Reading to Learn
Once students have mastered the steps in beginning reading, they must then begin to read for comprehension. One key strategy in reading for comprehension is the ability to summarize a piece of literature. This is not a skill that is easily picked up. Deliberate instruction is necessary. Through a teacher modeling specific strategies, students can expand on their comprehension skills by learning how to summarize themselves.
“ For about a decade, tension had been mounting between Great Britain and the American Colonies. The British government had passed a series of laws in an attempt to increase control over the colonies. But Americans had become used to having control over their local government. They objected to the new laws and protested being taxed without their consent. In 1775, Britain's Parliament declared Massachusetts, the center of most of the protests, to be in rebellion. British troops were placed in Boston to take swift action against the rebels. Shortly afterwards, war broke out.
Colonies were largely unprepared for war. They lacked a central
had neither an organized army or navy. Delegates from the colonies
first Continental Congress, which took on the duties of a national
Congress directed the war effort and voted to organize an army and a
George Washington, a wealthy Virginia landowner and former military
was appointed commander in chief of the Continental Army. On July 4,
Congress adopted the Declaration of Independence, in which the colonies
declared their freedom from British rule.” (Lamb,
Revolutionary War. http://www.42explore2.com/revolt.html)
1. Begin by asking the students: “Have you ever had a friend ask you about a particular book you are reading? Have you told them the ‘short version’ of the story? Well, we call that a summary. A summary is something we can use to get across the general idea behind a story, without telling every little thing that happens in that story. Today, we are going to learn how to summarize stories.”
2. Remember how we have gone over and over re-reading in class? Re-reading is an excellent tool for summarizing. After you have read a passage, it is often a good idea to go back and re-read areas that you think are especially important for your summary. It is often helpful to look back over important details to think of an easier and sometimes shorter way of re-writing that thought.
3. Display the “Summarization Rules Poster”
“Read these rules with me as I read them aloud.” (Read rules.) I want you to think of these three strategies as your goal for summarizing. Once you are finished summarizing a passage, look at it and see if it meets all of these three goals. Now I am going to model these Summarization Strategies for you.”
Chapter Summaries for: ____________________
Have students turn in their Summarization worksheets after the first chapter and then every few chapters after that to make sure they are on the right track. After the first few chapters, it might be a better idea to group several chapters together for summarization to get students in the practice of working with a longer piece before doing the overall summary at the end of the novel.
Moncrief, Jane (2006). Let’s Summarize. Auburn University http://www.auburn.edu/academic/education/reading_genie/invent/moncriefrl.html
Alden, John R. George Washington: A Biography. 1984. LSU Press. Montana.Lamb, Annette. The Revolutionary War. http://www.42explore2.com/revolt.htm