Summing It Up!!

Reading to Learn
Brittney McKissick


Rationale:  It is important to teach students comprehension strategies, while they are learning to read.  They need to learn how to remember what happened while they read, rather than just reading.  One effective comprehension strategy is summarization.  Summarization involves five steps that help students locate and remember important information in a text.  The five steps are delete unimportant information, delete repeated information, substitute easy terms for lists of items, substitute a series of events with one easy action term, and select/invent a topic sentence. 


Goal:  In this lesson, students will learn how to use these five steps to summarize the text they read.  After the students learn how to summarize by using these five steps, they will be able to summarize anything that they read. 


1.  Marker board
2.  Markers
3.  1 highlighter for teacher and each student
4.  Paper
5.  Pencil
6.  Checklist listed below
7.  The fish article (found at: )on a transparency for an overhead projector or available to show on the smartboard
8.  Overhead projector, if you do not have a smartboard


Sample Checklist:

1.  Removed unimportant/ repeated information

Yes O  No O

2.  Topic sentence given                      

Yes O  No O

3.  Only used main points                    

Yes O  No O

 4.  Created easy terms to classify items     

Yes O  No O

1.  Begin by asking, "Can anyone tell me what it means to read silently?"  Allow several students to answer.  That is a great answer!  It means that we read the words with our eyes, but we do not say anything with our mouth.  Does anyone know why it is important for us to read silently?  Another great answer!  It helps us to remember what we read.  Today, we are going to read silently, and then, we are going to learn how to summarize what we read.

2.  Talk with the students about what it means to summarize something, and go over the five steps involved.  Can anyone tell me what it means to summarize?    Allow several students to respond.  Good job!  It means to tell a shorter version of a story, only including the important parts.  When we summarize, we will follow five basic steps.  Write the steps on the board for the students to refer back to.  The five basic steps we use to summarize are delete unimportant information, delete repeated information, substitute easy terms for lists of items, substitute a series of events with one easy action term, and select/invent a topic sentence. 

3.  Now I am going to pass out a copy of a passage about fish.  This passage talks about the body of a fish and how they live.  How do fish survive underwater all of the time?  To find out, you will have to read this passage.  When you are finished reading, turn your paper over, so I will know when everyone is finished reading.

4.  I am going to show you have to summarize this passage by using the five steps.  Put the passage up on the overhead or smartboard.  Highlight the most important parts as you read the paragraph about the fish's bodies out loud.  Tell the students your thinking process as you model for them.  Let the students know why you are highlighting certain information, such as I highlight the parts I want to remember.  They are important or interesting.  I am going to highlight gills because that is how fish breathe.  Next, I am going to highlight fins and tail because this is how the fish move through the water.  Scales is also important for fish because it protects them from danger.  An example of a summary for the first section is:  Fish have many body parts that are different from humans that help them survive in the water.

5.  Give all of the students a highlighter.  Now, I am going to let you practice summarizing.  Read the paragraph about how fish live.  When you are finished, write your summary on a piece of paper.  Make sure you follow all five steps.  Walk around to help guide the students as they work.  When the students are finished, discuss the summaries that everyone came up with, and how they used the five steps.  An example of a summary is:  Raccoons are unique animals that eat both plants and animals, and they are primarily active at night.


Give the students the second article (only the paragraph about "The Basics" about raccoons).  Give them this brief book talk:  Have you ever wondered where the name raccoon came from?  Did you know what a raccoon eats?  What is the life span of a raccoon?  To find the answers to these questions and more, you will have to read this article.  Make sure you read this article silently.  Then, write a summary using the five steps.  Turn your summary in.  The teacher will assess the summary by using a checklist. 


1.  Shumock, Emily.  "Ready to Summarize."
2.  It Looked Good on Paper, Inc.  "The Basics."
3.  Fish 'n' Kids.  "What a fish?

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