Let’s Summarize!

Reading to Learn

Anne Barron

  

 

Rationale: Once children have learned to read accurately and fluently, they must move on to the next step in reading. The ultimate goal of reading is comprehension, and the next step in reading is reading to learn. This lesson focuses on summarizing, a strategy to help students begin to read to learn. This lesson will help students learn to summarize by teaching them to delete trivial and redundant information and focus on the important parts of a text.

 

Materials:

I copy of the first chapter for every student (including one for teacher) Who Was Dr. Seuss?

Blank bookmark (for each student)

Poster with summarizing rules (1. Delete unimportant or repeated    

information 2. Find important information 3. Write a topic sentence)

Overhead projector

Pencil and paper (for each student)

Assessment chart:

 

 

Did the student?

Yes

No

Get rid of unimportant information?

 

 

 

Get rid of repeated information?

 

 

 

Underline important information?

 

 

 

Write an organized topic sentence using only the important information

 

 

 

Procedure:

1. Today we're going to talk about a strategy to help us comprehend what we're reading. Who remembers what it means to comprehend? (Call on student.) That's right! It does mean to understand the message of what you're reading. The strategy we're going to learn about today is called summarizing. Summarizing is kind of like giving a recap of what's in the text. Summarizing is a great way to help you understand and remember what you read.

2. Before we learn more about how to summarize, let's review what we've been talking about lately. Who can tell me what we've been talking about lately? (Call on student.) That's right! We have been talking about biographies. Now let's review some of the vocabulary we've talked about recently. Yesterday we said that an illustrator is someone who draws the pictures in a story. You could say, "The illustrator is very gifted at drawing pictures." Which of these could be an illustrator a gifted artist, a dog, or a baby? (Call on student.) That's right! A gifted artist could be an illustrator because they could use their talent to draw pictures for a book.

 

3. Now that we've reviewed our vocabulary, let's go back to talking about summarizing. (Display summarizing rules poster.) I want you to copy down each rule on your bookmark that I have provided as we talk about it, and then at the end of the lesson I'll give you all a few extra minutes to decorate your bookmark. The first rule of summarizing is: delete unimportant or repeated information. Go ahead and write that down. (Allow writing time.) This means that if you see something that's not really important to the meaning of the text or something that you've already marked as important then, you may draw an X through it (if it's a separate article like the one we're using today) or mentally delete it (if it's in a textbook). The second rule of summarizing is to find important information. Go ahead and write that down too. (Allow writing time.)  This means that when you see something that you think is important to know you should underline it or maybe write down a key word or phrase. The third rule of summarizing is to write a topic sentence. Write that on your bookmark. (Allow writing time.) This part is a little trickier, and we will practice it together in a moment, but it means that once you've picked out the parts of the text that are important you combine them to create a sentence. This sentence captures all the important parts of a paragraph within a text. Other words to review: honored, rhymes, complicated, inventions

 

4. Pass out paper copies of "Who Was Dr. Seuss?" and display a copy on the overhead projector. “We are about to read a book about the life of Dr. Suess. Do you know what made him want to be an author? Let’s read and find out what made him interested in becoming an author. Now we're going to practice summarizing as a class. Let's look at the introduction paragraph of our book:”

In 1985, Princeton University awarded honorary degrees to six people. An honorary degree is given to a person who has done something important for the world. The students were most excited about one of the people being honored. When a tall, thin man with a gray beard stood up, they all leaped to their feet. “I am Sam,” they chanted. “Sam-I-am.” Then they recited, from memory, all of Green Eggs and Ham. It was a special way to show Theodor Geisel, better known as Dr. Seuss, how much his books meant to them. 

