"Food For Thought"


Reading to Learn - Summarization

By: Lauren DeLaRosa


Rationale: Once students become fluent readers, the next step is comprehension. In order to comprehend, students must be able to read and summarize a story. When summarizing, students should be able to identify the most important parts of a text. This lesson will teach students how to summarize by teacher modeling and practice with an informational article.

Materials: Highlighters for each student, pencils for each student, lined paper for each student, document camera or smartboard, poster with summarizing steps:

Highlight important information as you're reading

Mark out the repeated/unneeded information

Pick out the important information from the passage

Form a main idea or topic sentence

Articles for each student:

"Double Dipper Offender"

"Diet Coke and Mentos"

Assessment checklist for summarizing:

Did the student


Highlight important information


Mark out the repeated/unneeded information


Pick out important information from the passage


Follow the summarizing steps


Form a main idea or topic sentence



Bookmark with summarizing steps for each student

Main idea umbrella poster

List of vocabulary words



1.     Say: "Today we are going to learn a new strategy to help us become better readers: summarization. Does anyone know what a summary is? Good, it is a short version of something to help pick out the main idea and important information. Today you will learn how to pick out the important information and make your own summary." Give a sample diagram of a picture of an umbrella with main idea written at the top and details in each section to show the students what they will be doing.

2.     Say: "Before we start learning how to summarize let's look at some vocabulary words. This will help you to better understand what you're reading and help you summarize the story easier. The vocabulary words are bacteria, rumor, attraction, and multitude." Put up the list of vocabulary words and go over them. You can have the students write them down so they can refer to them when they are reading.

3.     Say: "Summarization is important for reading because it helps us pick out what is important and make it into a shorter group of sentences that we can remember and understand better. We are going to learn the steps to summarizing!  Here are the rules: first, you need to cross out the repeated or unneeded information. Then, highlight the important facts and turn them into a few sentences. Last, choose the main idea of the article, to make a topic sentence, or sentence that the piece is about! Make sure you look back at these rules when you are trying to summarize. I will give you a bookmark with the steps on them, and they will also be on the board. "

4.     Say: "Now that we have learned how to use this strategy, I think we are ready to see how it works. Read the first passage, "Double Dipper Offender." Some people think that double dipping spreads germs. Does it really? Read the article to find out, and then we will use our new strategy to summarize what we have read. Remember to pay attention to details."

5.     Say: "Now everyone look to the board and document camera. We are going to use the steps to summarization that we learned." Give the students an example of an important fact from the article. "Now who can give me another important fact? Good job!" List all the facts on the side of the board. "Now what was step 2 again? Right, crossing out information that is not important to the main topic. Give me some examples. Awesome!" Pick out one example to model this for the students, and then mark the ones the students say off on your article in the document camera. Okay now what was step three? Great! Now I want you to pick out some important information we could use in our summary from the important parts we listed earlier. What will explain the article the best?" Circle the ones the students would like to use. "Last step is to come up with a main idea or topic sentence. There are many ideas for a topic sentence, they do not have to all be the same." Model a topic sentence from the article, then have the students come up with one.

6.     Say: We have gone through each of the steps and how they are used. I am going to give you another article, "Diet coke and mentos," and I want you to practice using your summarization skills to summarize this article. Read the article to yourselves and look back at your bookmark if you need help. When you are done, take out a paper and pencil and come up with a summary on your own. Remember that not everyone's summary will be the same, and the topic sentences may be different! The most important part is that you follow the steps. I will collect them when you're done. When we're all done, we will go outside to do an experiment with mentos and diet coke!

7.     Assessment: I will collect the student's individual responses and articles to see if they followed the summarization steps. I will use the assessment checklist for summarizing to make sure they used the model. I will give them questions about the article for reading comprehension as well:

1.     What will happen if you drop a pack of mentos into a 2-liter bottle of diet coke? (right there)

2.     Will your stomach explode if you eat mentos and drink diet coke at the same time? (putting it together)

3.     Why do you think people believe that mentos and diet coke will make your stomach explode? (writer and me)

4.     Can you think of any other food myths? (on my own)


Summing Up- Kelly Crumrine http://www.auburn.edu/academic/education/reading_genie/awakenings/crumrinerl.htm




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