Win the Prize and Summarize


Read to Learn Lesson Design

By: Towns Carlson


Rationale: My goal for this lesson is to guide students in learning how to read a text and then summarize it. Summarizing can be very challenging for young students because they are not quite sure which details to mention in their summary. Typically a young student who is just beginning to learn how to summarize will either say too much or not enough. This lesson is designed to help students pick out the essential details of a text and then use those details to create a detailed summary.



A piece of notebook paper for each student

A pencil for each student

A copy of Ramona Quinby Age 8 for each student

Promethian Board

Copy of the two articles.



1. Explain why: ”Good morning class! I hope you are all doing well. Today I want to talk to you about summarizing. Now I know that’s a big word. Can anyone tell me what summarizing means?” (Allow for wait time. Take students’ answers and write them on the board) “I see that all of you have some kind of idea about what it means to summarize something. That is great! I hope that by the end of this lesson you will all be able to summarize texts very easily. Summarizing a text means to pick out the most important information of a text and then make it into a short paragraph or essay. It is so important that you learn how to summarize because we use summaries every day! When I read a good book and I want to share it with you, I have to think very carefully about what happened in the book and then give you a summary about what happened.

2.Review/Teach Background knowledge:

·         “Before we get started with our summarizing, I want to make sure we know all of the words in the text we will be reading today. I have picked a couple of words that I think are a little tricky so lets go over them together. The first words I have is CEASELESS. Ceaseless means non-stopping. If something is ceaseless, it is continual and seems like it goes on forever. For example: ‘There is ceaseless chatter about getting out of school for the summer.’ Which word is a synonym for ceaseless: continual or temporary? Never ending or stopping? Can someone make a sentence about ceaseless rain?

·         Another word that might be difficult when reading is DREARY. Dreary means gloomy or sad. When is it dark and rainy outside, the weather can be described as gloomy. What do you think is more dreary: A rainy Winter day or a bright Spring day? A storm or a windy day? Can someone finish this sentence: We told our teacher it was a dreary day because….

·         The last word I want us to review before reading is GOURMET. Gourmet is another word for fancy food. When you go to a nice restaurant with your parents, you are eating gourmet food. Do you think McDonalds or Bonefish serves gourmet food? Is a pasta dinner or a peanut butter sandwich more gourmet. Who can finish the sentence for me: My favorite gourmet food is…

3. Explain How with new strategy:

·         Now that we know all of the words that we will see today, I want us to talk about summarizing. We have already discussed that summarizing means to take a long text and make it shorter by including only the key details. This sounds really easy but it can sometimes be very difficult. The best way to summarize a text is to first read it all the way through once. You need to read the entire text before you can pick out the important parts about it. Next, I want you to ask yourself what is the most important part about this article. Go back to the text and circle important words and cross out unimportant words. That way when you go back to write a summary, your key words will already be picked out for you.


·         Look at this long article. How will I ever be able to summarize and explain what this article is about? Let me show you. First I am going to read the text (read text aloud)

·       An elephant’s skin is wrinkled. The skin is almost one inch thick. It will burn if it is exposed to the sun for a long time. That is why elephants spend much of the day in the shade.

·       Elephants need to keep their skin in good condition. They bathe in water and spray the water over their backs with their trunks. They spray mud over themselves to make a mud pack. After they bathe, they throw dust over themselves. The mud and dust protects their skin from the hot sun.

·         After reading this article, I have noticed some key words. I am going to circle them. I am going to circle “Elephant’s skin, burn if exposed to sun, bathe in water, spray mud, throw dust, protection.” These words looked most important. If these key words were missing from the article, it wouldn’t make sense. That’s how I know they are key words. None of the other words looked important enough to include in my summary so I am going to cross them out. (Cross out words) Even when I cross these words out, I can still read the article and it makes sense. That’s how I know they are not the most important part of this article. Now I am ready to write my summary. I am going to say: “Elephant’s must bathe in mud and throw dust on their backs to protect themselves from the sun.


5. Guided Practice: Let’s try an article together. Read this article: (ARTICLE ON BOARD)

·       An earthquake is one of the worst natural disasters on our earth. We think that the ground we stand on is very stable, but it isn’t. It moves quite a lot. In the last few decades scientists have been able to find out why earthquakes happen.

·       Earthquakes happen when there is a sudden vibration in the earth’s crust. It’s like a large truck that travels down your street. When it passes by, you feel your house shake.

·         After reading this article, what words do you think we can circle? (Take students’ suggestions and circle the words on the board) This is great. We have circled: Earthquake, natural disaster, moves, vibration, shake. Everything else has been crossed out. Lets make a summary together: Earthquakes are natural disasters that cause the ground to shake under our feet.


6. Whole Texts:

·         Now that we have finished a short article, I want us to try and summarize something a little bit longer. I want you to read the first chapter of Ramona Quinby Age 8 on your own. After each page I want you to write a summarizing sentence telling me what happened on that particular page.

7. Assessement:

·         Students as you read, I want you to write a one sentence summary for each page. Get out a piece of notebook paper and number your paper 1-10. After reading the first page, write a one sentence summary next to number one. Do this for each page until you have reached page ten. When you have finished this assessment, please place your work in your cubby.



o   Jordan School District: Elephant Article


o   English Online: Earthquake article


o   Slim down to the good stuff by summarizing by Anna Ludlum






YES (1 point)

NO(0 point)

Did the student write a summary for page 1?




Did the student write a summary for page 2?



Did the student write a summary for page 3?



Did the student write a summary for page 4?



Did the student write a summary for page 5?



Did the student write a summary for page 6?



Did the student write a summary for page 7?



Did the student write a summary for page 8?



Did the student write a summary for page 9?



Did the student write a summary for page 10?








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