Summarizing Smarts

Leah Solomon

Reading to Learn

Rationale: One of the goals of reading is that a reader will be able to fully read a lengthy text, and understand what the text is about. When reading a lengthy text, sometimes students can read all of the words, but not comprehend what they are reading. Through this lesson students will be able to summarize what they are reading by deleting trivia and redundancy in the passage that is not important. After some time, this will help students with comprehension and it will make reading much more enjoyable.

Different Colored Highlighters
Notebook Paper
Copy of the article "Super News For Sea Lions"
A Poster with the first example paragraph written on it
Individual copies of sheet with helpful rules on it including:
    1.) Mark out any unnecessary information
    2.) Classify and rank items and events
    3.) Create a topic sentence from the information

1.Today, we are going to work on a new skill that will help us learn more about the stories and other things that we read. We will learn how to read a text and then come up with a shortened version about what we remember reading. Who knows what this word means, "summary"? (I will write this word on the board and give the students appropriate wait time so that they can answer the question). That is correct, a summary tells about the important information we read in a text. A summary is taking the whole text and making it a shorter version to help us understand and comprehend easier. When you are able to summarize, then you know you understood what they story was about, and reading becomes more enjoyable for you.

2. I am going to read this long sentence to you then I want you to read it silently. Reading silently means to read it to yourself and don't let anyone else hear you. Watch me, and I'll show you an example of what I mean. (I will model for the steps I want them to take). "Last night around seven I took my dog to the park and my grandmother called and told me she had fallen to come over now, so I immediately left the park." (Now read it silently to model how to do it). Now I am going to read the rest of the paragraph aloud and I want each of you to follow along with me silently.

3. Let's discuss what we think is important from the passage we just read. Last night around seven I took my dog to the park and my grandmother called and told me she had fallen to come over now, so I immediately left the park." What is the one most important idea in this paragraph? ". " First, let's decide what words are most important. Is the exact time important? No, but we may want to know what day it was. Is what I was doing important? No, that wouldn't be important unless my dog had to do something with my grandmother falling. Is it important to know that my grandmother called? Yes, very important because she is the reason I had to leave the park.  . Is it important to know that I immediately left the park? Yes because it showed that the problem was serious. So, let's highlight the words Last night grandmother called and had fallen immediately left the park. Now, we have some words left that we decided aren't that important. What do we do with them? Well, Rule #1 says to get rid of it so we will mark it out so it doesn't distract us. Cross of any other words in the passage that may not be important to us!

4. We now have decided what the important idea is. The important ideas are using the topic of the passage to find what the points are that are being made about the passage. Who has some ideas of things in passages that would not be of importance? The things like the descriptions, examples, definitions, and contrasting ideas; these things help you "see" what is going on but they are not as important as the other parts of the passage. Now we can make up a summary for the passage together. We will use the parts that we highlighted to help us make the summary. I will point out the first fact that I find important and then the students will follow just what I did, I will call on the students and have them point out the important information.

5. You all have done a wonderful job figuring out what is important in this passage! Now that we are done with this practice, we need to make sure we know our rules for summarizing before we can move on. When we summarize text, there are 3 important rules we need to remember. Who can tell them to me? 1. Mark out any unnecessary information 2.classify and rank items and events 3.Create a topic sentence from the information. That is wonderful, and you all have your individual copies in case you forget!

6. Now, we are going to use all the great information we just learned and apply it to some recent news that we have been talking about, the super news about sea lions. We are going to look at an article these sea lions and figure out what is important about them. In order to find out more information about the super sea lions, you all will need to read the article I am going to give each of you. Here are some highlighters, markers, paper, pencils and a copy of the article for each of you. We are going to read the first three paragraphs together and go through the same steps. Then, I am going to let you start on the next three paragraphs by yourself as practice. During this second paragraph, work with the person next to you to figure out if you both got the gist of the paragraph and were able to get a good summary. You can collaborate your ideas after you are done checking each other's answers!

7. A vocabulary we are going to learn from this text is endangered. Endangered means that the animals are at risk for becoming extinct in the world. Extinct means once the last one dies or is killed there will be no more. These words will help you while you are reading along.

8. After you have collaborated, you are going to do the last three paragraphs alone. Please remember the rules and remember that I would like each of you to take your highlighters and while we are reading, highlight the important information, then take your marker and cross out the information that is not important. Then take the highlighted information from the passage and make a topic sentence out of it.

9. While you are trying to summarize the last three paragraphs, make sure to read the article silently and make sure you use the three rules to help you. You have a copy of the rules, in case you forget. After you have the most important parts and have deleted the other words, write your summary and turn your paper over and you may read until the rest of the class is finished.

10. Once the entire class has finished summarizing, we will turn our papers back over and discuss as a class what we think the proper summary is for this paragraph. The students will write what the class is thinking about the summary on the back of their paper. Then they will compare our answers and their own answers. Our answers may be slightly different but should all have the same important ideas.

Assessment: To assess what the children have done, ask them to turn in their completed work in order for you to assess it. If the majority of the students need more assistance, include another activity with more modeling. If only a few need assistance, pull them at a different time during the day. This assessment will work because I will be able to tell which students understood how to summarize a story and which students still needed help. Questions for students. How many sea lions are left in the United States?


1. "Super News for Sea Lions"-


2. Holly Vanhooser. "Ready, Set, Read!!!"

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