Summarizing Sharks


Reading to Learn Lesson Design

Turquoise Dillard

Rationale:  Comprehension is the main goal of reading. We must teach students’ strategies to comprehend what they are reading.  Summarizing is a skill that must be taught to students through teacher modeling. This lesson will teach students how to summarize the books they are reading and the importance of begin able to summarize.  By learning to summarize, readers need to know three necessary steps of the summarization process which are deleting information that is not important, highlight the important and necessary details by using key terms, and select a topic sentence (sentence that covers all information in text).


·         Printed copy of National Geographic Article : “Hammerhead Sharks” for each student

·          Summarizing Poster with three main points:

 Delete information that is not important or is repeated.

 Highlight the important and necessary details by using key words or headings.

Find a topic sentence that covers the main idea and if there is not a topic sentence make one.

·         Assessment Checklist


1.      Say: “As a class, we have been learning strategies and techniques that will help us as expert readers. Today we are going to learn about a technique called summarizing. Does anybody know what summarizing is? (Allow students to discuss). Summarizing is deleting trivia it helps us understand and remember what we read.”

2.      "Part of summarizing a story is reading alone, and asking yourself questions about what you are reading as you read. Let me show you an example of what I am talking about. To become great summarizers, you have to practice and follow a few steps. Today we are going to be reading aloud about “Hammerhead Sharks”. This shark's unusual name comes from the unusual shape of its head, an amazing piece of anatomy built to maximize the fish's ability to find its favorite meal: stingrays. Now the students can read and find out more facts the Hammerhead Sharks. This passage gives us lots of information about the Hammerhead Sharks and we are going to read it, and find all of the important information, and write a summary about the passage. How would I summarize a difficult passage that gives facts about Hammerhead Sharks? Vocabulary Review Words: Anatomy and Maximize

3.       First, we need to get rid of unnecessary details. Then, we need to select the most significant details from the text and make a list of these details. As I am reading, I can tell that this article is about how hammerhead sharks use their unusual heads to hunt. Therefore, I am going to underline details that support this main idea and cross out the details that don't really matter. For example, when it is talking about stingrays, I can delete this fact because I know this article is about hammerhead sharks. As I go through and underline the important details about sharks and hunting here are the details that I underline:

a.     Shark's unusual head helps it hunt stingrays

b.     Uses its wide head to trap stingrays on the seafloor

c.      Eyes on sides of head help it scan ocean

Now, I am going to take this information and make a one-sentence summary. “Hammerhead sharks use their wide heads and unusual eye placement to hunt down prey, including stingrays.” Do you see how I summarized this paragraph?


4.      Say: Read the next paragraph and summarize it. Mark out any information that is not needed and highlight the important information. Once you have finished, try to summarize the paragraph into one-sentence. (Give the students time to read the chapter). After they finish reading allow the students to discuss as a group what they thought were the most important parts in this paragraph. Then have a class discussion on what the students thought were important points of the text. Ask the students, “What did you choose to highlight as important details? What information did you choose to cross out? Who has a sentence that they think would summarize this information?” Give students an opportunity to share their answers. Work with the students as a class to create a good summary. Write the summary on the board and talk about why it is a good summary (no trivial information and a main idea captured).


5.      Now on your own read paragraph three and create a one sentence summary using the strategies that we have talked about. Remember to highlight the important information and cross out the unimportant parts. Write your summary on a sheet of paper. Turn in your written summary when you finish.


6.      I will assess the students summaries using the summary checklist listed below. I will also assess their comprehension by asking them the following three comprehension questions.


·         Where do Hammerhead Sharks get their name from?

·         How do Hammerhead Sharks use their unique shape to catch their prey?

·          How is a Great Hammerhead different from other species of Hammerhead sharks?





Did the Student…..



Pick out important information?



Deleted unimportant details?



Select a topic?



Write a topic statement that covers everything that is important from the passage of the text?






Davee, Lauren “Diving with Dolphins into Summarization”

Trefethern,Caroline. "Summarize

National Geographic Article: “Hammerhead Sharks”

Murray, Bruce 



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