To Summarize It All Up…


Haylee Black

Reading to Learn: Summarizing

Rationale: When reading in order to understand the text we must comprehend what the writer has written. When we comprehend we can then organize the ideas from the text and learn how to summarize the important information. For a reading summarizing is important to recall the important facts quickly and to convey the information read to someone else. Summarizing means that the reader reduces a text into a compact and memorable gist. This lesson will model summarization strategies for students, and the students will practice summarization on their own to be assessed. 


Highlighters for each student

Paper for each student

Pencil for each student

Document camera or smart board to display article: "Are Bats Really Blind?"

Copy of article for each student: "Nose Knows"

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

1.       Highlight Important Information

2.      Mark Out the Repeated/Unneeded Information

3.      Pick Out the Important Information

4.      Form a Main Idea or Topic Sentence

Bookmark with summarizing steps for each student

List of vocabulary words written on cards (with definition on back) and written on the board

Assessment Checklist for summarizing




Highlight Important Information



Mark Out the Repeated Information



Pick Out the Important Information



Form a Main Idea or Topic Sentence








1.     Introduce: I will introduce the lesson to the students by explaining the strategy we will practice: summarizing.  "Today we are going to learn a helping comprehension strategy called: summarization. Have any of you heard of summarizing before? When we summarize we take a text and pull out the important ideas. I will model for you how we summarize and then you will try it on your own!"


2.     Vocabulary: "Before we go over the steps for summarizing let's take a look at our vocabulary words." Show students the index cards with the words written and the definitions written on them. Explain "When you read your article and you have a hard time remembering what one of our words means, you may come up and look at the card to find the definition." Now look at the words on the board: portrayed, tactic, doused, ruse, schnoz; read them all first and then go back to further explain. Provide the definitions after asking if anyone knows what the word means. Use the words in new sentences and have students try to form their own sentences with the words or fill in the blank. Ex: A person can be doused with water when they_______________.


3.     Steps to take: "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. I am passing out a book mark with the steps on it for you to use when you forget a step." 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 you will highlight important information while reading. You will not highlight everything, just the information you think will be important to tell someone else. Second, you will look at the facts you have highlighted and mark a line through the information that is repeated. If the information repeats itself then we do not need to hear it twice. Third, you will look back at your highlighted text and circle the important information and mark out the information that you find really isn't that important. Finally, you will form a main idea sentence. All of our main idea sentence may be different and that is okay. Your main idea sentence includes only the information that will tell someone else briefly what the article is about."


4.     Model: "Now that we have looked at the steps to take, I will show you how they work. The first article I will read,you follow along, is about bats. Have any of you heard the saying 'blind as a bat'?" Discuss meaning with the students and have them decide if it is true or not. "I want to know if bats are really blind or if that is a myth. I am going to read the first passage as you follow along." Put the passage on the document camera for the class to see. As I read watch how I highlight the important parts as I go.


"Now, I am going to go back and look at the highlighted facts and decide what I need to cross out. I will think out loud to myself "What information can I cross out that is repetitive?" Explain to the students why you are crossing out what you are. Think out loud for the students: "Okay, now with the highlighted information left what can I circle as being most important or cross out as being least important?" Again, explain to students what you are thinking and why some information is not as important. "With the highlighted words left I should be able to make my main idea sentence. I need to decide what my main idea sentence is going to be?" Discuss the steps out loud as you decipher what the main idea is. Write the main idea sentence for the students to see. Explain to them that they should ask themselves the questions that you did as you went along to make sure they do not leave a step out.


5.     Your turn: "Now that you all have watched me model the steps for you, I believe that you are all ready to practice one on your own. Booktalk: The article you are going to read is very interesting. Can a coon dog be thrown off a path like some movies show? How good are their noses? Read the article to find out! After you read use your bookmark to help you through the steps we have previously practiced. When you are reading to write your main idea sentence use your notebook paper. Assessment: You may bring me your notebook paper and the copy of your article to place in the basket for me to review." This will be checked with the assessment table under materials.


6.     Comprehension:  After students have finished their summarizing steps, students can use the following questions to check their comprehension (These will be used as discussion questions during the discussion time at the end of class):

1.     What will happen if you use various scents and run in a zigzag motion to get the coon dog off of your track? Was the coon dog's nose easily taken off of the trail?


2.     Why do you think people believe that a coon dog's nose can be thrown off track by losing the scent they are tracking?


3.     What was the discovery from the article explaining why the coon dog never lost track of Jamie Hyneman?


4.     What is another misconception you have seen in movies about animals?


Smith, Blair. Food For Thought.

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

The Nose Knows

Are Bats Really Blind?


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