Let's Sum it Up!!

Reading to Learn Lesson Design

By Scottie Ferree


Rationale: One of the most important things we must be able to do when we read is be able to efficiently comprehend the texts we read. Without being able to comprehend when we read, how would we be able to understand what is going on in the stories we read? In order to summarize, students will be required to identify the main idea of the story or text and to note several facts that support their main idea. This lesson is designed to teach students some effective ways that they can summarize what they read, in this case, an article. By doing this, the students will be required to: take out some information and facts that aren't as important to the story, thus, making the size of the text more of a manageable size, and to then be able to eliminate things to be able to make a topic sentence.



-Article: Hooray for Hares : Becky Hare- Ranger Rick- National Wildlife Federation

-Article: Africa's Big and Little Five :by Hannah Schardt- Ranger Rick- National Wildlife Federation

-Smart Board

-Highlighters for each student

-Pencil and paper for each student

-Assessment Checklist



1.     "In order to be the best readers that we can be, we need to be able to best understand the words that we see when we are reading. Today we will be working on a new strategy while we read called summarizing. When we summarize something we are figuring out what the main idea of the text or story we are reading, and we do this by finding important details that are included within the text. This can be done by taking notes about what the main idea of the text is, taking out any words or sentences that we do not think are very important, and then identifying any important facts that help us to support the main idea."

"There are a few important steps that should be followed while we are summarizing:"

-Take out unimportant or any repeated information.

-Highlight or underline important information or facts that you find.

-Reduce the text into fewer words.

-Create a topic sentence.

2.     "Now I am going to pass out to everyone copies of the article "Hooray for Hares" in Ranger Rick Magazine. Raise your hands if you have ever read out of a Ranger Rick magazine? This is a student sponsored magazine for kids that is sponsored by the National Wildlife Federation. Even though everyone will have their very own copies of the article, I am also going to pull it up on our SmartBoard and we are going to use the four rules that I talked about and listed to summarize our text. Okay so lets take a look at "Hooray for Hares". This article is about hares, which are animals that are similar to rabbits, but also very very different! Before we begin reading to find out more about these animals, lets talk about some new terms that we will see as we read this article.

-         Burrows- an area where Hares live, kind of like a nest, but it is an area within the ground.

-         Boxing- a type of hitting or punching technique that hares do to one another with their front legs

-         Forms- a position that Hares lay in while they are hiding from enemies and predators

Now, lets read and find out all the information about Hares we may need to know! I would like it if everyone followed along with me as I read this article outloud- I want to see everyone's eyes on their own articles. " (Read text to students as they follow along)

3.     "After reading this article do you see any parts of this text that may have been repeated or unimportant?" (Have the students raise their hands and take any suggestions and comments. Clarify to the class why or why not their classmates' suggestions may or may not be correct or not, and why they did or didn't work, while also explaining to the students which parts should be marked out with their pencils.) "Let's take our pencils and cross out that first sentence in the section about "Built for Bounding", the first sentence from "March Hares", and then the last sentence in "Secret Babies"(it may vary based on student responses). (Mark out the text with the pen on the SmartBoard along with the students so they are clear which parts of the text should be taken out.)

4.     "Now, we are going to search for important imformation that we find in this article. (Have students raise their hands to give any suggestions. The most important pieces of information in this text are in the middle portions within each section. Each section within this article has it own individual "meat" to it which provides the details to the subcategories.)"Now that we have noted some sentences and phrases that are pretty important, we can take our highlighters and run them across those lines."
-"It's now time for us to make this text smaller, and into fewer words. I want everyone to pull out a piece of paper that I have given you and your pencils. I am going to freeze this screen I have here on the SmartBoard while I type something new into a word document for us. I am going to type up what we have highlighted so that we can then put all of those things into sentences.

5.     "Now we are going to make up a topic sentence for our summary of this article, together. As I told you earlier, our topic sentence needs to sum up our main idea from what we read, and make it into one sentence. After reading "Hooray for Hares", we know that Hares are special creatures that have many unique characteristics that make them unusual. Maybe our topic sentence could focus on that main idea, don't you think? Let's all use our thinking caps to help me to come up with something to write for our sentence that includes that information. (Possible sentence: Hares are unique creatures that are very similar to rabbits, but also very different.) Now lets use that topic sentence we have made, and also the sentences and things that we have highlighted, in order to make our summary paragraph. On your own paper, please write down the topic sentence we created, and then our highlighted information- BUT IN YOUR VERY OWN WORDS! It does not have to be just like mine. You can use similar words to describe it in your very own way. Just make sure that it is still only one sentence. (Walk around the room and observe what the students are writing).

6.     "Now, since we have a better understanding of how we can summarize articles and stories when we read them, I am now going to let you try to do this all on your own! I'm going to give you all an article called "Africa's Big and Little Five" which is also from our Ranger Rick magazine. This article is about many animals that live in Africa that we have heard lots about, such as elephants, lions, leopards, etc. But there are many animals that also live in Africa that share the same parts of those animals' names, such as the elephant shrew, and the leopard tortoise. You are going to use the strategies that we talked about and worked on together to help you to summarize this article on your own, just like how we summarized the other one. I want everyone to remember to read the entire article first, and if you feel like you need to read it once more to go back over it, that is fine too. Then remember to cross our any information that you think isn't important enough for the final summary, and also cross out anything that may be repeated more than once. Then you need to reduce the parts of the article into fewer words, create your topic sentence for your summary, and then continue to use what you have noted and highlighted to write up a new summary for the article IN YOUR OWN WORDS! Good luck, and ask me questions whenever you need to- but let's all do our best to try and do this as independently as possible."



Assessment: Read over EACH one of the students' summaries, and give a "WELL DONE" or "GOOD WORK" stamp on each summary if it is evident that the student understood the main points of the article and created a summary that made sense of the article too. If not, use a red pen to make suggestions or corrections, and discuss these with students whose papers had comments written on them.



-What point was the author trying to make with the title of this article? (putting together- labeling the article and sparking initial attention)

- How are hares different from rabbits? Describe some of their distinguishing characteristics. (putting together)

-What doe mother hares do with their young?(putting together)

- Can you think of any other kinds of animals that live similar lifestyles as Hares, try not to say rabbits. Think deeper…(writer and me)

-What characteristics of hares is similar to you? Tell me why. (Writer and me)












National Wildlife Federation's Ranger Rick. Becky Hare. "Hooray for Hares". April 2013. Web. http://www.nwf.org/Kids/Ranger-Rick/Animals/Mammals/Hares.aspx


National Wildlife Federation's Ranger Rick. Hannah Schardt. "Africa's Big and Little Five". April 2013. Web. http://www.nwf.org/Kids/Ranger-Rick/Animals/Mixture-of-Species/Big-and-Little-Five-in-Africa.aspx



Lyndsey Tenney, Summing it Up.




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