Simple Summary

Reading to Learn

By Adrian Snider


Rationale: In order to be able to learn to read, students must be able to correctly summarize a text. Being able to summarize a text helps students to be able to understand main ideas. Explicitly teaching the students how to summarize, step by step, will help the students understand the importance of summarization. Summarization will help students all throughout their entire life and is a very important strategy for students to learn.



- Pencils (every student)

- Chart paper with summary rules written on it.

- Article "Are You A Fit Kid" Class set

- Highlighters for every student

- Article "Leading Lady" Class set

- Checklist


1.Procedure: Say: "Today we are going to work on a reading skill called Summarizing. Who can tell me what summarizing means? Summarizing is finding the main idea of a passage. Summaries are short and do not include trivial information, such as vocabulary words and definitions. Today you are going to learn how to find the main idea in a text and what parts of the texts can be deleted when writing a summary.


2. "Before we write a summary together as a class, lets look at a few good rules to remember when writing a summary. (Chart paper of rules). First, the first sentence of every summary needs to state the main idea. Then, you need to only included important information, make sure you do not include and trivial facts. To do this you need to first find the important information and highlight it, then cross out any information that is unimportant or repeated. Lastly, a summary should be very brief. A good summary of an entire article is only 3-5 sentences long."


3. Say: "Now I am going to model to you how to write a summary of an article correctly. Lets look at the article "Are You A Fit Kid?" (Pass out copies to the class along with a highlighter.) This article explains healthy habits that a fit kid must have. First, lets looks at some vocabulary words. Who can tell me what the word "Nutrients" means? Look for context clues if you do not know. Look at the paragraph under "Feed Your Body." The first sentence says "Fit kids eat a variety of foods to get different nutrients." Does anyone have an idea what nutrients means?  What if I said, "It is important to eat good nutrients to be a healthy kid."? Does anybody have any ideas? Nutrients are a substance that is essential for growth and maintenance of life. Now who can use the word nutrients in their own sentence? There is one more word we are going to look at, "exercise." Who knows what exercise means? What if I said, "It is important to exercise every day to be a healthy kid." Exercise is an activity that requires physical effort and improves health or fitness. The word exercise is in the last paragraph titled, "Exercise is Cool." Now who can use the word exercise in their own sentence? Since this paragraph contains the words "nutrients" and "exercise" we can predict that this text is going to be about how to stay healthy.


4. Read the article out loud to the class as the students follow along. "Now I am going to show you how to summarize this article. First, I am going to cross out any unimportant or repeated details. Then, I am going to highlight the important details. To find important detail, first we need to figure out the topic of the text. Then, we need to look at what the author says about the topic without including vocabulary words and definitions. (Model how to summarize the passage by highlighting and crossing out.)


Are You A Fit Kid?

Fit kids have healthful habits. Those habits include eating nutritious foods, exercising, and resting.

Feed Your Body

Fit kids eat a variety of foods to get different nutrients. Nutrients help the body grow and stay healthy. Check out the list of nine nutrients that are especially important for kids.

Nutrients that are especially important for kids.

1. Protein helps your body turn food into energy.

2. Carbohydrates are a good source of energy for your body.

3. Vitamin A helps maintain good eyesight and healthy skin.

4. Calcium helps keep your teeth and bones strong.

5. Vitamin C helps your body fight colds and heal wounds.

6. Fats, in small amounts, help your body use other nutrients.

7. Iron helps keep your blood healthy.

8. Folate is important for healthy growth.

9. Fiber helps prevent diseases, as you get older.

Exercise is Cool

Fit kids exercise every day. Exercise helps keep your muscles strong. One of the most important muscles in your body is your heart. It pumps blood through your body. Exercise also gives you more energy and helps improve your mood. How do you exercise?

Rest Rocks

Fit kids rest every day. People get rest from sleep. All people need sleep. Experts say that kids between ages 5 and 12 need about 10 to 11 hours of sleep each night. When you fall asleep, your body slows down and relaxes. A good night's sleep helps you get ready for the next day.


"The words that I decided to highlight are important information in the text. We know that ''fit kid" is the main topic because it is repeated throughout the text, but we can cross out this word after the first time it is shown. We are going to cross out all the vocabulary words in the text because they are not needed in a summary. We can also cross out information such as, "Experts say that kids between ages 5 and 12 need about 10 to 11 hours" because it is factual information that the reader can find out after reading the text. After I cross out and highlight, I am able to find the main idea and am now able to write my summary. Summary: In order to be a fit kid, you must eat nutritious food, exercise, and rest. A fit kid must eat a variety of foods to get nutrients. Also, exercising everyday is important to give you more energy and improve your mood. Lastly, a good nights rest is needed so your body has time to slow down and relax.


"See how I cut down the passage into just four sentences and included only the main idea, important information, and kept the summary brief."


5. Pass out "Leading Lady" passage to each student. Say: "Now I want you to read this text and summarize the passage using the same steps that I just used. If you need help look at the chart paper that is posted in the front of the room. Remember, you need to find the main idea, highlight important information and cross out unimportant and trivial information, and keep your summary brief. This article is about Nancy Pelosi, who is the Speaker of the House of Representatives.


Assessment: I will take up the summary that students complete about "Leading Lady" and grade them according to this rubric. I will also walk around the room while the students are writing the summary to make sure they understand what to do and answer any questions the students may have.




When summarizing, did the student…



Delete unimportant information?



Delete repeated information?



Organize items with a big idea?



Select a topic?



Write an inclusive, simple topic sentence to summarize the passage?





Summarization Invasion by Katherine Crum

"Are You A Fit Kid?" by Readworks

"Leading Lady" by Readworks


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