Summing It All Up!
Reading to Learn
Leah Rockwell

The goal of reading instruction is to provide children with the skills necessary for comprehension. Summarization is one key strategy a mature reader uses in order to understand a text.  In this lesson, the students will learn how to collect information and use it to summarize a story.

1.  Text: Time for Kids ‘“He is Bear-y Generous.’“,17585,439167,00.html (copy for the teacher)
2.  Text: Time for Kids ‘“Young Sailor has a Whale of a Tale.’“,17585,409821,00.html (one copy per student)
3.  Article for each student: ‘“The Ayes-Ayes of Madagascar’“ (
4.  Highlighter (one per student)
5.  Paper (one per student)
6.  Pencil (one per student)
7.  Checklist with the rules: 1. delete trivial information and redundancies, 2. superordinate items and events, and 3. find or compose a statement that covers everything the writer is saying about the topic. One for each student.
8.  Board for Checklist
9.  Marker for Checklist

1.  Introduce the lesson to the students by explaining how important comprehension is.  ‘“The most important thing we do when we read is understand what we are reading.  Understanding what we read is called comprehension.  Comprehension is our goal for reading.  One way to help us comprehend is by summarizing.  Today we will be summarizing to help us understand what we read.’“ 
2.  Today we are going to make sure that we read silently so that we do not disturb our neighbors while they are trying to read (Model silent and out loud reading and ask students how they are different.)
3.  In order to summarize, it is important for us to follow a few simple rules. (Have these written on board already). Read and explain each to class
-delete trivial information and redundancies
-superordinate items and events
-find or compose a statement that covers everything the writer is saying about the topic.
If there is information that you see more than one time, you need to delete it.  You also need to combine the ideas of the reading to make a main idea.
4.  Model summarization.  ‘“I am going to show you how to use these rules to summarize a paragraph.’“ Read the paragraph ‘“He is Bear-y Generous.’“,17585,439167,00.html
‘“First, I am going to remove any unimportant information or repeated information.  It is not really important that we know that J.J has been selling bears since he was 13 or that he has designed a legacy bear.  Now, I am going to note the important information.  For example, J.J.’s profits for selling the bears will be used for college scholarships, hopefully starting next year.  Now, I am going to find a topic sentence. J.J. Neulist has been selling bears on the internet to create a scholarship to honor children who died in the September 11th plane crashes.’“ 
5.  ‘“Now I am going to give you a paragraph to summarize.  I want you to read it silently and then we will summarize the paragraph as a class.’“  Read ‘“Young Sailor has a Whale of a Tale.’“,17585,409821,00.html
After students are finished reading the class will work together and come up with a summary using the three rules.  We will write the summary on the board. 
6.  Give each student a copy of ‘“The Ayes-Ayes of Madagascar’“. This piece is about some very special and unique animals from a country near Africa called Madagascar. Now, you will work with a new article to highlight only the important information given. Remember to use the rules written on the board as a guide to help you determine what should be highlighted and what should not. Also, remember that we are reading silently.  Write your summary on the piece of paper.  I am also going to hand out a checklist with our summary rules.  As you create your summary, I want you to check off the rules that you have followed on your checklist.     
7.  For the assessment, I will collect the students’ checklists and summaries of the article to see how well they understand summarizing.  I will evaluate their summaries based on the summary rules.

Pressley, Michael, et. al. ‘“Strategies That Improve Children’s Memory and
           Comprehension of Text.’“ The Elementary School Journal. The University of Chicago, 1989.

Time for Kids. (2003). ‘“He is Bear-y Generous.’“

Time for Kids. (2003).  ’“Young Sailor has a Whale of a Tale.’“

‘“The Ayes-Ayes of Madagascar.’“ 2006. National Geographic.

Rockwell, Lauren. SumBody Special.

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