Dive Into the World of Summarization!



Reading to Learn

 Haley Hollis


Rationale: As students progress through school they become better readers and gain many useful strategies. The strategy we will be working on now will help children derive meaning and understanding from the texts they read. This strategy is called summarization and it helps students to comprehend the meaning within the text and organize it in an informative way. Teaching students to summarize will show them how to find out which information is the most important in any text. This lesson will teach students to extract important information from texts and summarize that information in their own words by reading an expository text and applying the rules of summarization they have learned.


Class set of "Baby Boom! Giant Panda Cubs Give Hope to an Endangered Species" articles from National Geographic kids.com (see reference list for web address)

"Polar Bears Listed as Threatened" article from National Geographic kids.com (see reference list for web address)

Poster with summarization rules

White Board





Assessment Checklist for each child (see attached)


1.  Say: "Hello everyone! Does everyone remember what we worked on last week? Fluency! We read and reread passages to become quick expressive readers. As we learn something new today remember to read and reread so you will get the full effect of the text. Has anyone ever heard of the word summarization? Excellent, can you explain it to me? That is right; summarization is summing up all of the important information from a text, article, or passage so we can understand it and deleting everything else that is not needed." "Can anyone tell me why summarizing could be important or if they have done it before?" Those are all great answers! Let's all dive into the world of summarization."

2. Say: "There are three main steps for summarizing and I have them written here on the board. First, after reading the story, pick out all of the important ideas. Second, reread all of the important details you have chosen and delete all of the information you do not need. Last, combine all of the important ideas you have chosen to make a topic or summative sentence(s)."  "Can anyone tell me all three of the summarization steps? Excellent, let's keep working!"

3. Say: "Ok, now we are going to read" Polar Bears Listed as Threatened" and I will demonstrate how I summarize passages."  I will begin by reading the article aloud and then I will summarize it by following the three step process. "Does anyone remember what I should do first? That is right pick out all of the important details." I will write the details on the board: Polar bears were added to the list of threatened species and will receive special protection under U.S. law. In his statement, Secretary of the Interior Dirk Kempthorne noted that the decline of Arctic sea ice is the greatest threat to the bears. "Now I will reread the important information and delete anything I do not need. I think we should delete the part about the Secretary of Interior because we really want to focus on a short summative sentence that reflects our title." All of this will also be noted on the board. "Finally I will combine the important parts to make a topic or summative sentence: Polar bears are now listed as a threatened species under U.S. law.

4. Now the students will practice summarizing on their own. Each student will receive a copy of "Baby Boom! Giant Panda Cubs Give Hope to an Endangered Species" (from National Geographic) that they will be able to write on and practice summarizing the passage. I will remind them of the three steps on the board and give them an article talk before they begin. "If Su Lin the giant panda had thrown herself a one-year-old birthday party, she'd have had a lot of panda friends to play with. That's because she is one of 19 captive pandas to turn a year old in 2006. To learn more about Su Lin you must keep reading!"  The students will read the article silently and mark up their papers as they follow the three steps. They can use highlighters to cover important ides, they can cross out unwanted information and they can write anything important to remember on the article itself. Finally, the students should write their topic sentence(s) about what they have summarized on a clean sheet of paper. 

5. Assessment: I will call each of the students up to my desk individually to read the summative sentence(s) they have written about "Baby Boom! Giant Panda Cubs Give Hope to an Endangered Species." I will mark their progress on a checklist (see attached) to determine if they understand the skill or if they need more help.  While I am assessing students individually the other students will be in groups of two-three discussing the article and all of their thoughts about it.  I will also ask students questions about the article.




National Geographic. Baby Boom! Giant Panda Cubs Give Hope to an Endangered Species. http://kids.nationalgeographic.com/Stories/AnimalsNature/Giantpandacubs

National Geographic. Polar Bears Listed as Threatened. http://kids.nationalgeographic.com/Stories/AnimalsNature/Polar-bears-threatened

Helpful Lessons:

Ashley Buckelew.  Reading to Learn  Design. "Look Who's Summarizing".




 Summarization Assessment Checklist


Did the student:



Read the article?



Pick out the most important information from the article?



Delete unnecessary information?



Understand the information from the article?



Write a sentence(s) summarizing the most important parts of the article read?




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