Summing Up What Matters
Reading to Learn Design
By: Katie Price
Rationale: After children can successfully read accurately and fluently they will soon be able to read in order to learn. The ultimate goal of reading is comprehension, and students at this level are ready to tackle this goal. This lesson introduces students to a helpful strategy known as summarization, to help them read to learn. Students will learn to delete trivial and redundant information in an article about flamingos, which will only leave them the important facts in the end.
Materials: Class set of the article "Greater Flamingo" by National Geographic, poster with the rules of summarization written on it, Assessment chart for each student (for teacher use), a colored marker for each student, lined paper for each student, overhead & projector
1. Teacher says: "Who has ever read an article or a book, and told a friend about what you read? Do you read them the whole book, or do you just tell them the important parts of what you read? (Call on student). Yes! You only tell them important parts of the story! This is called giving them a summary of the book or article. Summarization is a helpful strategy good readers use to help comprehend or understand what you are reading. If you can summarize a book or article, it is a good indication that you are able to comprehend what your reading."
2. Before we begin to practice summarization more, let's review what we have learned about birds so far this week. Let's review our vocabulary words. Yesterday we said that a bill is the part of a bird's jaw that is covered with a leathery sheath. We could say, "The bill on the bird helps him eat food". Where is the jaw located on a person? (Call on student). Yes, a jaw is near the mouth, so a bill is going to be near the bird's mouth. Which of these could be a bill: a beak, a feather, a wing? Yes, a beak is another name, or synonym for a bill. Earlier this week we talked about what a crustacean is. Who can tell me what a crustacean is? (Call on student). Very good, a crustacean is an animal that usually has a hard shell or crust on it such as a lobster. We could say "Those birds like to eat different crustacean". Which of these would NOT be considered a crustacean: a shrimp, a dolphin, a crab? (Call on student). Perfect! A dolphin would not be a crustacean. A shrimp and a crab both have a hard shell or crust over them, therefore, those two would be considered crustacean.
3. You guys are doing so great! Let's talk more about summarization. Everybody take out a marker and a sheet of paper. Turn your paper horizontal, and divide it into three different columns. Okay, now let's look at our "Rules of Summarizing" poster. Who can read me what the first rule of summarizing is? (Call on student). Yes, the first rule of summarizing is to delete the unimportant information, or any information that is repeated. Everybody write this rule at the top of the first column on your piece of paper. It can be very helpful to cross out important information if you can mark on the article you are reading, but you are reading in a book you will probably have to make a mental note that certain parts may not be as important as others. Deleting the unimportant or repeated information will help you to understand the message the author is trying to tell you better. Let's look at the second rule. The second rule is to find the important information. Everybody write this rule at the top of the second column. When you find something that is important in the book or article you are reading, if you can, it can be helpful to underline that sentence to help you remember that it is important. The final rule in summarizing is to make a topic sentence. Everybody write this rule at the top of the third column on your paper. Making a topic sentence can be very hard, because most texts you read don't have topic sentences. This sentence combines all of the important information in a short way to summarize the paragraph you have read.
4. Teacher says: "Now we are going to practice summarizing with an article called "The Greater Flamingo". Has anyone seen a pink bird before? This is a flamingo! These birds have long legs and bills. Where do the live? What do they eat? Let's read more to find out! Let's look at the first paragraph of the article together:
"These famous pink birds can be found in warm, watery regions on many continents. They favor environments like estuaries and saline or alkaline lakes. Considering their appearance, flamingos are surprisingly fluid swimmers, but really thrive on the extensive mud flats where they breed and feed."
5. Everybody watch me as I use my rules to summarize this paragraph. (Pull out a pre-made copy of the 3 columns on paper). Let's look at the first sentence: "These famous pink birds can be found in warm, watery regions on many continents". Do we think it is important that these are famous pink birds? I would not say this is important in this paragraph, so I am going to mark an X through this part, and write this phrase under the first column on my paper (delete unimportant or redundant information). Let's look at the next part- they can be found in warm, watery regions on many continents. The article goes on to say that "they favor environments like estuaries and saline or alkaline lakes". Okay, I see some repeated information here. I think the important thing to know is that they are found in warm, watery regions because this is a more general area. I am going to write this information in my 2nd column for important information. To summarize we cannot name all of the specifics all the time, or we would have too much information. I am going to mark an X over the second sentence, and write it in my column 1. Let's go on. Considering their appearance, flamingos are surprisingly fluid swimmers, but really thrive on the extensive mud flats where they breed and feed." Okay, I am going to mark an X on flamingos being fluid swimmers, because the next part of the sentences states that they would rather be on mud flats. (Mark X through fluid swimmers and write in 1st column). I think it is important that they thrive on mud flats, so I am going to underline this part and write it in my 2nd column.
6. Now that we have finished the first paragraph let's try and see if we can come up with a topic sentence. Remember, a topic sentence is one sentence that explains what the whole paragraph is talking about. I am going to look at the parts I have in my column 2 for the important information I wrote down. Let's see, I have that flamingos are found in warm, watery regions on many continents, and they thrive on extensive mud flats where they breed and feed. I am going to use this information to form my topic sentence for this paragraph. After putting this together I can say that my topic sentence is "Flamingos are found in warm, watery regions on many continents, and they thrive on extensive mud flats where they breed and feed. Now I have all my important information in one sentence, and this is a summary of the paragraph I was reading. Does anybody have any questions?
7. Now, I am going to let you summarize each of the remaining paragraphs. Remember to use your paper with the columns to help you break up the information. You can also look at our summarizing poster as well if you need help! Come up with one topic sentence for each paragraph. When you are finished, I want you to staple the article to your paper with your columns, and turn it in to me.
8. Assessment: I will review each student's column chart to determine if they could successfully summarize the different paragraphs. I will use the assessment checklist to record each child's grade. Topic sentences many vary slightly, but I will be looking to see if they child included the important information in each.
1. Where do flamingos live?
2. What do flamingos eat?
3. Why are flamingos pink?
4. Do you know of any other pink animals?
Student Name: ___________________________
1. Did the student fill out the chart on his/her paper?
2. Did the students come up with 4 topic sentences?
3. Did the student successfully delete unimportant/redundant information?
4. Did the student successfully identify important parts?
5. Did the student use the important information to come up with topic sentence?
1. National Geographic, "The Greater Flamingo"
2. WHO'S THAT BIRD….I need a SUMMARY! By: Meredith Kizer
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