Let’s SUM it up!





Teaching Summarization

By: Madison Boyd


Rationale: The ultimate goal of reading is comprehension. Comprehension is the next level once students have become fluent readers. Summarization is an excellent strategy to allow students to reach the goal of comprehension. Summarization is a process of identifying and recalling main ideas. This lesson will focus on how to use summarization with a given passage. Students will use the following rules: cross out information that is not necessary to the meaning, reduce parts of text into fewer words, and choose a topic sentence.



Summarization Rules posted on the board

Copy of ‘Giant Jellyfish Invasion’ (one for each student)

Document Camera

Student Journals (one for each student)

Pencil (one for each student)

Lined Paper (one for each student)

Highlighter (one for each student)


1.Say: Today we are going to learn a new strategy to make us even better readers! What is one reason why we read? Allow students time to think of answers. Yes, we read to learn about new information. Today, we are going to focus on comprehending what we read. What does comprehension? Comprehending means to understand what we are reading. In order for us to really understand what we are reading we need to be able to summarize what we read.


2. Does anyone know what summarize means? Summarize means to put together all the important information about what you are reading from an article, text, or passage. When we summarize information we are looking for the most important information and deleting information that is not helpful. This will help us get the main idea of the text.


3.In order to summarize, we need to follow some helpful steps. This will give us a good strategy to figure out what we are reading about. This is what we are going to talk about today. We are going to practice summarizing together, and then I am going to let you try on your own.


4. Let’s learn our summarization rules! They are the following: First, choose the main idea of the article. Then, cross out useless sentences or repeated ideas, these sentences are not important to the main idea. And lastly, highlight the important facts and ideas and condense these into just a few sentences. Let's do this!


5.Today, we will practice by reading an article and summarizing it. (I will post the summarization rules on a poster board and have it hanging in the front of the room). Make sure you refer to our summarization rules as you are doing this, and make sure you put the summary in your own words, make sure the sentence does not sound too similar to the author’s words. The best way to do this is to read slowly, reread important parts, and to make notes. And lastly, cross out unimportant and redundant information.


6. The teacher should introduce the article. Say: The article I just passed out to you is called ‘Giant Jellyfish Invasion’. This article tells us about giant jellyfish off the coast of Japan that are causing a lot of problems. How large are these jellyfish? What problems are they causing? Why do you think these jellyfish have all come to the same are of the ocean? Our vocabulary for this lesson will be supersize (larger than normal) and siege (a taking over).


7.Say, ‘We are going to start by reading the whole passage. Don't mark on your paper yet. I'm going to show you exactly what to do after we read.’ After we read the article pose the question: ‘How would I summarize the first paragraph? As I reread the first paragraph aloud, look at the document on the board and read silently to yourselves, and watch as I cross out unimportant information and then underline the important details.’


8. Read the article to the class. Then go back to the first paragraph and have a student read it out loud. Model how to summarize the first paragraph using the document camera.


Are aliens attacking the Sea of Japan? Not exactly. But these gigantic blobs are unwelcome visitors from another place. Called Nomura's jellyfish, the wiggly, pinkish giants can weigh up to 450 pounds (204 kilograms)—as heavy as a male lion—and they're swarming by the millions.


9. So, We read the article. Now we are going to go through it and highlight the important information and then cross out the stuff we don’t need. Now that we have done this, lets come up with a summary for the first two paragraphs. What do we need to do next? Right, we need to come up with a topic sentence! Who can think of a topic sentence? Large jellyfishes called Nomura’s Jellyfish are invading the Sea of Japan. Now we can put the rest of the important information into our summary. Does someone want to give it a try? Okay, yes: The Nomura Jellyfish are unwelcome visitors in the Sea of Japan. They aren’t normally found here, and so the fishermen in the area don’t know what to do. Say: Very good. We all need to right this summary down. Write the topic sentence and summary on the board for students to copy in their journal.


10. Allow the students to practice summarizing the rest of the article on their own.



1. Now it is your turn to practice the summarization strategies we have learn today. You are going to use these strategies to summarize the rest of the Giant Jellyfish Invasion’ article I have given you. I want you to remember the steps that will make you successful in comprehending what you read. First you need to find topic sentence. What is next? Right, you need to find the important facts of the passage. Next what do you need to do? Yes, get rid of the information that is not very useful. Finally, you need to delete the repeated ideas found within the passage. Have the students use the highlighter to highlight key information. Make sure they use the their pencil to cross out information that is not necessary for the summary. Then, students will then compose a summary of the passage that is four to five sentences. The teacher can assess each summary by using the assessment checklist. Make sure the summary includes a topic sentence and important information from the article. Have students attach the article they marked on to also assess if they were using the summarization strategies learned in the lesson while reading the article.


2. When the majority of the class has completed the assignment, call them one by one to your desk and have them read their summaries. Go through the assessment checklist while the student reads their summary. Review how they did when they are finished.


3. To complete the lesson, ask students questions to informally assess what they have learned. Questions to ask include: What does it mean to summarize? What are the summarization steps? Why is it important to summarize the text?


4. Go over comprehension questions as a class.


Assessment Checklist:

Students Name: _______________________________________ 

Date: ___________________

Yes     No     

_____   _____   Picked out the most important information

_____   _____   Deleted unnecessary information

_____   _____   Understood the information from the   

_____   _____   Wrote a sentence(s) summarizing the most
                           important parts of text



National Geographic ‘Giant Jellyfish Invasion’



Campbell, Magen. SUMthing Super. Reading to Learn.



Waldrum, Julia. Sweet Summarizers. Reading to Learn.


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