An Elephant Never Forgets


Lili Lydon

 Reading to Learn by Good Summarization

 

Rationale: The main goal of reading is comprehension, summarization is essential to understanding what one has read. This lesson can help summarization by modeling helpful summarizing strategies and having graphic organizers for a reminder of the strategies for the students. The students will read an article and will hopefully create their own correct topic sentence for an article about elephants.

 

Materials:

Copies of “African Elephant” from National Geographic, one per student
    http://animals.nationalgeographic.com/animals/mammals/african-elephant.html

 

A display with summarization rules on it, and bookmarks (one per student) with summarization rules:
          
-Get rid of unimportant information
           -Get rid of repeated information
           -Organize items and events under one umbrella term.
           -Select a topic.
          -Write a topic statement that covers everything that is important from       
            the passage of the text.                            

 

A display of this brief koala passage:

          “Koalas are marsupials, related to kangaroos. Most marsupials have pouches where the tiny newborns develop. A koala mother usually gives birth to one joey at time. A newborn koala is only the size of a jellybean. Called a joey, the baby is blind, naked, and earless. As soon as it’s born, this tiny creature makes its way from the birth canal to its mother’s pouch.”
    http://kids.nationalgeographic.com/Animals/CreatureFeature/Koala

 Paper

Pencils

 Pens for each student

 Highlighters for each student

Dry erase board and marker

Summarization Checklist:

Did the Student....

Yes

No

Get rid of unimportant information

 

 

Get rid of repeated information

 

 

Organize Items under One Umbrella Term

 

 

Select a topic

 

 

Write a topic statement that covers everything that is important from the passage of text

 

 

 

Procedures:

  1. Introduce the new comprehension strategy. “Today we’re going to learn another way to help us understand and remember what we read – summarization. Can anyone tell me what summarization is? It is being able to get rid of unimportant information and remember the important facts about a passage. Summarization helps our comprehension because we know what information helps us and we know what information does not.”
  2. We can review our fluency strategy first. “What is one thing we can do when a sentence doesn’t make sense to us? We can reread and cross-check to see if we missed something that helped the sentence make more sense. *Write The shrub has buds on the board.* If I read the sentence “The shrube has buds,” I would think, you know, that doesn’t sound right. Let me check that again. The shhhhrrruuubbe has buds. Shrube? Ohhh, the shrub has buds! A shrub, like a bush, has buds. Cross-checking helps us with our sight vocabulary.”
  3. Continue with students. .. “To comprehend what we read, we have to summarize, and we have some quick rules for good summarization.” Read the rules from the poster to them. “I want you to read our poster about koalas silently and when you are all done I will summarize the poster topic first.”
  4. Let’s look at the koala poster. It says, “Koalas are marsupials, related to kangaroos. Most marsupials have pouches where the tiny newborns develop. A koala mother usually gives birth to one joey at time. A newborn koala is only the size of a jellybean. Called a joey, the baby is blind, naked, and earless. As soon as it’s born, this tiny creature makes its way from the birth canal to its mother’s pouch.” The first thing I do on our rule list is Get Rid of Unimportant Information. I’ll take this pen I have and cross out “related to kangaroos,” first. Since we’re learning about koalas, a phrase about kangaroos doesn’t help us too much. I will also cross out ‘A newborn koala is only the size of a jellybean,’ because it is an interesting fact, but not vital to complete understanding of the passage. Next, I will cross out ‘the baby is blind, naked, and earless,’ because those are little details that make our article interesting, but not vital to our understanding of the entire passage. The next rule is to get rid of repeated information – there isn’t any in our passage, so we can move on. The next thing we do is organize items under one umbrella term, which is a general idea of what our passage is about. I’ll highlight ‘koalas are marsupials,’ ‘marsupials have pouches,’ and ‘this tiny creature makes its way from the birth canal to its mother’s pouch.’ Our umbrella term is *Koalas as marsupials.* The next step is to decide on a topic for the passage, and our topic is koalas. The final thing we do is complete a topic sentence about our passage. This helps us finally short and sweetly describe our passage in one sentence. Let me think. My topic sentence is, ‘Like most marsupials, koalas have pouches or pockets to protect a baby (joey) when it is a baby.’
  5. I have a copy of “African Elephant Profile” from National Geographic that I want you to read. I have bookmarks for you, too, with your summarization rules so that you can have them right with you at your desk.” Provide a brief “book talk” for the article. . . “What do you know about African elephants? What do they eat? Where do they live? What about them makes them so different from their animal neighbors? I want you to find out by reading this African Elephant Profile. Remember to get rid of information that doesn’t help us by crossing it out with pens and to highlight information that is important to your understanding of the passage. When you’re finished, you will turn in your sentence and article to me.”
  6. Assessment: I will have the students turn in their topic sentence and their article so that I can see what they felt was important, any reasoning, and to assess their understanding of summarizing. Each student will be assessed with the summarizing chart under materials to see how they grasp important information, trivial information, and sum everything up in one sentence. Topic sentences may vary, but a good topic sentence might say, “Elephants are the largest animals on Earth with big ears to keep them cool and long tusks to help them dig for food.”

 References:

Cadrette, Mallory. What’s the Point?     
http://www.auburn.edu/academic/education/reading_genie/encounters/cadretterl.html    


National Geographic. African Elephant: African Elephant Profile.      
    http://animals.nationalgeographic.com/animals/mammals/african-elephant.html

 National Geographic Kids. Creature Feature: Koalas.

     http://kids.nationalgeographic.com/Animals/CreatureFeature/Koala


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