Sum, Sum, Sum it up!

Reading to Learn

By: Katie Nirschl

Rationale: Once a reader becomes fluent, it is time to move to the next step.  Comprehension is the next step in reading.  The goal of reading is comprehension.  There are many strategies used to comprehend a reading. Summarization will be the strategy taught in this lesson.  Summarization is focusing on the main points of a story.  The students will learn to do this by reading articles and highlighting the important facts and crossing out the minor details.


·         Smartboard

·         Copies of “Giant Jelly Fish Invasion”

·         Copies of “ New Dolphin Discovered in Australia”

·         Copies of “ Rattlesnake Rustlers”

·         Assessment checklist ( copies for all students)

·         Highlighters for all students

·         Notebook paper


1.       Say: Good readers use many different strategies to help them while reading.  Today, we are going to learn how to summarize.  Can anyone tell me what summarization is? Yes, summarization is hitting the main points the text wants the reader to take away.  Summarization is important strategy for readers so they are able to comprehend or understand the text.


Catastrophe: Really bad even
The oil spill in the Gulf was a catastrophe.
An even is a catastrophe if...
Species: Group of individuals with common characteristics defined by a name.
Humans are a type of species.
.... are a type of species.
Mammals: Animal that gives birth, feed young with milk, and have fur or hair.
Dolphins are mammals.
..... is a mammal.

2.       Say: Okay I am going to pull up the passage called Giant Jellyfish Invasion on the smartboard that I am going to read aloud and I want you to follow along reading silently. I am going to pass out a copy of the passage that I want you to highlight the main idea and cross out small details. I am going to pass out highlighters for highlighting the main idea and everyone can use their own pencils to cross out any trivial or unimportant details. Teacher will model how to highlight important details and mark out unimportant details.  We will have a class discussion about the paragraph directed by the following questions: What information did you find important?  What information was unimportant?  How do you know whether something is a minor detail or important detail?  Did you find that you highlighted more or crossed out more words?


3.       Say: Do you believe summarization is an important strategy for readers to have? Why? Has anyone summarized a story before? (Teacher will call on a couple of students for different answers). These are all great answers!  Summarization is important so we can understand or comprehend what we are reading.  We don’t need every single detail to understand a text right? Let me give you an example of how to summarize. From the passage we just read I would sum it up by saying " Nomura Jellyfish are overpopulated and eating all the plankton."    Right! Now, I am going to have to write down the main facts you find in the article New Dolphin Discovered in Australia. 


4.       Say: Pay very close attention as you read  silently to yourselves.  Remember to highlight important details and cross out what those minor details.  Doing this will help you quickly write a summary about what your learned or comprehended from the article.  On a piece of notebook paper just write down about 3-5 facts you found in bullet form.  (Pass out article and allow student about 10 minutes to finish).


5.       Say: Okay who can raise their hand and tell me one main fact they learned for the article? (Teacher will write down responses on board). Good. Now looking at these facts can anyone sum up this article for me?  Great! This is the idea behind summarization. You can read something and later be able to tell someone the key facts quickly and effortlessly. 


6.       Say: Now, I am going to pass out a different article called Rattlesnake Rustlers and it is about removing rattlesnakes from people’s homes and other places.  So you have to read on to learn more about what they do. I want you to highlight important details and delete any small details on your paper I pass out. (Pass out articles). After you have read through it I want you to write a quick summary about what you read. It should be about 5-8 sentences. (Allow about 15 min. for students to work on this).  After 15 min call on a few students to read their summary of the article.  Now collect everyone’s paper for assessment. Use checklist below to see if they understood how to summarize.







Student Name:

Did the student…



Read the article all the way through?

Pick out the most important information from the article based on methods used in class?

Delete trivial information?

Comprehend the information from the article?

Write a short paragraph summarizing the most important parts of the article read?







“Giant Jelly Fish Invasion”


Jones, Noelle: Summarizing is easy as pie!


“New Dolphin Discovered in Australia”


“Rattlesnake Rustlers”