Quick! Sum it up!


Reading to Learn
Virginia Collins

Rationale: When children reach about the 3rd or 4th grade, they enter a time of crisis.  Upper Elementary students are thrown into expository texts which are tough for them to understand and grasp the main ideas. Children need to learn explicit comprehension strategies to aid them as they move into this new type of text. Although there are many comprehension strategies, this lesson will focus on teaching students how to summarize in their own words their text selection. Students will also learn strategies for selecting the critical information from text, especially expository text.


- Paper

- Pencils


- Articles

- National Geographic Kids. 2007. "Leopards". http://magma.nationalgeographic.com/ngexplorer

-Check List (Below)

Did the student:



Get rid of unnecessary information.



Pick out the most important information



Write a sentence that covers everything that is important information from the passage.




1. "Today, we are going to learn an important tool that will help make you all better readers. Have you heard of the summarization? Summarization is the process of cutting out pointless information in what we read and picking out the main facts that we as readers need to get the story."

2. "Let's make a list of what you think you would need to make a good summary." Guide students to say things such as getting rid of unnecessary information, pick out the best information, write one or two sentences that cover everything important.

3. "Let's read 'Leopard Lessons' and I will show you how I summarize articles."

4.  First Paragraph."The leopard cub was only eight days old when we spotted her. Her steps were still unsteady. Yet she was bold.  She should have been scared. Predators had killed five other cubs. Would they get this one too?"

- First, I am going to get rid of unneeded details.
Her steps were sill unsteady.
Yet she was bold.
Would they get this one too?
The cub was 8 days old.

- Next, I am to select what I think are the most important details that help me understand the text.
She should have been scared.
Predators had killed 5 other cubs.

- Finally, I am going to write a one sentence summary.
The cub ought to have been afraid because predators had killed other cubs.

5. "Let's practice our new skill. Each one of you select an article from National Geographic Kids. Read the article silently. Mark out the unnecessary information with your pencil. Highlight the key information. Write one or two sentence summary of what you have read."

6. Get into groups of 4; share what you did to summarize your articles.

7. Share summaries with the class.

Assessment: Students will be assessed on their summarization sentences.  I will use a checklist to assess their progress. Students are required to earn at least 2 out of the 3 checks possible. (See checklist above.) I will use this information to determine which kids need to work more on this skill.



Jenn Miranda "Let's Sum it All Up"


Jessie Wiggins "Get to the Point"


National Geographic Society. 2008. http://magma.nationalgeographic.com/ngexplorer

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