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Superman's Summaries!

Superman’s Summaries!

Reading to Learn Lesson

Ali Ingram

Rationale: Reading is often the first step for students to learn new information. In order for learning to occur, the student must be able to comprehend the text. Summarizing is a skill that all beginning readers need to practice in order to be successful in reading comprehension. Students who know how to summarize are able to recall and identify the main ideas of a passage. In this lesson, students will be taught the key skills needed to summarize the information they read in an article. By providing students with this instruction, they will gain experience in summarization and eventually, be able to summarize any text simply by reading it once.



-       Pencils (one for every student)

-       Yellow highlighter for each student

-       Blue highlighter for each student

-       Smartboard (or whiteboard)

-       Document Camera (or overhead projector)

-       Summarizing rules bookmark

-       Copy of “Giant Jellyfish Invasion” for each student and teacher

-       Copy of “Why Are Mosquitoes so Annoying?” for each student and teacher

-       Lined paper for each student to write down summaries

-       Assessment Chart (example attached)



1.  Today we are going to learn about a new reading technique that good readers use to understand what they read. Who knows what summarize means? Very good! To summarize means to find the most important information in a story. In other words, when you summarize you focus on the main ideas and ignore the tiny little details. We are going to learn how to summarize so that you all can be great readers!

2.  Now that we know what summarization is, lets talk about how you summarize. I am passing out a special bookmark I like to use called ‘Summarizing Rules.’ [Display summarizing rules bookmark on the document camera]. This special paper has the steps I take to help me summarize while I read. The first rule of summarizing is delete unimportant or repeated information. This means that if you find information in the text that is not really important to the meaning of the text, you may draw a line through out. The second rule of summarizing is to find important information. This means that when you see information that you think is important to know, underline or highlight it. The third rule of summarizing is to write a topic sentence using the information you noted as begin important. This sentence should capture all the important parts of a paragraph within a text. 

3.  [Pass out copies of Giant Jellyfish Invasion, and display a copy on the document camera.] I am handing out an article titled “Giant Jellyfish Invasion” that we are going to use to practice summarizing as a class. This article is from National Geographic Kids. Recently there has been a drastic increase in the amount of jellyfish found in the Sea of Japan. This increase in jellyfish has begun to cause serious problems for fishermen. No one knows for sure what is causing these jellyfish to appear in the Sea of Japan, but there are many speculations about what is going on. What do you think? What types of problems do you think the jellyfish are causing for the fishermen? Before we begin reading, does anyone have any idea of what it means by Giant Jellyfish Invasion? We are going to find out in a second, but first, there are a few vocabulary words that we might need to know before reading this passage. The first word is “swarming”. Does anyone know what “swarming” means? Swarming means to move in a large group. Swarming is often used to describe bees; you can often find bees in a large group flying around a hive. The bees are swarming near the hive! Can fans swarm into a stadium before the beginning of the game? Yes! You can often find swarms (large groups moving) heading into the stadium before the big game starts! Help me finish this sentence; the movie star was swarmed… Very good! The movie star was swarmed with excited fans! [Do this with following words: organisms, siege, breeding ground, overfishing, and catastrophe. As you go through the words, write them on the smart board.]

4.  Now that we know those important vocabulary words, lets see if we can practice summarizing an article together. Part of summarizing involves asking yourself questions about what you are reading as you read. Let me show you an example of what I am talking about. As I read a passage I am going to ask myself: What is this text about? What are some main facts? What is the author’s purpose? After I answer these questions and look at my summarization rules, I can summarize the text! [Use the first paragraph of Giant Jellyfish Invasion to model for the class how to summarize.] Lets read the first paragraph of Giant Jellyfish Invasion together as a class. Lets think about how we would summarize this passage. First, what is this article talking about? What subject seems to be mentioned the most? The invasion of giant jellyfish, good job! How did you know that’s what the article was talking about from only reading the title and first paragraph? Exactly, the title of the article is going to tell us the main idea and the first paragraph is introducing that idea to us. Now that we know what the main idea is, we need to highlight the important details. How do I know what is important? Since our topic is “invasion of giant jellyfish” we need to pick out the information pertaining to the jellyfish and how they’re “invading”. Lets go ahead and highlight the main idea in this paragraph with our blue highlighters. [Have copy of article under document camera so students can watch as you highlight]. To begin, we only highlight the word gigantic, jellyfish, and giants to show the main idea. Do we know the actual name of this type of jellyfish? Yes we do! It is called Nomura’s jellyfish, so lets highlight the name Nomura in blue as well. Now lets go through and look for our important details. This can be tricky, but remember we are only focusing on the main ideas! Lets look at the first sentence containing part of the main idea. Are these jellyfish from the Sea of Japan? No, they are unwelcomed visitors from somewhere else. Lets use our yellow highlighter to mark this detail. Lets look at the next sentence. Is the weight of the jellyfish important? Is the amount they’re swarming in by important? Well does it help describe how the jellyfish is gigantic and invading? Yes! So lets highlight that too. Now, we need to go through and mark out the parts of the paragraph that aren’t important and/or that repeat themselves. These could be descriptions, definitions, repetition, or extra information that doesn’t go with the main point. Is it important that the author is describing this invasion as “aliens attacking the Sea”? Not really, so lets cross it out with our pencils. [Go through rest of the paragraph using this technique.] Now that we have eliminated parts that aren’t necessary and have highlighted the important details, we need to find a topic sentence. Please read over the highlighted parts of this paragraph. If I wanted to write a topic sentence about the important information in the paragraph, I could use the highlighted words in the paragraph to help me! Let me try to put them together: Swarming by the millions, Nomura’s jellyfish have become unwelcome visitors in the Sea of Japan that can weight up to 450 pounds. [Write sentence on smart board.]


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.


5.     Great job! Now, lets continue practicing how to summarize with the rest of the article. Because we are working with multiple paragraphs now, it is very important to be looking for the most important information. [Read rest of the article together as a class and walk students through how to summarize the paragraphs. Begin to back off and allow students to explore how to summarize. Be sure to still provide assistance, though, and go over each section after students have spent time working to ensure that they are on the right path.]

6.     Great work. Y’all are becoming summarizing superstars! Now that we have practice summarizing an article together, I want you to try on your own! This article is from Discover Kids and is about those annoying bugs that make you itchy if they bite you! Can anyone guess what insect I’m talking about? That’s right, Mosquitoes! Once I give you a copy of the article, go ahead and start reading to find out why mosquitoes are so annoying! If you get stuck summarizing, remember to look at your bookmark for help!



To assess the students on the process of summarizing, I will review each student’s topic sentence as well as the markings on their articles. I will use the checklist provided below for each student to decide if they understand the rules of and how to summarize. Topic sentences should capture the most important information and leave out insignificant information. 


Assessment Chart

When summarizing, did the student:



Construct a simple, topic sentence answering the question?



Delete unimportant information?



Include supporting details?



Delete repeated information?



Organize summary with big idea?






Clark, Kate. “Super Summaries!”


Byrne, Mary Haley. “Summary Superstar!”


Day, Anna. “Stupendous Summarizing!”



“Giant Jellyfish Invasion.” National Geographic Kids


“Why Are Mosquitos So Annoying?” Discovery Kids


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