"Carving Out a Story!"


Reading
to Learn

Teaching Summarizing to Help Students Comprehend Reading Passages

By: Katie Olk

Rationale:  Comprehension is one of the most important things to teach to children while they are learning how to read.  A good way to help children comprehend text is to summarize.  To be able to read and recall information from text, children need instruction in summarization.  By deleting trivial information, deleting redundant information, substituting sup ordinate terms for a list of items, and creating a topic sentence, students will be able to remember factual information better.

Materials:
Sentence strips with six different steps for summarizing written on them
1. Deleted unimportant information:                                   yes or no
2. Deleted repeated information:                                          yes or no
3. Substituted easy terms for lists of items:                           yes or no
4. Added a series of events with an easy action term:          yes or no
5. Selected a topic:                                                                 yes or no
6. Invented a topic sentence if there was none:                   yes or no

Copies of "From Top to Bottom, Carving a Totem Pole" by Diane Hoyt-Goldsmith   Copies of "What Frank Watched" by Rosie Benson
Dry Erase Markers; Chart Paper
Dry Erase Board

 

Procedures:


1. Start by reviewing how to read silently and introduce the first story. "Have you ever tried to do something new, like building something, and made mistakes when you were learning?  Today we are going to read a story about learning to do something new.   First, before we start reading, I would like to review how to read silently.  Watch me as I read silently." I will read the first page of the story to myself.  "Now I am going to pass out the story and I would like for each of you to read the title and the story to yourself.  I should not hear anyone making a sound.  I want to see your eyes following along as you read."
 
2. "You all did a great job of reading silently!  Now we are going to learn how to summarize the story.  Who can tell me what a summary is?  Well, a summary can be written by picking out the main points in a story or passage.  There are six different steps to keep in mind when you are summarizing."  Have each of these six steps written on sentence strips and post them on the board as they are described and discussed.


1. Delete unimportant information
2. Delete repeated information
3. Substitute easy terms for lists of items
4. Add a series of events with an easy action term
5. Select a topic
6. Invent a topic sentence if there is none

3. Explain to the children how to use mapping as a strategy. "A great way to summarize a piece of literature is to use a skill called mapping.  When we map a story or passage we put the main idea or topic in a middle circle and the supporting details around the outside like antennae."  On the board, model making a map for summarizing. Have the students contribute ideas for beginning to fill in the story map by asking questions.   "The middle circle will be what?  The topic, very good.  What is the topic of our article? Carving a Totem Pole.  So this will be our center circle.  Now we will add ideas to the antennae coming out from our circle, which will describe some important ideas about George and his father carving the totem pole.  What is something described in the story about them carving a totem pole? Yes, they needed to decide what to carve on the totem pole, so that can be put on one of the spokes."  In order to keep adding on to the map we will need to continue to come up with some more important information from the story telling about what George and his father did. Can you tell me another important idea that we can put on the antenna? "At this point the teacher will guide the students to add only important ideas such as gathering the materials they will need, finding the cedar log to carve and then actually carving the pole. When the class is satisfied that they have just the important facts the teacher will write all of the important details in complete sentences, forming a summative paragraph about the story.    


4. The next step will be to divide the class into small groups, give them small dry erase boards and have them repeat the same process that was modeled in the above steps.  Give the children the story "What Frank Watched" to read.  Instruct students to make a summarization map of the passage on their dry erase boards and write a summarization paragraph, using their map. Allow the group's time to read silently and then construct the story maps.

Assessment:

Circulate while the students are working, Check each map and summary making sure that the students are using all six steps of summarization.  Use a checklist including the items:

1. Deleted unimportant information:                                 yes or no
2. Deleted repeated information:                                        yes or no
3. Substituted easy terms for lists of items:                         yes or no
4. Added a series of events with an easy action term:         yes or no
5. Selected a topic:                                                                yes or no
6. Invented a topic sentence if there was none:                   yes or no

 

References:

Melissa Hensley, Summing Our Way to The End. http://www.auburn.edu/academic/education/reading_genie/guides/hensleyrl.html

Gina Thomas, Stormy Sumarizing. http://www.auburn.edu/academic/education/reading_genie/guides/thomasrl.html

Strategies That Improve Children's Memory and Comprehension of Text by Michael Pressley

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