Buzzing into Summarization


Reading to Learn

Reagan Gilbert

Rationale: The main goal of reading is to comprehend. In order for a beginner reader to reach this goal of comprehension, it is significant that the reader learns and practices summarization skills to identify and recall main ideas in a reading. Summarization is the process of identifying and recalling main ideas. In order to summarize we need to be able to organize what we read into sections to remember for later. This lesson will allow students to learn how to summarize by teaching summarization strategies and allowing them to practice these strategies on a given article.


1. Poster of Summarization Rules

-Pick a topic sentence (create one if one isn’t provided)

-Pick important facts from passage

-Remove information that is not very useful, or that doesn’t back up topic sentences 

2. Highlighters

3. Paper

4. Pencils

5. Black Markers

6. Honey Bee Mystery and giant jellyfish Invasion articles (included in references)

7. Checklist with Summarization Rules on it:


Did the student…



Pick a topic sentence

(or create one)



Pick out important facts from the passage



Remove information that is not useful



Remove repeated information







1. Say: ‘Hello class! Today we are going to learn something that is going to make us all better readers! We’re going to learn how to read a text and then make a summary of it. This will help us become even better readers than we are now. Let’s discuss what a summary is. Raise your hand if you can tell me what a summary is. You’re right! A summary is a short story version of all the information we read in a text. If we learn how to summarize, then this can help us remember what we read which will help us comprehend better.’


2. Review fluency strategies. Say: ‘Do any of you remember what we do when we are struggling with a word? That’s right! We crosscheck. For example, if I was going to read this sentence on the board (The boy played in the park) and I read it like this, ‘The boy plllad in the park’ I would crosscheck and know that the sentence didn’t make any sense. I would then say ohhhhh ‘The boy played in the park!’


3. Say: ‘Let’s look at our summarization poster. (explain each rule) When summarizing first we pick out a topic sentence (create one if one is not provided), next we pick out important facts from the passage, next we remove information that is not very useful, or that does not back up the topic sentences, and lastly we pick out repeated ideas and delete them. (Pass out the article ‘Honey Bee Mystery.’) Have any of you ever ate honey? Well do you know that bees actually make honey? This article talks about honey bees and how they make sweet honey. Let’s read to find out! Now I am going to show you how I would summarize. I am going to read this article. I want you to read it silently and then we will together learn how to summarize.’


4. As the class finishes reading, pass out the summarization checklist.


5. Say: ‘Now that you are done reading, I want you to read this checklist to yourself. Let’s pick out what the topic sentence is in the first paragraph. The topic sentence is the main idea of the passage. What do you think it is? Let’s underline it. (Point out to students that the topic sentence is generally the first sentence.) Next, let’s pick out important information. Are there any important facts in this paragraph? Yes! Let’s use our highlighters to mark them. Is there anything that is not useful or repeated? Lets use our markers to cross those out by drawing a line through them. (Teacher will continue to finish the passage with the students, one paragraph at a time. The students can use the checklist to stay on task.)


6.  Once class has identified the important ideas, have them create three important sentences that sum up the article. Write these sentences on the board.


7. In order to assess the students have each student summarize the article ‘Giant Jellyfish Invasion’ Say: ‘ Have you ever been to the beach and saw a jellyfish? Usually we try to stay away from them because they sting. Did you know that explorers went on a big invasion to find jellyfishes? Now I want each of you to read ‘Giant Jellyfish Invasion’ to find out what happened. Once you are done reading, I want you to summarize this article the same way we summarized ‘Honey Bee Mystery’. Make sure you use your summarizing checklist.’ Students will be evaluated on their ability to pick out a topic sentence, pick out important facts from the passage, remove information that is not very useful, or that does not back up the topic sentences, pick out repeated ideas and delete them, and a summarizing sentence. Each student will have the opportunity to share their summarizing sentence with the class. After everyone has shared, I will ask the class questions about the text to start a discussion and make sure everyone has understood what they have read.


Comprehension Questions:

What’s the name of the organisms that the jellyfish feed on?

What do scientist suspect are are creating the perfect jellyfish breeding ground?

What do fishermen use to try to keep jellyfish away?





Jennifer Ivy, ‘Summing it Up’


Honey Bee Mystery article:


Giant Jellyfish Invasion article:

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