and remember what we read— it called ‘summarization.’ Can anyone tell me what summarization is? It is being able to get rid of unimportant information and remember the important facts about a passage. Summarization helps our comprehension because we know what information helps us and we know what information does not.’’

2. ‘‘Before we start summarizing, let’s review our fluency strategy first. What is one thing we can do when a sentence doesn’t make sense to us? We can reread and cross-check to see if we missed something that would have helped the sentence make more sense to us. Write The boys played a prack on the girls. If I read the sentence ‘The boys played a prack on the girls.’ I would think, you know, that just doesn’t sound right. Let me check that again. The boys played a pppprrrraaaacccckkkkk on the girls. Prack? Ohhh, the boys played a prank on the girls! A prank is like a trick. Cross-checking helps us make sense of unfamiliar words and it improves our sight vocabulary.’’

3. ‘‘In order to comprehend or understand what we read, we have to summarize our reading. Here is our five rules for good summarization.’’ Read the rules from the poster to them. ‘‘Okay, I want you all to read this short passage about blue whales silently and when you are all done, we will summarize the topic together.’’

4. ‘‘Let’s look at the blue whale poster. Read it silently as I read it aloud: ‘The blue whale is the largest animal known to have ever lived on Earth and is the largest mammal in the world. These massive creatures are hefty from the moment they are born and continue to add to their girth throughout their first year. A blue whale calf weighs two tons at birth and gains an extra 200 pounds each day of its first year.’ On our summarization rules poster it says to that we first need to get rid of unimportant information.’ With this marker I will cross out ‘and is the largest mammal in the world’ first. Because we know that the blue whale is the largest animal known to have ever lived on Earth, we can make the assumption that it is the largest mammal. The next rule is to get rid of repeated information – We can cross out the sentence ‘A blue whale calf weighs two tons at birth and gains an extra 200 pounds each day of its first year’ because it repeats the previous idea that the blue whales are born heavy and continue to grow throughout their first year – plus, it has specific information that is great to know but not exactly crucial to the understanding of the passage. Now, we can organize the facts under one umbrella term, which means just coming up with a general idea of what our passage is about. Let’s highlight the phrases ‘the blue whale is the largest animal known to have ever lived on Earth,’ ‘hefty from the moment they are born,’ and ‘continue to add to their girth throughout their first year.’ Our umbrella term is ‘the blue whale is the largest animal known to have ever lived on Earth.’ Our next step for summarizing this passage is to decide on a topic. So, I think the best topic for this passage will be ‘Blue Whales.’ Lastly, we will need to create a topic sentence for our passage. The topic sentence is one short sentence that tells the main idea of what we learned from the passage. So I think my topic sentence will be, ‘The blue whale, the largest animal on Earth, is very heavy when it is born and continues to grow every day through its first year.’’’ (Write the topic sentence on the board.)

5. ‘‘I have a copy of ‘Newly named fish crawls and hops’ from Science News for Kids that I want you to read. I have bookmarks for all of you with the summarization rules so that you can have them at your desk and use them throughout the rest of the year.’’ Give a book talk for the article.  ‘‘Did you know that there are still species that haven’t been discovered? Well, last year scientists discovered a new fish near Indonesia! This article is about the very unique fish. So, I want you to read this article and find out what makes this fish so special. Remember to get rid of any information that doesn’t help us get the main idea by crossing it out with pens and to highlight information that you think is the most important in the passage. When you’re finished, I want you to write one topic sentence that summarizes the main idea of the article. Turn in your sentence and article, with your markings on it, to me. I want you to show all your thoughts by writing them in the margins.’’

6. Assessment: I will review each student’s topic sentence and their article in order to evaluate their understanding of summarization. Each student will be assessed with the summarization checklist, so I can see how well the students follow the summarization rules and apply them to their reading. Topic sentences may vary, but a good topic sentence might say, ‘‘The frogfish named psychedelica from Indonesia can hop and crawl through the ocean’s water.’’

References

Lydon, Lili. Elephants Never Forget.
http://www.auburn.edu/academic/education/reading_genie/voyages/lydonrl.html

National Geographic Kids. Creature Feature—Blue Whales.
http://kids.nationalgeographic.com/Animals/CreatureFeature/Blue-whales

Ornes, Stephen. Science News for Kids. ‘Newly named fish crawls and hops.’
http://www.sciencenewsforkids.org/articles/20090311/Feature1.asp

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