By: Ashley Troha

Reading to Learn


Children must have the skills to comprehend what they read in order to become a successful and efficient reader. The strategy we will be working on is called summarization and this strategy will help children derive meaning and understanding from the texts they read.  Through this lesson, students will be able comprehend the meaning within the text and organize it in an informative way.  They will do this by learning how to identify the important ideas and key details needed while eliminating the unnecessary details.  After understanding and highlighting which important parts throughout the paragraph are needed to comprehend the reading, students can then learn how to organize them in a way (into their own sentences) that will shorten the reading but allow for easier comprehension in the end.


Primary paper and pencil

Understanding Summarization poster (includes three main ideas: 1. Identify the important ideas and key details 2. Eliminate details not needed 3. Organize important information into its own sentences

Copy of "Beelzebufo: A Giant of a Find," article for each student

Overhead projector

Article printed on overhead projector sheet

Dry erase marker for overhead


Assessment chart:

Yes or No



Identified the important ideas and key details.


Eliminated details not needed.


Organized important information into its own sentences and it created a summary.




1.  Say:  "Today we are going to learn about a strategy that will help you derive meaning and understanding from the texts you read.  This strategy is called summarization.  Does anyone think they know what summarization means? [allows for student responses]  Well summarization is to shorten the reading by eliminating the details not needed and keeping only the important or key ideas, which can then be made into its own sentences."


2.  Say:  "Now let's try practicing summarizing together."  [passes out a copy of the reading, "Beelzebufo: A Giant of a Find," a highlighter, piece of paper and pencil to each student and puts a transparency of the reading on the overhead]

3.  Say:  "Follow along as I read the first paragraph aloud.  We will then practice summarizing.  [reads first paragraph aloud to students as they follow along:  A team of researchers in Madagascar has discovered the fossil of what may be the largest frog to have ever lived. The beach-ball-size amphibian, which grew to be 16 inches (40.6 centimeters) long and weighed about 10 pounds (4.5 kilograms), is scientifically named Beelzebufo, or devil frog.]"

4.  Say:  "Now let's use our summarization poster and what we already know about summarizing to help understand the paragraph easier.  Watch as I identify the most important ideas or details leaving out any information that is not important at all.  Notice how there is details that can be eliminated and us still understand the meaning of the sentences because of the key details? [Underlines the key details as follows:  researchers in Madagascar, discovered fossil, may be largest frog, ever lived, 16 inches long, 10 pounds, named devil frog]  Everyone see how these words are the most important?  [allows for student responses]  Now that we have all of our important information and have left out the unimportant information what does the poster tell us to do next?  [allows for student reponses]  Very good! We need to shorten the reading by organizing our main ideas into its own sentences.  Then we will have a summary!  Lets try this sentence:  Researchers in Madagascar discovered a fossil of a 16 inch long, 10 pound devil frog, which may be the largest to have ever lived."

5.  Say:  "Can you see how we were able to take those two sentences and make them one using our important details?"


6.  Say:  "Now let's work together again to create another summary of the next paragraph.  This time though, I am going to let you read the paragraph silently to yourselves and then you can use the highlighter to identify the important ideas as I did on the overhead.  Remember though, any unimportant information is not needed so you can use your pencil to scratch out those ideas.  When you are all finished we will all work together to create our own summary.  [allows time for students to read silently and highlight the key details in this paragraph: Paleontologist David Krause of Stony Brook University in New York made the discovery and is collaborating with other scientists to determine how Beelzebufo is related to other frogs and to understand how and why they are on the island of Madagascar. Fossil frog experts Susan Evans and Marc Jones of the University College London agree that the new frog represents the first known occurrence of a fossil group in Madagascar with living relatives in South America.]"


7.  Say:  "Now let's see what important information you all found in the paragraph.  [allows for student responses and circles the ones on the overhead that are, in fact, important and these are as follows:  Sentence 1 - Paleontologist, David Krause, made discovery, finding how related to other frogs, understand how and why in Madagascar, Fossil frog experts, Susan Evans, Marc Jones, agree, new frog, first known, fossil group, living relatives, South Africa]  Now that we have chosen all of our important information, lets work together to organize them into sentences so we create a good summary.  Let's try these sentences:  Paleontologist David Krause who made the discovery, wants to find out how they are related to other frogs and how and why they are in Madagascar.  Fossil frog experts Susan Evans and Marc Jones agree that the new frog is the first known fossil group with relatives in South Africa."


8.  Say:  "Now you can try this on our own!  I want everyone to read the next two paragraphs silently and then once again use your highlighter to identify the important parts and your pencil to cross out anything unimportant.  Then when you are finished you can organize them into sentences so you create a good summary.  Be sure to write your summary on your sheet of paper so you can staple it to your highlighted sheet and turn it in to me."


9.  For assessment I will use the check sheet I created to check their summaries. I will do this by writing yes or no next to the following:  1. Identify the important ideas and key details  2. Eliminate details not needed  3. Organize important information into its own sentences.  I will also ask some comprehension questions to make sure they understood the article read.  These questions are as follows:


1. What was unique about the beelzebufo? May have been largest frog to have ever lived.


2.  What can the fossil of the beelzebufo help determine?  Maybe it's relation to other frogs, maybe how it got to Madagascar, maybe why it's in Madagascar, Maybe it's size or other features compared to other frogs


3.  Why was the beezlebufo living in Madagascar? South America and Madagascar was believed to have connection bewteen the two lands at one point.


4.  Where was the beelzebufo discovered?  Madagascar



Bria Pete, Summarize This!


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