comprehension—understanding what we're reading—is the goal of reading
instruction, teachers should consider it vital to teach students the
effective strategies that foster and guide their comprehension. The
article, "Strategies that Improve Children's Memory and Comprehension
Text," cites research evidence that supports summarization as one of
most effective comprehension strategies. Two of the summarization rules
in the article involve elimination of trivial or redundant information,
teaching elimination in summarizing is be a very useful strategy to
lesson, students will practice eliminating extraneous, unnecessary
from nonfiction texts while thinking through what is and isn't
is important to a passage's meaning. Hopefully, this elimination
aid students in ignoring trivia and focusing on the main ideas of
they independently read assigned readings.
sheet with the following excerpt from the Time
Life for Kids "A Breathtaking Discovery" article. "On
Thursday, scientists in Indonesia announced the discovery of a rare
has no lungs and breathes through its skin. The remarkable find was
the scientific journal Current Biology.
Researchers believe that the little croaker could provide some big
clues as to
how environmental factors can cause certain species to evolve so
copies of "Mice with Tans? Eeeeeek!"
article from the National Geographic Kids website (http://kids.nationalgeographic.com/Stories/AnimalsNature/Micetans).
(for each student)
projector and markers
to access each student (Checks for: eliminating
unnecessary information, keeping important information, replacing
words with a general term)
1. Introduce the lesson by
reminding students that, "When
we summarize information, we help ourselves understand and remember
(comprehend) what we read. Summarization is the process we go through
the most important information in what we read. One step that will help
is called elimination. Does anyone know what the root word, eliminate
means? Right, it means to get
rid of or remove. We are going to be reading some paragraphs and
today, and we will learn how to remove unimportant information."
2. Explain to students, "The unimportant
kind of like frills on a dress. Frills might make a dress look
prettier, but it
is still a dress without them. That's just like the way extra words,
adjectives and descriptive adverbs might make something more
read, but they are not always absolutely necessary to a fact or main
we eliminate—remove—these extra words, those frills, we can remember
important information much more easily!"
3. When we are summarizing we might want to
of words with one general word. Take this sentence for example, "Tigers run, pounce, and stalk through the
forest." (Teacher write the preceding sentence on the board.) That
sentence has a compound predicate. How might we make that sentence more
simple? Right, we could think of one verb that could replace those
three verbs. Let's see... running,
pouncing, and stalking are all ways that tigers move, so what word
could we use to replace them? Good. We might remove the
words run, pounce, and stalk from our
sentence and replace them with the word travel. Now our sentence says, "Tigers
travel through the forest." Isn't that
second sentence much simpler?
4. Now that we've reviewed, let me show you how
would use elimination to take the frills out of a paragraph. (Teacher
the paragraph transparency onto the projector). First, I'm going to
paragraph so that I know what it is about. Follow along with me as I
aloud. (Teacher reads the article aloud to students). Hmm… Now that the
gist of the article is still fresh in my memory, I'm going to start
first sentence and take out words that aren't absolutely important. On
Thursday, scientists in
Indonesia announced the discovery of a rare frog that has no lungs and
through its skin. For
this article, I don't have to know when it took place, so I'm going to
On Thursday. Do I need the word rare?
Hmm… scientists are very excited about it and have just discovered it,
so I can
probably assume it is rare. Let's take the word rare
out since we already can figure that part for ourselves. I can
take out "announced the discovery of"
and replace those words with "have
discovered." Now my first sentence looks like this, Scientists
in Indonesia have discovered a
frog that has no lungs and breaths through its skin.
5. Let's look at the second sentence. The
remarkable find was revealed in the scientific journal Current
Biology. Does that sentence tell us anything more
about the frog? Not really. Let's eliminate the whole sentence since we
need to know who the scientists first told about the frog. (Teacher
through the entire second sentence.) Okay, now we're at the third and
sentence in the paragraph. Researchers
believe that the little croaker could provide some big clues as to how
environmental factors can cause certain species to evolve so
time. What is the little croaker?
Oh! It's the frog! I'll eliminate little
croaker and replace it with the word, frog. Are the adjectives some and big necessary?
Does the sentence make since and mean the same without them? Let's see.
(Teacher reads sentence aloud without the words some
and big). Yep, that
still makes since and means the same! (Teacher marks out some
and big). Hmm… is
there anything else I can get rid of? Let's see if I can find any more
might be able to eliminate the words so
and drastically. Let's try it and
see. (Teacher marks through so
drastically and reads the resulting sentence aloud). Good! That
change the meaning and the sentence still makes since. Now the (former)
paragraph looks like this, "Scientists
in Indonesia have discovered a frog that has no lungs and breathes
skin. Researchers believe that the frog could provide clues as to how
environmental factors can cause certain species to evolve over time."
Now we will
use the elimination technique
together. (Teacher passes out copies of "Mice with Tans, Eeeeeek!".) This article tells us about the way scientists
figured out how to give mice a sun tan! Let's see how they did it! The
teacher encourages students to look over
their articles and eliminate any words in the first paragraph that are
necessary to the passage's meaning. The teacher will walk around the
monitoring students and providing helpful guidance. After students have
time to read and eliminate, the teacher will have students volunteer
eliminations might be made from the first paragraph. Students will also
asked if the words they chose to eliminate are necessary to the
meaning. Finally, students will be asked to explain their reasons for
7. After the students
have completed the guided practice and the teacher has eliminated
misconceptions, the teacher will tell students, "Now, you are to go
through the rest of the 'Mice with Tans' article and use the
elimination and substitution techniques that you've practiced today.
to only eliminate information that isn't necessary for the meaning of
article. Also remember to try to replace any series of words with a
general term. (Like what we did with the tiger sentence earlier). When
eliminate something, draw a line straight through it like I did on the
If you are replacing it with another term, write that in up above. If
any help, raise your hand. When you are finished, turn your paper in to
I will check your work."
The teacher will use a checklist to evaluate
each student's summarization work. Work will be check to see if: 1) All
eliminated words were unnecessary [ex. A student would eliminate a word
like "Thursday" but not "frog."] 2) Only the most important
kept 3) Students substituted series or repeated words with a more
term. [ex. The list, frogs,
newts, and toads could be replaced with the general term, amphibians.]
Sparkman, Rachael K.