Reading to Learn

Mattie Magill

Rationale: The ultimate goal of reading is comprehension. Comprehension shows that the student has understood the material and information read. Summarization is one of the key strategies to test for reading comprehension. When students are summarizing they are identifying the main ideas and highlighting important facts throughout the reading. Summarization helps students understand their reading easier because it condenses the material and they are able to comprehend the main idea. This lesson will help students gain the skills to summarize a given passage. Students will use the following summarization rules: choose a topic sentence, cross out unimportant details or repeated ideas, and highlight important ideas and put into one sentence.


-Pencils (one per student)

- Printer paper (1 piece per student)

-Transparency of "Giant Jelly Fish Invasion" article

-"Giant Jelly Fish Invasion" articles (1per student)

-"Joys of Toys" articles (1 per student)

- Rubric for grading students' summaries



1.     Introduce summarizing to the students:

"Today we are going to be learning how to summarize. Summarizing is finding the main idea of something that you read. This skill is extremely important because it helps us as readers to find the most important information about what we are reading. In order to find the most important information to put in a summary, we need to delete any information that isn't important. Today we are going to practice finding the main idea, finding important details that support that idea, and removing any insignificant or unnecessary information.


2. Hand out one sheet of printer paper to each student to make a brochure for the steps of summarizing.

"First you are each going to make your own brochure that will list the steps of summarizing. You will keep this brochure in your reading folder so that it will be easily accessible should you forget any step in the process.  The brochure will have three sections- one for each of the three steps of summarizing. Fold your brochure into three sections now".


3. Explain the three important steps of summarization:

"Like I said, there are three important steps to summarizing:

-First, you need to pick out all of the important details of the passage you are reading. Decide what the big ideas in the passage are, and underline them if you can mark on what you are reading.

-Second, you should find the any details that are repetitive or that aren't important to the big idea of the passage. You can cross out these details.

-Finally, you should organize the important information you have selected and make sure you have details that support the main ideas."

-On the back of your brochure, we will write important things to remember about summaries. One important thing to write is to remember that summaries should be shorter than the passage you are reading! A summary can simply be 3-5 sentences- a good, solid paragraph. Another thing to remember is that you want a good topic sentence. This will be one single sentence that states the overall main idea of the passage you read; this is sort of like a summary of your summary!"

4. "The article I just passed out to you is called "Giant Jellyfish Invasion." This article is about huge jellyfish that are causing a lot of problems in the Sea of Japan. Where are these jellyfish invading? How large are these jellyfish? What kind of problems are these jellyfish causing? Why do you think all of these jellyfish are coming to the Sea of Japan? Our vocabulary word we are going to be focusing on is supersize.

- "Let's look at our two new vocabulary words. Supersize means something is larger than normal.

- A supersize item must be very big. It would not be small like a mosquito.

- Which of these would be supersized? A hippo or a kitten? A large French fry or a kiddy French fry?

- Finish this sentence: The waiter asked the man…if he would like a supersize French fry and drink.


5."Now we are going to start reading the passage. We are going to read the whole thing but I don't want you to write on your paper just yet. (After reading the article ask the following questions) How could I summarize the first paragraph? I am going to reread the first paragraph and I want you to follow along and read silently. I want you to look at the article on the projector and watch how I cross out information that is not helpful." Then, the teacher should have another student reread the article and the teacher should model how to summarize the first paragraph. 


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.



6."Now that we have read and reread the article we are going to go through it again and highlight the important information. We are also going to cross out information that is not useful. Now that we have done this lets come up with a summary of the first two paragraphs together. What do we need to do first? That's right! We need to come up with a topic sentence! Can someone tell me a good topic sentence? Large jellyfish called Nomura Jellyfish are invading the Sea of Japan. Now we need to add the other highlighted information into our summary. Can anyone give me a sentence or two? The Nomura Jellyfish are very unwelcomed in Japan. They are very unwelcomed and covering the Sea of Japan.  


7. Practice: "Now I want you to read the rest of the article and summarize like we just practiced. I am going to walk around and help when you need it."



 Pass out "Joys of Toys" article. This article is about a variety of toys lets read to find out more!

 Students will read the article and practice the steps of summarizing using the aid of the Summarizing Brochure.

1."Now it is your turn to practice the summarization strategy we learned today. You are going to use the rules we just went over to summarize the "Joys of Toys" I am about to pass around to you. Let's all remember the steps that will make you successful in comprehending. First you need to find a topic sentence. What should you do next? That's right; you should highlight the important facts in the article. Then you should cross out information that is not helpful when trying to comprehend the passage. Lastly, you should delete the information that is repeated throughout the article. I am going to pass around paper and I want you to write your final 4-5 sentence summary."


The teacher should assess each summary by using the assessment checklist. Make sure you include all of the important information from the article.


2. The teacher should call students who have completed their summarizations to her desk. The students should read their summaries to the teacher while she goes over the summarization checklist. Then the teacher should explain the checklist and discuss with the student how they did.


3. Next the teacher should do a review of the material they learned. Questions the teacher should ask: What is the most important part of reading? What does it mean to summarize? Can someone tell me the summarization rules? Why is it so important to be able to summarize?



In his/her summary, did the student….



Did the student pick out the most important information?



Did the student delete unnecessary information?



Did the student fully understand the information from the article?



Did the student write a strong topic sentence?



Did the student write strong sentences summarizing the important part of the text?






National Geographic "Giant Jellyfish Invasion"


"Joys of Toys" article from Celebrating Chemistry


  Katherine Crum's "Reading to Learn" Design


Jennifer Strickland's "Super Summarizer" Design


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