Sliding into Summarizing!

Reading To Learn- Summarizing Design by Sara Vaughan


Rationale: Good readers comprehend and understand the things that they read. The process of summarizing is taking out the important details, and deleting the unnecessary ones. This lesson will teach students to summarize through key strategies and steps. Modeling will show the students how to apply the summariziation rules that they learn.



class set of “Penguin” article copies (from Britannica Kids)

document camera

class set of Polar Bears: A True Book by Larry Dane Brimner



assessment checklist



1. Say: Today we are going to learn a brand new strategy, called summarizing, to help us become better readers. We read books, articles, etc to learn new things. For us to learn those new things and feed our brain, we have to understand what we read, right?


2. Say: Who thinks they know what it means to summarize? Summarizing is picking out the most important things that you read. That means that sometimes information and words may not be necessary. Today, we are going to learn how to summarize. First I will show you some new steps and tricks for summarizing. After we will try those steps out together, you will practice by yourselves.


3. Say: Step one of summarizing is getting rid of the information that isn't important. Unimportant information is information that: describe, define, give examples, show comparisons, or repeat other information. The best way for us to get rid of unimportant information is to cross it out as we read. We are only going to cross out information while we practice. So as you read, decide if what you are reading is important and if it isn't, cross it out.


After we have read through one time and crossed out information, we can move on to the next step. We need to reread what we didn't cross out. If we find more things that aren't important, we will those out too. If we don’t need to cross anything else out, we can highlight what is left and that is the important parts of the sentence.


The third step is to come up with a topic sentence. A topic sentence is a statement that covers the whole text.



4. Say: [I will have the article on the document camera so that we can be working together as we read.] We’re going to practice using the skills that we just learned while we read an article about penguins. This article tells us all about penguins! We will learn a little about where they live and what they do. Sometimes we have new words that we don’t know when we read articles; these are our vocabulary words. A vocabulary word that we will see is colony. Does anyone know what colony means? [Time for responses.] A colony is a group of the same kind of animals living together. What do you think the opposite of a colony would be? [Time for response.] Right! The opposite of a colony is an animal that lives alone.


5. Say: We are going to start by reading the article [put the article on the documentation camera and read through the article]. How could we summarize this section? I am going to read the paragraph out loud and I want you to follow along on your paper. Let’s do it together. [Model reading: Read each sentence and stop at the end to determine whether or not the information is important. Cross out unnecessary information/highlight important information as a class.]


Flocks of penguins may stay at sea for weeks at a time. They resemble schools of dolphins as they leap in graceful arcs from the water to take breaths of air. Penguins feed underwater on fish, squids, and crustaceans. In fact, penguins do not know how to eat on land, and must slowly acquire this skill when captured for zoos.


6. Say: Great work picking out the important information in that article. Now we can try to come up with a summary for this paragraph. Remember, the next step is to come up with a topic sentence. Who thinks they could come up with a good topic sentence? Be sure to raise your hand to answer. [Write down what the class comes up with on the board.]


7. Say: Now you’re going to practice on your own with the first chapter of Polar Bears: A True Book. Be sure to use the rules that we talked about!



When summarizing, did the student…

Delete unimportant information?

Delete repeated information?

Organize items with a big idea?

Select a topic?

Write an inclusive, simple topic sentence to summarize the passage?







Book: Brimner, Larry Dane. Polar Mammals: A True Book. N.p.: Scholastic Library, 1997.


Lesson Design: Reading to Learn Powerpoint

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