Summarize with Big Red Eyes

 Reading to Learn:  A Lesson in Summarization

Tommy L. Davis

Rationale:  When students learn to read, it is very important to also teach comprehension, so students can understand and recall the information read in any text.  There are several comprehension strategies students can learn to help them understand this process.  One strategy, summarization, helps students find and remember the most important information in a text through a series of five steps: delete unimportant information, delete repeated information, substitute easy terms for lists of items, substitute a series of events with one easy action term, and select or invent a topic sentence.  This lesson will teach students how to summarize their reading with the help of these steps.  Once students learn how to use these steps, they will be able to summarize any text.

 

Materials:   Whiteboard; overhead projector; Copy of Red-Eyed Tree Frogs from National Geographic Kid (copies for each child); Copy of Turtle Travels from National Geographic Kid News (copies for each child); Highlighters for teacher and each student; Paper; Pencils; and Checklist.

 

Procedure: 

 

1.      The teacher will begin the lesson by reviewing how to read silently. Say, "Can anyone tell me what it means to read silently?  Very good, it is when we read the words with our eyes without saying anything with our mouths.  Now, here's a harder question.  Why is it good for us to read silently?  That's right; it helps us remember what we read.  Today we are going to practice reading silently and learn how to summarize what we read, so we comprehend the text we read."

 

2.      The teacher will discuss what it means to summarize a story and the steps it takes to create a summary.  Say, "Who can tell me what it means to summarize a story?  (Allow time for the students to respond.)  When we summarize a story it means we give a shorter version of the story that only tells the most important parts of the story.  There are five steps for us to follow when we are summarizing a story.  I will explain the steps and then you can practice summarizing on your own." The teacher will then explain the 5 basic steps to the students and write them on the board so they can refer back to them.  "These are the five steps that will help us summarize information we read:  first we get rid of any unimportant information, then we delete repeated information, substitute easy terms for lists of items, substitute a series of events with one action term that can be easily remembered, and finally we select or create a topic sentence."   

 

3.      Say, "Now each of you is going to get a copy of a passage entitled Red- Eyed Tree Frog.  The article is about a certain type of frog that lives in the tree.  It's green with big red eyes and red feet and can hide itself from its predators. How do you think a tree frog might hide itself when it is in danger?  We will have to read this article to find out all about the tree frog.  First, I want each of you to read the article silently.  When you are done with the reading, close your packet and turn it over so I know you are finished reading."

 

4.      "We are going to read another article in a few minutes, but right now I am going to show you how to use these five steps in order to create a summary of what we just read."  (Put the passage on the overhead projector. Open it to the first page) "I am going to read the first page out loud and as I read I am going to highlight the most important information.  Then, I am going to come up with a summary incorporating the rest of the steps."  (Model how to create a summary of the first page and discuss in detail how you came up with your summary.  Say, "The passage begins with a description of the brain and its jobs.  I will highlight the section that tells how much the brain weighs and what the brain allows us to do.  We want to highlight the parts we want to remember and what is interesting."  The teacher will continue to demonstrate how to summarize the first page of the article.)

 

5.      Give each student a highlighter.  Say, "Now you are going to summarize the rest of the article.  I want you to highlight the important information like I did and be sure to use all five steps to create your summary.  When you are finished highlighting, write your summary on a piece of paper."  (While the students are working, the teacher should walk around and guide them.  When everyone is finished, discuss what the students came up with and how they used the five steps to develop their summary.)

 

Assessment:  Pass out the second article to the students and provide a book talk ("This next article is about turtles and how they are born.  Did you know that turtles come from eggs?  We will have to read the article to find out all about the birth and early life of a turtle.")  Have the students read the entire second article silently.  The students will then write a summary based on the five steps after they have finished reading.  The students will turn in their summary and the teacher will use a checklist to decide whether or not they used the five steps in the summarizing process.

 

Text Box: Sample Checklist:
1.  Removed unimportant/ repeated information
Yes  O     No  O

2.  Topic sentence given                      
Yes  O     No  O

3.  Only used main points                    
Yes  O     No  O

 4.  Created easy terms to classify items     
Yes  O     No  O

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

References:

           

 Hughes, Catherine D.  Red-Eyed Tree Frogs. National Geographic Kids. November 25, 2007. http://kids.nationalgeographic.com/Animals/CreatureFeature/Red-eyed-tree-frogs?vgnextfmt=printable

 

Miller,  Gary. Turtle Travels. April 2010.  http://magma.nationalgeographic.com/ngexplorer/1004/articles/mainarticle.html

 

Ward, Jenna.  Chunks, Chunks and more Chunks. http://www.auburn.edu/academic/education/reading_genie/constr/wardrl.html

 

 

 

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