 

“I want everyone to be following along with me and paying attention to how I follow these rules. Let's look at the first sentence: In 1985, Princeton University awarded honorary degrees to six people.  Do you think it's important to know the date?” (Discuss.) “Sometimes it is important to know the dates of things, but for the purpose of just understanding the main points of this article we don't really need to know the date. (Make an X through the date.) Let's keep reading:” Princeton University awarded honorary degrees to six people. Hmm.. What parts of this sentence are important for my understanding? “I think Princeton University awarded honorary degrees might be important, so I'm going to underline it. To six people is not quite as important, so I'll make an X through that because I don't think I really need to know how many people got the degree.” An honorary degree is given to a person who has done something important for the world. “Oh I bet that part about doing something for the world is important! I'll underline it, but not the part about an honorary degree is given. I am going to put an X through it because we have already said that. Now, lets look at the next sentence:” The students were most excited about one of the people being honored. “I am going to underline that the students were most excited about one. That is important information. That tells us who was excited, but we do not need the second half of that sentence so I will put an X over it.” The next sentence says: When a tall, thin man with gray beard stood up, they all leaped to their feet. “I am Sam,” they chanted. “Sam-I-am.” “To me, a lot of that seems important. I am going to see what I can take out. The description of him is not quite as important. Put an X over tall, thin and gray beard. Let’s look at the next sentence to see.” Then they recited, from memory “(when you recite something its always from memory) all of Green Eggs and Ham. Here, this sentence tells what they were reciting. I can go back to the other sentence and put an X over “I am Sam and Sam-I-am” because in the next sentence it tells what that is from. I am going to underline Green Eggs and Ham because that is important. I am also going to underline recite, but not from memory because that is what reciting is, so I will put an X over from memory. Let’s now look at the last sentence:” It was a special way to show Theodor Geisel, better known as Dr. Seuss, “how much his books meant to them.  Wow, a lot of that is important, but I think I can cross out special way and better known. The rest of that seems pretty important.”

 

 

So now that we've applied rules 1 and 2 of summarizing to this paragraph I'm going to demonstrate how to use rule 3 and create a topic sentence using the parts I underlined. Princeton University awarded honorary degrees, done something for the world, students were most excited about one, When man stood up leaped to their feet, recited Green Eggs and Ham. to show Theodor Geisel, Dr. Seuss, how much his books meant to them.  I am going to now see if I can use all the words to make a good topic sentence, which is a sentence that is going to give us a summary about the main idea of the paragraph. I might take out most excited about one, because by them reciting Green Eggs and Ham it shows that they are excited.

 

Topic Sentence: Students from Princeton University got excited when Theodor Geisel, Dr. Seuss, was awarded an honorary degree, so they stood up and recited all of Green Eggs and Ham to show how much his books meant to them

 

Does everyone understand what I just did? Does anyone have any questions?

 

5. Now I'm going to let you all practice summarizing with the first chapter of the book. I want you to go through each paragraph and break it down like we just did. Be sure to follow the rules for summary and then change the order around in your topic sentence if necessary so that it makes sense. I want you to write a topic sentence for each paragraph in the first chapter. You may just copy the sentence that I wrote for the introduction, and then you will write four more topic sentences of your own. When you are finished, staple your copy of chapter one to your paper with the topic sentences and turn it in. Then you may decorate your bookmark. You will all have time to decorate your bookmark, so please do not speed through the assignment just to have time to color.

 

6. Assessment: I will use each student’s topic sentences from the paragraphs on the rest of the chapter to assess their knowledge of summarizing. I will also use their marking to assess that they understand what is important and what needs to be taken out and is less important. I will use the assessment checklist to make sure they used the rules I gave them and make sure they understood how to make a topic sentence. The topic sentence will be different for each student but should contain the same general information.

 

Assessment Questions:

Who in Dr. Suess’ family encouraged him with rhyming?

Where did Dr. Suess like to hang out as a little child?

When he got home from his favorite place what would he draw on his walls?

Do you think your mother would allow you to draw on your walls? Why or why not?

 

References:

Pascal, Janet. Who Was Dr. Seuss? Penguin Group, 2011.

Deason, Morgan Grace. Soaring into Summary. http://www.auburn.edu/academic/education/reading_genie/awakenings/deasonmrl.htm

 

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