Summarizing Stars

Reading to Learn

Kelsey Ray

 

Rationale: Once students become fluent in their reading, they can focus all their attention on understanding the message of the text. Their goal turns from decoding each word to reading for the purpose of learning new information. Summarizing is a great strategy to ensure that students are learning from reading. Summarizing is a crucial comprehension strategy that allows students to catch the main ideas of a passage or text while eliminating excessive or unimportant information. Through the teaching of explicit steps on how to summarize, this lesson will help students become comfortable and confident in their summarizing skills.

 

Materials:  highlighters, pencils, paper, student and teacher copies of "Balding Penguin Gets Custom Wetsuit" and "Light of Liberty", ELMO, whiteboard, dry erase markers, assessment rubric for each student

 

Procedures

1. Say: Now that we have become fluent readers, we are now going to practice reading for the purpose of learning new information. Who has heard of the term summarizing before? What does this word mean? Yes, summarizing is finding the main idea of a text! In order to be summarizing stars, we must dig through the information from the text and look for only the most important parts! Summarizing is a great strategy because it allows us to condense a large amount of text into just a few sentences that captures the main idea and helps us understand the topic.

2. Say: Today we are going to practice summarizing with a passage about penguins. But first, let's look at some vocabulary words that we need to know in order to understand this passage. The new words are insulating, aquatic, and feisty (write words on board). Let's look closer at the word feisty. Feisty is used to describe someone who is highly spirited. A feisty person might be really energetic or courageous. A feisty person would not be shy around others. Which one of these people would be feisty? An aggressive and loud person or a timid and soft spoken person? Finish this sentence for me: My sister became very feisty when… (Possible answer: My sister became very feisty when my mom told her she couldn't open her birthday present yet.) [We would then follow this same layout when introducing the other vocabulary words].

3. Say: When we are summarizing a passage, we read a little bit at a time and then stop to reflect on what we read. We look back at what we just read and decide which information is important and which information is trivial, or unimportant. We only pick out information that is important and defends the main idea. Also, we do not want repeated information to be in our summary because we want it to be as precise as possible. "Short and to the point" is our motto when summarizing!

4. Say: Let's look at the passage, "Balding Penguin Gets Custom Wetsuit" from National Geographic (show passage under ELMO). I am going to read the first four lines for you and show how I highlight the important information from a text. A custom-crafted wetsuit may have helped Pierre the African penguin, seen here, recover from a bout of baldness. Biologists at the California Academy of Sciences commissioned the gear after Pierre began shedding his insulating, waterproof feathers, leaving him with an embarrassingly exposed behind.

-Say: These two sentences have told us a lot of information so far. I want to find out what this section is mainly about. I am going to reread and highlight the most important parts in this section. A custom-crafted wetsuit may have helped Pierre the African penguin, seen here, recover from a bout of baldness. Biologists at the California Academy of Sciences commissioned the gear after Pierre began shedding his insulating, waterproof feathers, leaving him with an embarrassingly exposed behind. What is this passage mainly about? It talks about a Penguin named Pierre who needed help fixing his baldness.

-Say: Do you notice how we didn't use all the words to come up with this one sentence about the main idea of the passage. We didn't even use half of the words! In our summary we only include the most important words. Our summary for this section of passage would be: Biologists created a custom wet suit to cover Pierre, the penguins, balding.  

5. Say: Now that we have an idea on how to summarize, let's practice as a class on the next part of this passage. Unwilling to plunge into the academy's penguin tank, Pierre ended up shivering on the sidelines while his 19 peers played in the water."He was cold; he would shake," said Pam Schaller, a senior aquatic biologist at the academy. When a heat lamp failed to help, Schaller turned to Oceanic Worldwide, a supplier of dive gear based in San Leandro, California.

-Say: Now let's use our highlighters to mark the most important parts that tell us the main idea of this excerpt. Remember, our motto is "short and to the point". Let's only pick the most important words to underline! Unwilling to plunge into the academy's penguin tank, Pierre ended up shivering on the sidelines while his 19 peers played in the water."He was cold; he would shake," said Pam Schaller, a senior aquatic biologist at the academy. When a heat lamp failed to help, Schaller turned to Oceanic Worldwide, a supplier of dive gear based in San Leandro, California.

-Say: Now let's create a summary from our underlined important parts. Biologists thought of using diving gear to help Pierre after watching him shiver on the side instead of playing with his friends in the water. See how we wrote the main idea of the passage without using all the information from the passage. This is a great "short and to the point" summary! We are on our way to becoming summarizing stars.

6. Say: Let's continue practicing our summarizing skill today! On your own, you are going to read the passage "Light of Liberty" and use our motto of "short and to the point" to create and 3-5 sentence summary. What historical piece might the "Light of Liberty" be referring to? You will have to read to fine out! While you read, be sure to use your highlighter to highlight the most important parts of the passage that tells you the main idea. Once you have read the passage and written a "short and to the point summary", I want you to respond to these two comprehension questions on the back of your written summary.

-What does the "Light of Liberty" symbolize?

-Who presented this monument to the United States and why?

 

Assessment

-I will assess students by using this rubric to grade their written summaries. I will check to make sure they deleted unimportant information from the text and that their summary was short and expressed the main idea of the passage.

-I will also check for comprehension by reading the student's response to the two comprehension questions.

Summarizing Checklist

YES / NO          COMMENTS            

Did students highlight important information?

 

Did the student delete trivial information?

 

Did the student delete repeated information?

 

Was the student's summary short and to the point?

 

 

References

Katherine Crum, Summarization Invasion. http://www.auburn.edu/academic/education/reading_genie/doorways/crumkrl.htm

 

Eric Risburg, Balding Penguin Gets Custom Wetsuit.

http://kids.nationalgeographic.com/kids/stories/animalsnature/penguin-with-wetsuit/

Peter Winkler, Light of Liberty. http://kids.nationalgeographic.com/kids/stories/history/statue-of-liberty/

 Return to Rendezvous Index.