Swimming with Summarization

Reading to Learn


Ashley Kinsey

 Rationale: Summarization is a great strategy to use to help students with comprehension. Comprehension is the main focus when reading. When one summarizes, they gather all of the main ideas of a text they have read to get the overall thought being portrayed. To teach summarization to students, teachers must model the skill for them. This lesson will teach students how to decide what is important in a text, article, etc. The students will be taught first to delete repetitive information, then to highlight the important details, and create a topic sentence.


Highlighters (one for each student)

Article for Modeling- Turtle Travels

Copies of the articles for each student

Large sheet of post-it paper

Assessment Article- Biodiversity in the Ocean

Assessment Checklist



1. Today we are going to talk about summarizing. Does anyone know what summarizing means? I would then let a few students share. Summarizing is when you read a text and then take all the main points from the text to help form the main idea. This is a great strategy to use when reading, because it helps you remember what you have read.

2. Now we are going to discuss the rules for summarization. I would write these on a big post-it paper as I say them. Then the rules can later on be posted in the room. There are three rules for summarization: first delete trivial and repeated information, then create a topic sentence, and highlight the important information. Before reading this article we are going to go over some new vocabulary words. Hatchling- a young animal that has just come out of an egg; Flipper- body part a sea turtle uses to move; Juvenile- young animal between baby and adult; Magnetic Field- produced my electric currents; Sargassum- a type of seaweed.

3.Next, I will project the article on the board on a transparency. I will also give out the article to each individual student. I will then start activating background knowledge and sparking student’s interest by asking questions.  Has anyone ever been to the ocean? Do you know what type of animals live in the ocean? Have you ever seen a sea turtle or a sea turtle nest? Where do you find a sea turtle nest?  Let’s read to find out more about sea turtles and see what other interesting facts we can find. Read your article silently as I read mine aloud.  After we are done reading, I will pass out a highlighter and a pencil to each student. Now we are going to use our pencil to cross out the trivial information or information that is repeated. As we do this, we are going to look for important information. Any information that is important we are going to highlight. Now lets start, I will do the first paragraph. I want you to watch, so we can do it together on the second paragraph. I will model how to cross out trivial information and highlight important information and then we will do it together on the second paragraph.

4. “It's a starry night in August. A clutch of eggs lies hidden more than two feet below a sandy beach. The nest holds more than 100 eggs. Each egg is about the size of a golf ball. Inside each one, there may be a baby green sea turtle. From the start, what happens to these turtles depends on the environment. The temperature of the sand determines whether sea turtles hatch as male or female. The sand here on Costa Rica's Tortuguero Beach is warm. So more of the hatchlings will be female.”

 I am crossing out “It’s a starry night in August,” because it does not add significant meaning to what is happening in the story. I am leaving the next sentence, because it tells were the eggs are located. I crossed out the next two sentences, because they are just providing extra details that we do not need for the big picture. I left the next three sentences, because they tell what type of turtles they are going to be and where they are found.  

Now for the summary, we are going to take the main points that we have left and make them into summary. We want to include that the baby turtles are two feet deep and since it is warm in Costa Rica’s Tortuguero Beach they will be females.

Summary: There are baby turtles hidden in the ground more than two feet deep, and when they hatch many of them will be females since the beach is warm.

5. Now you are going to summarize by yourself. Booktalk: The article that your are going to read is about different types of biodiversity. You will learn about the different types of diversity. The three main ones you will look at is genetic diversity, species diversity, and ecosystem diversity. You will have to read to find out all the different diversities in each group. The students will be instructed to use their highlighters and to mark the important details and use their pencil to mark out the trivial information. Once they have highlighted and marked the article, the students will then be instructed to create a summary of two to three sentences. They will turn in their article and their summary together. This will be their assessment.

6. Assessment: I will assess them on their summary they did individually. They will be graded using the summarization checklist below. 

Did the Student….



Get rid of unimportant information?



Get rid of repeated information?



Organize items under one umbrella term?



Select a topic?



Write a topic statement that covers everything that is important from the passage of the text?




Vocabulary Review Instruction:

Let’s look at what the word hatchling means. A hatchling is a young animal that has just come out of an egg. These animals have to have been born from an egg. A puppy dog is not a hatchling. A duck that was just born would be a hatchling.

Use:  I saw a duck hatchling try to walk for the first time today. The hatchlings were just born today.

Which one of these would be considered a hatchling: Cats or Baby Chicks

Finish the sentence: I saw a ______ hatchling today with his/her mother.

Possible completion: I saw a turtle hatchling today with his/her mother.


National Geographic. Turtle Travels


National Geographic. Biodiversity in the Ocean


Price, Marcy.  Summing It Up the Cool Way



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