It’s a Starry Summarization!

Reading to Learn Lesson Design

By: Abby Sykes



Rationale: When readers become fluent they can focus more on comprehending the text rather than decoding every word, after all this is the main goal of reading. Readers can improve their comprehension by learning strategies that will aide in learning from the text. It is important for the teacher to explicitly teach these strategies so that the children can practice these until they become skills the children can use independently of the teacher. Summarization is one strategy that can be used to help a reader comprehend the story. It allows the students to pick out the main points in a text and delete unimportant information. This lesson will engage children in practicing summarizing by recognizing the main ideas and writing new sentences that summarize different articles.



Materials: Pencils, paper, marker, summarization checklist (one for each student), smart-board, summarization rules displayed on chart (1. Cross out unimportant or repeated information, 2. Circle the important information and identify an “umbrella” term to figure out our main idea, 3. Write a topic sentence that covers everything that is important about the text), National Geographic Article “Star Parties: Discovering the Night Sky” on smart board, National Geographic Article “Seeking the Stars” (one for each student), National Geographic Article “Is Pluto No Longer a Planet?” (one for each student)


1.”Now that you are able to read texts fluently, you are moving from learning to read to reading to learn. This means that the texts you are reading give you important information that helps you to learn about new and exciting things. One strategy that helps us comprehend what we are reading is summarization. Raise your hand if you can tell me what it means to summarize? (allow think-time, share with their partner, and share their ideas with the class) When we summarize we pick out the main ideas or the important details to build a memorable sentence/paragraph that tells what the text is mainly about. Today, we are going to practice summarizing different articles by using our 3 summarization rules. (Show Rule Chart and discuss the rules) We will use these rules to read the text and write a summary of the important details in the text.



2. Building background knowledge: “Before we begin reading and summarizing our articles we first need to go over some vocabulary words that you might see.’ (Write words on smart board and review each word with the students: astronomer, professional, amateur, pollution, and debate.)

-Astronomer- a scientist who studies the universe beyond the earth

-Example: Someone who studies the stars

-Non-example: Someone who studies animals

-What do you think an astronomer’s job would be?

-Professional-a person who takes part in something for pay (a permanent career)

-Example: a professional football player

-Non-example: someone who plays football on Fridays for fun

-Would a person with a career as an astronomer be a professional?

-Amateur- a person who takes part in something for pleasure and not for pay

-Example: someone who plays football as a hobby

-Non-example: someone who only plays football for pay

-Could an astronomer be an amateur?

-Pollution- poison, wastes, or other materials that make something(air) dirty

-Example: oil spills

-Non-Example: clean water

-Can you think of something that can cause pollution?

-Debate-a discussion/argument over a problem with different view-points or beliefs

-Example: Class voting- Should we have recess or not?

-Non-example: two people discuss the importance of having recess

-Can you think of an example of a debate?

-Would two people who believe the same thing have a discussion or debate?



2.  [Display “Star Parties: Discovering the Night Sky” on smart board and get children to read the article] Say: “I am going to show you how I would summarize this article. After I read the article once all the way through, I will take my pen and CROSS OUT the unimportant information and CIRCLE the important details. (Using the smart board cross out the unimportant information, then circle the important information) Now that I have decided what is important in this article I can begin to think of my “umbrella” word. By looking at my details I circled I notice that they are all about star parties, so this could be my “umbrella”. Next, I want to create a topic sentence that tells me the main idea of this article. I would start with my umbrella term and tell about the important details that describe this term. For example, ‘Star Parties are where people gather at a place where there are not many lights to observe the night sky and learn about the sky from astronomers. They have to escape light pollution to see the night sky.’ Do you think this summarizes the article? Now, I can remember this article because I summarized it into short sentences that give the important details.



3.  [Give each child a copy of the National Geographic Article “Seeking the Stars”] Say: “Now let’s look at the article “Seeking the Stars”. I want you to read the article once all the way through, and when you are all done we will summarize the article together. When you are finished and waiting on others to finish, you can make marks on the article to cross out unimportant information and circle the important details.” When students finish reading, make the markings on the smart board as the children help to figure out what should be crossed out and circled. Then, elicit children’s responses to the “umbrella” term. “Raise your hand if you can put these important details together to give me a topic sentence for this article.” (Record children’s responses on the smart board.) “Great job! Do you think summarizing will help you comprehend what you are reading? Why or why not? I feel that it helps me a lot, so that when I write a summary for an article I can remember what I wrote and what the article is about so that I can go back to it if I ever wanted more information about the topic. It allows me to understand what I am reading, so that I will not get frustrated and can enjoy reading!”



4.  Say: “Now, I want you to practice summarizing by yourself. If you forget the steps you should take then refer back to the Rule Chart. I want you to do exactly as we did with the other article: read, re-read, cross out the unimportant details, circle the important details, think of the “umbrella” term, and generate a topic sentence that explains what the article is about. Our next article is “Is Pluto No Longer a Planet”. (Give each child a copy) After you have completed your summary, bring it and your article to me so I can look over it. If you have any questions, raise your hand and I will come help you!”



5. Assessment: I will use the Summarization Checklist to analyze the student’s use of summarization rules, as well as the topic sentence and markings on the article. I will also ask the students to respond to the following reading comprehension questions while I record their answers.

-Why do people think Pluto is not a planet?

-What was the outcome of this argument?

-Based on your reading, do you think Pluto should be a planet? Why or why not?

Did the student...



Cross out unimportant details?



Circle important details?



Generate “umbrella” term?



Generate a topic sentence?



Comprehend the story?






-Pendergrass, Katie “Sum it up with Summarizing”

-”Star Parties: Discovering the Night Sky”

-”Seeking the Stars” by Catherine Clarke Fox

-”Is Pluto No Longer a Planet?”


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