“Get the Gist”

Reading to Learn Design

Haley Jacobs

Rationale: In order for students to remember what they read, it is important for them to know how to condense a story or article into their own words, also known as summarizing. This lesson will teach students how to determine what kind of information should be included in a summary by watching their teacher model the strategy, summarizing through guided practice, and finally individually summarizing a text and answering comprehension questions.

Materials:             

How the Wright Brothers Changed Our World by Meera Dolasia (enough for each student), overhead copy of article, overhead pens, assessment checklist

Procedures:

1.  Explain to the students why summarizing is an important reading strategy.

Say: Let’s pretend one of your friends asks you to tell them about your favorite book. Your friend has never read the book, but wants to know if it’s a story they would enjoy reading. Instead of giving them the story to read on their own, you tell them what the story is about, who the main characters are, and any other details you want them to know about when making their decision. Telling a story in your own words is called summarizing. Summarizing is an important strategy to use when retelling a longer story, article, or information on a certain topic.

2. Review or teach background knowledge

Say: There is some new vocabulary in the article we are going to read today. One of the new words we will come across is fascination. Let’s look closer at what this word means. When you are fascinated by something, you find it extremely interesting. It is probably something you have never seen before and you want to know more about it. Which one of these would you be fascinated by: a new toy you get for Christmas or by cleaning your room? A new toy is more fun and interesting to figure out than chores are. Can you all finish this sentence for me: On our school field trip to the zoo, I was fascinated by…

 

3. Explain how to use new concept or strategy

Say: To summarize a long article or passage, we normally read one paragraph at a time and then stop. After we finish reading the paragraph, we go back and find the most important facts or information that we were given. Underlining the main idea or details of the paragraph helps us see what information should be included in our summary.

 

4. Model the new concept or strategy:

Say: Now that we have a better idea of what it means to summarize, I’m going to show you how we decide what information should be included in a summary. Remember, we only want to underline the most important information. I will read the whole paragraph aloud first.

"Wilbur and Orville Wright's interest in flying began at a fairly young age, when their father presented them with a toy helicopter that flew. The fascination continued as they grew older and in 1899 they built their first model- a cloth-covered kite, that they could steer from the ground."

 

 

Say: This paragraph gave us a lot of information. Let's go back and underline the important details we want to include in our summary. The paragraph is about Wilbur and Orville Wright so those are important names to underlne. "Wilbur and Orville Wright's interest in flying began at a fairly young age, when their father presented them with a toy helicopter that flew. The fascination continued as they grew older and in 1899 they built their first model- a cloth-covered kite, that they could steer from the ground." Does everyone see how the underlined portion of the paragraph is important information? It is important to include key details in our summary such as who the paragraph is about, the timeline, and any other key details that are included in the author's main idea. These will all be included in our new summary: Wilbur and Orville Wright's early interest in flying airplanes led to building their first model in 1899.

 

5. Simple practice under teacher guidance:

Say: Now let's try and summarize a passage together as a class.

 

"Once they mastered the steering, Wilbur and Orville started working on a prototype that could hold a person. Dubbed, Glider No. 1 it's wire supported wooden frame was covered with fine satin fabric. A horizontal rudder was attached to navigate upward or downward motion."

 

Say: Let's find the most important information to create our own short summary. Remember, it is important to include who it's about and what they did. "Once they mastered the steering, Wilbur and Orville started working on a prototype that could hold a person. Dubbed, Glider No. 1 it's wire supported wooden frame was covered with fine satin fabric. A horizontal rudder was attached to navigate upward or downward motion." Now we can combine what we underlined to make a short and sweet summary of the key ideas: After Wilbur and Orville learned how to steer, they created a model that could hold people.

 

6. Whole Texts

Say: Now that we have seen plenty of examples, I want you to try and practice summarizing on your own. Continue reading the article about the Wright Brothers, stopping to write a 1-2 sentence summary after each paragraph. Remember to only include important information that leads us to the author's main idea.

 

7. Assessment:

Say: After you have had time to finish reading and summarizing the article, I am going to call you to my desk one by one to read a short article about adopting a pet from the pound. After you read and summarize the text, I will ask you 4 short comprehension questions. Have students read the article and use the following checklist to assess understanding:

 

Strategy

Yes

No

Identify the main idea

 

 

Include important information

 

 

Written well and clear

 

 

 

References:

Steeb, Caitlin. Short and Sweet Summarization.

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

Dolasia, Meera. How The Wright Brothers Changed Our World. http://www.dogonews.com/2008/11/23/how-the-wright-brothers-changed-our-world

 

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