Learning to Read 



"You, Me and the Summary"

Camellia Lyles

The goal of reading is for the reader to comprehend what they have read. To be successful readers, students need to learn strategies that will help them to comprehend the text they are reading. Summarization is a strategy that students can use to increase their reading comprehension. Summarization is taking the main ideas and important facts from a text, and putting them into our own words. When we summarize a text, it helps us to comprehend what we have read by reducing the text to its main points. This lesson will teach students summarization strategies that will help them to effectively comprehend what they have read.


Classroom set of paper & pencils

Classroom board/markers

Classroom set of white printing paper

Classroom set of article "A Bear of a Job" from National Geographic Kids (http://magma.nationalgeographic.com/ngexplorer/0111/articles/aboaj_0111.html)

1. "Hello class, today we are going to learn about summarization. Learning summarization strategies will help us to comprehend what we have read. Can anyone tell me what it means to summarize?" Give the students time to think about the question and then write their ideas on the board. Explain to them that summarization is taking the main ideas and important facts from a text, and putting them into their own words. When reading a text, you can summarize by mentally deleting the less important facts, and taking note of the important facts and events. "Now I am going to read you a story that I wrote." Read aloud the story "Camellia���s Costume" to the students.

Camellia���s Costume: "Camellia was excited about the costume party that her fourth grade class was having at Aubie Elementary School. When Camellia got off of Mrs. Wilson���s school bus, she ran home to see the costume that her parents bought her from Parties-R-Us. Mrs. Henry their neighbor stopped Camellia and asked her to check her mailbox. When Camellia got home, her parents told her that Parties-R-Us had sold out of all the costumes in her size. Camellia became very upset. Everyone in her class would be dressed in a costume, and she would be dressed as herself. Camellia began to cry and tears rushed down her face. Her father comforted her and told her that they would make her a handmade costume. Camellia began to smile, all the students at Aubie Elementary would have bought costumes, and she would have a very special handmade costume. The next day at school, everyone in Camellia���s fourth grade class wanted to know where see bought her NASA Astronaut costume. Camellia smiled and informed them that her mom and dad helped her to make her costume from materials around their home. Later that day, Camellia rushed home to show her parents the Best Costume trophy that she had won."

After you have read the story, summarize it and model how to pull out the main ideas and event of the story and how to omit information that is not important. "Now that I have read the story, I am going to write a summary of it on the board. Notice that in my summary, I wrote about the main character Camellia and the costume party that her fourth grade class was having a Aubie Elementary school. I also discussed how her parents helped her to make a costume and how she was given the Best Costume award by her classmates. I did not write about Mrs. Wilson���s bus or Mrs. Henry���s mailbox, because that information was not relevant to the story. Remember when you summarize to only write or talk about the main ideas and events."

2. Explain silent reading. "When we read silently, we read quietly to ourselves and we ask ourselves questions as we read. Today we are going to read an article about pandas. The article is called "A Bear of a Job." What do you think the story will be about? Give the students time to respond. Does anyone know some important or interesting facts about pandas? Wild Pandas are normally found in China. Do you know what color fur pandas have? Correct! Pandas are known for their black and white fur. Now we are going to read the article "A Bear of a Job" together. As I read aloud, I want you to follow along and read silently. Read an excerpt from the article, "What makes pandas so popular? For starters, they're rare. Only five other pandas live in the entire United States���two in Atlanta and three in San Diego. Some scientists see deeper reasons for pandas' popularity. Strange as it sounds, the black-and-white critters may remind us a little of ourselves. Like humans, pandas can sit up straight. They have clear personalities, and they seem to share our boundless curiosity. Pandas also have round heads, fat cheeks, and big eyes���as do human babies. And, like kids learning to walk, pandas have their awkward moments. Add lots of fur, and the animals seem, well, cuddly." "As a class, let���s discuss some of the important facts that we just read, so that we can create a topic sentence and a summary about the article." Give students time to tell important facts from the excerpt. Right only five pandas live in the United States and they have human characteristics such as round heads, cheeks, and eyes are all important facts about pandas that we read in the article. "Now we will come up with a topic sentence for what we just read. Great! Pandas have unique characteristics will be our topic sentence. Now that we have practiced as a group, I want you to read the remainder of the article silently to yourselves. Remember it is important that you make a mental note of important facts and events while reading, and disregard things that do not focus on the main idea or events. Once you are done reading the article, I will teach you some summarization steps, that will help you to summarize and comprehend what you just read.

3. "Now that we know the meaning of summarization and we have had a chance to practice doing it as a class. I am going to teach you six steps that will help you to make a summary and help you to comprehend what you have read." Write the steps on the board so that the students can see them and write them down. "I am going to write the six steps on the board, and I want for you to write them down on your paper so that you will be able to use them for notes when summarizing." Pass out classroom set of paper and pencils and write the steps on the board. Be sure to explain the steps as you go and walk around to make sure that the students are writing the steps down..

* Delete unimportant information (It is important that we delete unimportant information so that it does not distract us from the main idea of the text.)

* Delete repeated information (Deleting repeated information helps us to minimize information that the article has already given us.)

* Substitute grouping words for list or items (When we substitute easy words for list of items, we are able to shorten the amount of information we have to remember. For example if an article we to list pizza, ham, chicken, or tacos, we could use the word food to shorten or list and get the point across.)

* Use key words to remember important details (key words help us to note important information quickly.)

* Select a topic (Select a topic so that people who read your summary will know what they will be reading about.)

* Create a topic sentence if one is not given (If you don���t have a topic sentence, create on to help you remember what you have read and what you will be summarizing.)

4. Let���s discuss what you have read in the article. Before we start, I am going to draw a web on the board. This wed is kind of like a spider web, because it will have a lot of sections so that we can write main character, events, and facts from the story. Webs help us to organize important information that will be put into our summary. When you make a web, there should be a big circle in the middle that is known as the "main topic or idea circle." What do you think will go in this circle? Correct! The word panda will go in this circle because that is what the article was about. Now that we have our main idea web, we have to draw lines coming from the main idea web with circles at the end of them. Call on students to tell you important facts and ideas from the story to add to the web. You can use the web to help you create your summary by using some of the facts that we have listed. Each section on your web can be used to create a sentence in your summary.

5. Now have the students to work in groups of two. Pass out white computer paper 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 we write facts or pieces of information out to the side.  Use your checklist to make sure you have used the six steps for summarizing.  Good luck!  I will be walking around to help if you need me!"

6. Assessment: In order to be sure that the students are on task and that they are following the summarization steps to create their webs, I will walk around the room and observe and help the students as needed. For the assessment, I will have the students to use the webs that they made with their partners to individually write a summary about the article.


Fain, Lizzie. Let���s Get It Together! Reading To Learn


National Geographic Explorer



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