Super Summarizer


Reading to Learn

Jennifer Strickland



Reading is typically the way a student will begin to learn about a new topic. First, students must learn to read, but it is important that students soon become able to read to learn. Summarizing is an important skill for students to master in order to read with a purpose of learning new information. Through summarizing, readers can learn to pick out important ideas and details about what they are reading, allowing them to focus in on the information to learn. This lesson is going to teach students specific steps they can take in order to become skillful at summarizing large passages they read so that they can truly learn the information for which they are reading. Students will be introduced to the steps of summarizing and write these steps in a brochure that they will make. The teacher will then model how to summarize an article that is read aloud to the class and students will practice summarizing individually with a new article.



-Pencils (one per student)

- Printer paper (1 piece per student)

-Transparency of "Streaming Chemistry" article

-"Streaming Chemistry" articles (1per student)

-"Joys of Toys" articles (1 per student)

- Rubric for grading students' summaries



1.     Introduce summarizing to the students:

"Today we are going to be learning how to summarize. Summarizing is finding the main idea of something that you read. This skill is extremely important because it helps us as readers to find the most important information about what we are reading. In order to find the most important information to put in a summary, we need to delete any information that isn't important. Today we are going to practice finding the main idea, finding important details that support that idea, and removing any insignificant or unnecessary information.


2. Hand out one sheet of printer paper to each student to make a brochure for the steps of summarizing.

"First you are each going to make your own brochure that will list the steps of summarizing. You will keep this brochure in your reading folder so that it will be easily accessible should you forget any step in the process.  The brochure will have three sections- one for each of the three steps of summarizing. Fold your brochure into three sections now".


3. Explain the three important steps of summarization:

"Like I said, there are three important steps to summarizing:

-First, you need to pick out all of the important details of the passage you are reading. Decide what the big ideas in the passage are, and underline them if you can mark on what you are reading.

-Second, you should find the any details that are repetitive or that aren't important to the big idea of the passage. You can cross out these details.

-Finally, you should organize the important information you have selected and make sure you have details that support the main ideas."

-On the back of your brochure, we will write important things to remember about summaries. One important thing to write is to remember that summaries should be shorter than the passage you are reading! A summary can simply be 3-5 sentences- a good, solid paragraph. Another thing to remember is that you want a good topic sentence. This will be one single sentence that states the overall main idea of the passage you read; this is sort of like a summary of your summary!"

4. Pass out a copy of the article, "Streaming Chemistry" to each student.

-"We are going to read this article I am giving you together as a class and practice the skills we have discussed on summarizing together".

-"First, though, I want to introduce a vocabulary word that will be important to your understanding of this article. The word is 'aquatic'. Raise your hand if you have heard this word before. Aquatic simply means something that relates to water. For example, in this article the word is seen where it says "aquatic life". This means that the author is talking about animals that live in the water. Who can give me a few examples of 'aquatic life'? (Answers could be dolphin, sharks, fish, whales, etc).

5. Read the article aloud to the class as they follow along with their own copy.  

6. Model how to summarize this article

-"Now we need to summarize the article. How do we begin? Right, let's pick out important details and mark out unimportant details as we read the article again. To do this, we need to think about what subject seems to be mentioned more than once? As I read the first few sentences, I see that water is mentioned repeatedly and is very important and useful. This seems to be the main idea. So for my first sentence of my summary, I am going to write "Water is very important and useful in many different ways".

-"Picking out these main ideas is very important to figure out at the beginning of the summarizing process. After we do this, we have to decide what the author is trying to say about the topic. Let's look again at the first paragraph and I'll model what I do when I am summarizing. Now I am going to write "Every living thing needs water". That is a key point in what the author's message is about water."

7. Continue to go through the steps of summarizing this article about water. I will think aloud so that students can hear how I decide what information about water is important in this article and what is secondary, unnecessary information that can be marked out. Mark out useless information, such as information that is repetitive in the article or that describes a topic, and underline important information.

8. Pass out "Joys of Toys" article. Students will read the article and practice the steps of summarizing using the aid of the Summarizing Brochure. They will turn their summary in at the end of the lesson, after they have had plenty of time to read and write a good summary.



Students will be assessed at the end of the lesson on their summary that they did individually. I will use the checklist below to score each summary and gauge what areas each student needs practice in for future lessons on summarizing and picking out main ideas.




In his/her summary, did the student….



Delete unimportant/insignificant/repetitive information?



Select key information in the article?



Write a topic sentence that "summarizes the summary"?



Choose the correct main topic for the specific article?



Write 3-5 good, concise sentences?






 "Streaming Chemistry" article from Celebrating Chemistry

·  "Joys of Toys" article from Celebrating Chemistry

·  Katherine Crum's "Reading to Learn" Design

·  Superman picture

·  Superwoman picture


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