Simply Summarizing!

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Reading to Learn

Elizabeth Thomas

 

Rationale:

When students are reading, it is vital that they are able to determine what information within a text is important information and not just minor details. This lesson is aimed at teaching students the summarization strategy by watching as a teacher models and explains the summarization strategy, using guided practice to build understanding of strategy, and then independently summarizing a text and completing comprehension questions

 

Materials:

The Big Dinosaur Dig by Esther, overhead of pages 7; overhead pens (1); photocopies of pages 12-15  The Big Dinosaur Dig by Ester Ripley by J.A. Senn(enough for each student); assessment passage pg. 38-43 The Big Dinosaur Dig by Ester Ripley (one for each student); assessment checklist (one for each student)

 

Procedures:

Explain to students why strategy helps in comprehending a large portion of text

Say:  When you are reading a book that is explaining a story instead of telling a story, there is one strategy that we can use to help. That strategy is summarizing! When you read a longer book, sometimes it can be hard to read all of the text and understand what is being said. However, when you summarize, you read a passage and only pick out the important details of the reading. By picking out only the important details, we won't have to worry with the little details and added information that do not help us understand the topic of the story.

Review or teach background knowledge

Say:  There is some new vocabulary in our book for today.  The new words are carnivore, fossilized, quarries, and excavated. Let's look closer at what the word excavate means.  To excavate means to make a hole by digging. A researcher may excavate an area to look for fossils in a certain area. By excavating an area, a researcher will find things in the ground that many people would not be able to find without digging. Which would most likely be a place that is excavated: a desert or a school? A mall or a dried lake? Can you finish the sentence for me: When the desert was excavated, a researcher discovered… (Possible completion: A dinosaur bone from long ago)

Explain how to use new concept or strategy

Say:  Summarizing is when you read a small part of the story, such as a paragraph, and then stop. After stopping, we go back and look at the text to pick out the parts of the paragraph that were important and get rid of the information that does not add anything valuable to the main idea of the story. We use summarizing to help us understand the most important details when we have a big part of text to read. We have to keep things very simple and only choose the details that are essential to the main idea of the story!

Model the new concept or strategy

Say:  I am going to show you how I keep things simple and summarize a paragraph. When I am reading, I only want to know the most important parts of the paragraph. First, I will read the entire paragraph. Let's see how I can summarize this paragraph.  In the early 1900s, a fossil hunter had found the bones of huge dinosaurs in part of the Sahara Dessert in Egypt. Although the fossil hunter died many years ago, Josh Smith had the maps for one of the dinosaur sites. They were recorded in his Global Positioning Device, or GPS, a handy little computer that uses satellites to help people navigate. (p.4)

Say:  As you can see, that paragraph gave us a good bit of information. Now, I am going to go back and underline only the important details, ones that are necessary to get the main idea of the paragraph.  I just want to know who the paragraph is about and why that person is important for me to know about.  The paragraph mentions Josh Smith, that must be who this paragraph is about. In the early 1900s, a fossil hunter had found dinosaur bones in part of the Sahara Dessert in Egypt. Although the fossil hunter died many years ago, Josh Smith had the maps for one of the dinosaur sites. They were recorded in his Global Positioning Device, or GPS, a handy little computer that uses satellites to help people navigate.  Why is he important?  You can predict that he uses the maps from the fossil hunter to discover more dinosaur bones.

Say:  Can everybody see that some of the sentences have words in them that are not important to the main idea. What is important and is the summary is: Josh Smith had maps from a fossil hunter on his GPS and will use them to discover new fossils.

Simple practice under teacher guidance

Say:  Since we have an idea about the strategy of summarizing, we will try to summarize a passage together. When Josh was six years old and growing up in Orange, Massachusetts, he received his first book about dinosaurs. His favorite dinosaur was the Spinosaurus-a carnivore with a huge fin on its back that stood up like a sail. The fossilized bones of the Spinosaurus were found in Bahariya  Oasis in the Sahara Dessert by a German fossil hunter by the name Ernest Stromer. Traveling by camel, Stromer made a trip into the big dessert to dig out the fossilized bones and take them back to Germany.

Say:  Let's try to pick out what is most important in this paragraph so we can make a nice and simple summary.  We need to know what it's about and why it's important.  Let's underline the most important parts.  When Josh was six years old and growing up in Orange, Massachusetts, he received his first book about dinosaurs. His favorite dinosaur was the Spinosaurus-a carnivore with a huge fin on its back that stood up like a sail. The fossilized bones of the Spinosaurus were found in Bahariya  Oasis in the Sahara Dessert by a German fossil hunter by the name Ernest Stromer. Traveling by camel, Stromer made a trip into the big dessert to dig out the fossilized bones and take them back to Germany.

Say:  Now we can put together the most important pieces to make our summary --Josh's favorite dinosaur was the Spinosaurus that was discovered by Ernest Stromer.  This summary tells us the main idea of the paragraph without having to include all of the unnecessary details that really don't add anything to the main idea.

Whole texts

Say:  We are going to continue practicing summarizing today. We will make summaries that are simple and only have the most important pieces from the text.  We are going to continue reading The Big Dinosaur Dig by Ester Riley that describes the discoveries that Josh Smith and his crew made.

Say:  I want you each to read pages 38 through 42 and write a 2 sentence summary for each page.  How did Josh and his crew begin to remove the fossils from the rocks? Was the team able to reconstruct the dinosaur? How were they able to imagine what the dinosaur looked like? Make sure you are focusing on the main idea and don't include trivial information, like examples, extra adjectives, opinions, and detailed explanations.

Assessment

Say:  Once you are finished, I will call on each of you to come up and read a different paragraph from the text and have you summarize it and then answer comprehension questions.

Have students read and summarize pg. 13, using the summarization checklist (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?).

Ask comprehension questions:  Where did Josh travel to learn more about his discovery? What was Josh more interested about in this paragraph? Why was he more interested in these things? How did they know the dinosaur lived in the topical swamp?   

When summarizing, did the student…

Yes

No

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?

 

 

 

 

 

References:

Backer, Katie.  Ready, Set, Summarize!  http://www.auburn.edu/academic/education/reading_genie/doorways/backerrl.htm

 

Steeb, Caitlin. Short and Sweet Summarization.

http://www.auburn.edu/academic/education/reading_genie/awakenings/steebcrl.htm

 

Ripley, Esther. The Big Dinosaur Dig. New York, New York DK Publishing: 2008

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