Summary Stars

Shana Zink

Reading To Learn

Comprehension is the ultimate goal of reading instruction. Children must learn strategies that aid them in gaining meaning and knowledge from the text. Three rules make up the strategy of summarization: deleting trivia and redundancies, superordinating items and events, and compositing a statement to cover everything the writer is saying. Children must learn how to focus on the main idea of the reading in order to increase comprehension. Summarizing is a great strategy that fluent readers use in order to identify main ideas and recall information from the text. In this lesson, students will learn the six steps of summarization which will allow them to summarize what they are reading and receive a deeper understanding of the text.



Chart paper

12" x 12" pieces of poster board


Copy of the National Geographic article "Amazing Bats of Braken Cave" by Catherine

Clarke Fox

Checklist for each student with the following:

            1. delete unimportant information

`           2. delete repeated information

            3. substitute easy words for list items

            4. add a series of events with an easy action term

            5. select a topic

            6. invent a topic sentence if there is not already one

A copy for each student of the National Geographic article “Did you ever get the feeling your dog was laughing at you?

1. Begin the lesson by asking the students if they can define the word summary. Then ask them if they know what it means to summarize. After their answers, discuss what summarizing is and why it is important. Explain that the word summarize means to take out the main points of the story and put them together to make a summary, a few sentences that describe what the article is about. “When you are reading you summarize in your head by deleting the less important parts of the story and making note of the important ones.”

2. In order to teach children how to summarize I will model summarization for them. The article "Amazing Bats of Broken Cave" will be available on the board for everyone to see. The class will be instructed to read this article silently to themselves. "Alright everyone, today we are going to read a story about bats that live in Texas, it is called 'Amazing Bats of Broken Cave.' Read silently to yourself and look at me when you are finished so that I know when everyone has finished the article. Make sure you ask yourselves questions to help you figure out the story. Below is the first part of the article."


          The sun is setting on a summer night. At the entrance to a deep, dark cave, a few bats fly out and begin swirling high up into the air. More and more of the small, furry creatures appear. Within a few minutes, a whole river of bats is pouring out of the cave, and they keep coming, millions and millions of them.

3. "Ok, now that you have read the story let's learn the six steps of summarizing." (write on chart paper) 1. Delete unimportant information. 2. Delete repeated information 3. Substitute easy words 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 not one.  "It is important to delete unimportant information because it will distract us from the main point of the article. When we substitute easy words for lists of items, we are able to shorten the amount of information we have to remember.  For example, we may want to remember a list such as jackets, shirts, shorts, and pants.  We may want to simplify this list by calling it Clothing.  We can place each of these items under the topic of clothing to help us recall them.  We can add a series of events with an action term to help us recall a passage as well.  Then we can select a topic of the events in our passage and create a topic sentence that describes the passage we have read."

4. "Let's talk about what you read in the article together.  I am going to draw a picture on the chart paper.  This drawing is called a web.  Webs help us organize our information and understand what we know.  Remember to look at the summary checklist on our other chart.  Where do I put the main topic on our web?  (the middle) Very good!  What should I put in the middle of the web?"  (Bats in Texas)  Explain that we should be able to create a paragraph that summarizes the entire article.  "You can use the web to help you create your summary by using some of the facts that have been listed.  Each section on our web can be used to create a sentence to help create a short paragraph."

5. Together we will summarize the first paragraph. We will use of web to pull important information that will help us create our sentence. The students will work together to come up with this summary.  “On a summer night millions of bats were seen flying out of a dark cave.” The teacher should continue this process for the entire article and ask the children to help for each paragraph. After modeling how to create a summary, give the students each a copy of " Did you ever get the feeling your dog was laughing at you? by Aline Alexander Newman."

6. Now the students should try summarization on their own. Remind the students to look at the poster with steps for assistance. Now I want you to read and summarize this new article by yourself. I would like to remind you that I should not hear any talking because you are to be reading silently at your desk. On your own paper I would like you to write your sentence." Tell that students that you are now going to pass out poster board to every pair of students and they are to work together to summarize the article, remind them to use their checklist to do their summarization.

7. To assess the students I will compare their checklists to their webs. They will also individually write a brief paragraph summary based on their web. I will make sure the students used the six steps to create a summary. 


Fox, Catherine. Amazing Bats of Braken Cave. National Geographic Kids. 1996-2007.

Did you ever get the feeling your dog was laughing at you?

Scyphers, Sharon. Sum it Up!

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