Easy Peasy Ways to Summarize!


Learning to Read

Amber Wright



Rationale: The ultimate goal of reading is comprehension.  In order for kids to grasp this concept, they must learn how to summarize pieces of writing.  Students must learn to omit the unimportant information and focus on what is really trying to be taught.  They must then be able to gain full understanding of what they read and show this by summarizing what they have read.



Copies for all students of the article "Gorilla Rescue" by Scott Elder http://kids.nationalgeographic.com/Stories/AnimalsNature/Gorillarescue

Computer and smart board to display article

Highlighters for all students

Chart paper to draw web

Copies for all students of "One Man's Goal: To Travel Around the World on His Own Power" by Catherine Clarke Fox http://kids.nationalgeographic.com/Stories/PeoplePlaces/Around-the-world

Summarization checklist for all students (see below)

Assessment checklist for teacher (see below)

Laminated poster of summarization tips (see below)


Summarization Checklists

Have I‰¥Ï



Highlighted the main information?



Deleted Unimportant and repeated information?



Related main and supporting events?




Did my student‰¥Ï



Highlight the main information?



Delete Unimportant and repeated information?



Relate main and supporting events?




Ms. Wright's Easy Peasy Summarization Tips

Read silently one time through

Read again, highlighting main ideas

Mark out unimportant or repeated information

Make a Web

Relate Main and Supporting Events

Sum it up in a few sentences!



1.    Begin the lesson by reviewing what it means to read silently.  "Boys and girls, can anyone tell me what it means to read silently? You're absolutely right, we read only to ourselves.  Now what might be a reason to do this besides not disturbing those around us?  Good! We read silently because it helps us to understand what we are reading, that is called comprehending what we read!

2.    Then, introduce the comprehension and summarization strategies. "There are a few things we can do to help us comprehend what we are reading better, one strategy we can use is to summarize the text.  Can someone tell me what summarizing means? That's right! To summarize means to tell the main part of a text.  I want everyone to look up at the board at this chart and read along silently while I read the following tips.  Ms. Wright's Easy Peasy Summarization Tips. First, read silently one time through.  Then read it again, making sure to highlight the main ideas.  Mark out any unimportant or repeated information.  Use the important ideas to make a web.  Relate main and supporting events.  And last but not least, sum it all up in a few sentences."

3.    "Now that doesn't seem hard does it.  Don't worry I am not going to do this by yourself yet.  We are going to read an article together and learn just how to summarize it."  Put "Gorilla Rescue" on the smart board and ask students to read it silently.  "Okay, so we have read it one time through.  My next step is to read it and highlight all of the main ideas.  Since this is the smart board and I can't highlight I am going to use this green smart board marker to underline my important information.  I am going to read the first paragraph aloud and I want you to be listening for important information and unimportant information." Read first paragraph aloud and then ask students for what they think is the important information.  Underline it with a marker.  Then ask students for the unimportant information.  Take a different color marker and cross out this information. 

4.    "Now that we have marked out unimportant information and underlined the important stuff, we are going to make our web.  For our webs, we are going to put the title of the article in the center, like this (do web on chart paper).  Now we are going to find the main ideas and branch them off the center."  As a class, collectively make the web using "Gorilla Rescue".

5.    "I think our web looks really good.  But now we have to write our summarization sentences. For an article this size, I should really only have two or three really good and developed sentences."  Constructively ask students questions to get them to think about good summarization questions like, "Now let's think about what we put as our main ideas on the web?  How can we relate all of these ideas?"

6.    Once you have finished, leave all of the items on the board, then pass out the students summarization checklist.  Give them all a copy of "One Man's Goal: To Travel Around the World on His Own Power" and tell them they are to follow the steps carefully, not missing a single one.  First, give them a book talk saying, "This article is about a man who wants to row across the Pacific in a 23-foot long row boat, using completely his own man power! No engine or anything!! Do you think he can do it? You have to read it to find out!  When they are finished, they must use their checklist to make sure they have covered every step.  Be sure to leave chart and other article on smart board so students can refer back to it.  Tell students they will be turning in the article that they have highlighted and crossed out, their web, summarization sentences, and checklist.



For the assessment, I will circulate the room as students highlight and cross out their article.  I will also look at their final pieces.  Along with their checklist, I will use my checklist to make sure they have covered all areas of summarization.



Horton, Shelley. 1, 2, 3‰¥ÏSumming It Up!  http://www.auburn.edu/academic/education/reading_genie/invent/hortonrl.html

Shelton, Andrea.  Explain to Me What's Important!  http://www.auburn.edu/academic/education/reading_genie/encounters/sheltonrl.html

National Geographic Kids Online http://kids.nationalgeographic.com/Stories/PeoplePlaces/Around-the-world


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