Summing it Up


Ben Gross

Reading to Learn: Summarizing

Rationale: When readers read a text they are reading for comprehension. Comprehension can be checked if we can summarize what we have read. Summarizing is an important skill to have as a reader because we can provide other interested readers with a brief summary of the book to help them decide if they want to read it or not. To summarize we need to be able to organize what we read into sections to remember for later. This lesson will model how to use summarization strategies and expand our comprehension of what we are reading.


Paper for each student

Pencil for each student

Document camera or smart board to display article:


The German shepherd is a brave, protective and very intelligent dog. In the domestic context, this means he is always alert, keeping an eye out for intruders. He makes an excellent watchdog and guard dog. Due to their flock guarding instincts, German shepherds are particularly protective of children in their family and will gladly warn off perceived threats. For this reason, you should introduce your pet to regular visitors while he is young. The mailman, paperboy and neighbors will all be welcomed with a wagging tail once he knows who they are.

Copy of article for each student:


Due to his intelligence, which is common among most herding breeds, he is easy to train. However, you need patience, confidence and firmness to get the best out of a German shepherd. He's a curious breed and his focus will slip if training is too repetitive or boring. Getting children involved in training is a great idea, provided they are capable of being firm, consistent and confident. Failure to be consistent in training can undo a lot of good work when it comes to training, as this will confuse your dog

Poster board (or written on board) to display summarizing steps:

            1. Mark out the repeated information

            2. Pick out the important information

            3. Form a main idea or topic sentence

List of vocabulary words written on cards and written on the board

Assessment Checklist for summarizing




Mark Out the Repeated Information



Pick Out the Important Information



Form a Main Idea or Topic Sentence









1.     I will introduce the strategy: summarizing. "Today I will model for you how to use the comprehension strategy called summarizing. When we summarize a story we take out the important information and form a main topic sentence for the information. I will introduce the steps to you, model how to use them, and then you will practice them on your own."


2.     Say: "Before we go over the steps for summarizing let's take a look at our vocabulary words." Use the cards and words written on the board for this step. Say "Look at the words on the board: breeds, firmness, and capable." As you read the words give definition, example, and an example outside of context. Allow students to practice using the words in their own sentences with one another. Encourage them to ask what a word means if they come across another unfamiliar word in the article.


3.     Say: "Now that we have looked closer at our vocabulary words let's look at the steps we will take to summarize the articles we will read today. " Display the steps on the poster board where the class can see it. "Let's look at the steps on the poster board. The first step says after reading that you will mark out all unimportant information. Second, you will find the important information and mark out any information that is repeated. Finally, you will form a main idea sentence. A main idea sentence represents what you have read and will be different from someone else's. It is okay for our sentences to be different; I am just looking to see if you know how to find the important information of an article."


4.     Model: "Now that we have looked at the steps to take, let's see how they work. The articles we will read today are about German Shepherds. These are great dogs and are owned by many pet owners around the world. The article I will model for you is about their temperament and how they get along with other animals and people." Read passage to students and have them follow along.


"Let's look back at the article and I am going to decide what is included that isn't very important for someone to know before they read it." Mark out this information and ask students if they agree with what you have marked out. "Now let's see what information is most important that is left and mark out the repeated information. From the information I have left what could I say for my topic sentence?" Have students give ideas and praise their suggestions. Write what you would use as your topic sentence and explain again to the class that it is perfectly fine that theirs is different than yours.



5.     Say: "Now that you have watched and helped me with the first passage it is time for you to write a summary on your own. The article you are going to read is about how you should train a German Shepherd. Is there a certain way to train a dog? Why do we need to train them? Read the article to find out! After you read use the steps on the poster to help you to summarize the passage with writing a main idea sentence. Use your notebook paper to write your sentence." The writing will be the assessment. This will provide me with the information needed to know if all of my students grasped the concept or if I need to touch base on it some more.


6.      Comprehension:

         1. Is there a certain way to train a dog?

         2. What is the most important thing to remember when training a German             Shepherd?

         3. Do you think any dog can be trained this way? Why or why not?


Spivey, Moriah. Well, To Make a Long Story Short.

German Shepherds: Temperament and Training


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