Reading for Wisdom


Reading to Learn Lesson Design

By: Betsy Jackson

Rationale:  Comprehension is the ultimate goal of a student's reading development. Reading for comprehension means that a student is no longer focused on decoding skills but instead are concerned with the actual meaning of what their reading. In order for beginning readers to reach this goal, it is important for them to be able to learn and practice how to summarize. In this lesson, students will practice summarizing which is one of the many comprehension strategies. The students will practice summarizing by selecting and remembering important information and eliminating other unnecessary details. After learning how to use this skill, students will be on their way to becoming better readers!


·      Paper

·      Pencils

·      Markers

·      Article on "Green Invaders"

·      Article on “Przewalski’s Horse

·      Large Chart paper with a web drawn on it

·      Small pieces of poster board

·      Checklist for each student containing the following: (Understanding the passage, recall important fact about the text, delete repeated information, deleted unnecessary information, select a topic or main idea, invent a topic if one is not already presented)



1. I will start this lesson by discussing what summarizing is and why it is important for the reading process and comprehending text. "Can anyone tell me what the word summarize means?" (Wait for student response) “When we talk about summarizing something, we are saying to take out the main/most important points of a passage and put them together to create the summary. A summary is a description of the main parts in a story. Today we are going to learn more about summarizing passages and practice summarizing passages together as a class!"

2. "One important part to summarizing a story is reading alone and independently asking yourself questions about what you're reading while you read. I am going to read a short passage and show you how I'll ask myself questions while I read this short story." After I finish modeling to the student's how to ask questions and what kinds of questions to ask, I will pass out the short article on "Green Invaders." "Now I want you to read this story on foreign plants and practice quietly asking yourself questions while you read. Booktalk: This article is about the foreign plants we bring to the United States. What seems like a harmless, educational experience can easily endanger our current circle of life. For instance, some bugs only eat certain plants, and if those plants are gone, how are they going to survive. Let’s read the article to dig further into this plant problem.

3. "Now that everyone is finished reading, let's talk about the article together. Did anyone see any words they didn’t know? One of the ones I saw was invader, which means someone who enters by force. If I used it in a sentence, Aliens tend to be the invaders of Earth in movies. You would not say: After being invited to the party, Becky was considered an invader. This is untrue because she would be considered a wanted guest at the party. Another one I saw was native, which means having been born in the region. I was born in the United States, making me a native. You would not say The immigrants moved to a different country and became natives. This would mean that the movers were born from a different country, preventing them from being considered natives. I could use the word in a question: What plants are native to North America? Basically, I am asking what plants originated in North America. Lastly, complete this sentence: If I was to be born in Ireland, I would be considered a ____________ there.

4. “Next, I am going to draw a web on the chart paper to help us organize our thoughts and main points from the article. Can anyone tell me where I should write the main topic in our web? Great! It does go in the middle! What should the main topic of our story be? (Foreign plants) Awesome! Now let's discuss the main points on the story. In this article, I would say there are a couple important facts to include. 1) 90% of insects are specialized, or only eat certain plants. 2) When insects can’t get the right plants to eat and they die off, then the birds don’t have enough bugs for their meals. 3) You can find out which plants really belong where you live and plant them to help the environment. When making the graph, make sure you draw a line from the center circle and write each point at the end of the line. An example of a sentence I wouldn’t use is: Nope, not the invaders from space. While they tell me their ideas, I'll record their responses on the web. "We can use this web to help us summarize the story by making sentences out of some of our responses.

5. "How many of you ever ridden a horse? Who has seen a western film with horses in it? Did you know that some horses have sharp hooves that can pierce the ground to access underground water? Well now I am going to pass out another article called "Przewalski’s Horse” which is a story of a special kind of horses who have had problems with staying in existence. Read the article to find out what special things they can do and where they live today.  After you read, make a web just like we did with The Green Invaders. I'll pass out small pieces of poster board and markers for you to draw your web on."



To assess the student's comprehension by using the summarizing strategy, I will monitor them while they are working on their webs. I will also print off the article "Przewalski’s Horse". This article tells you about a horse we don’t hear about often and I will ask them to read the article and answer a few questions. 1) What foods do Przewalski horses eat? 2) Was is the total population today and where are they found? 3) Using facts from the article, how would you convince someone to not harm the horses? (I'll have them turn in their summary webs, question answers, and I'll complete the following checklist for each child.) 




Did the student clearly understand the passage?



Did the student find the topic or main idea?



Did the student recall important facts?



Did the student eliminate information that was unnecessary or repeated?




Colvin, Janie: Reading to Learn

 Pugh, Kelsey: Reading to Learn

 Article: “Green Invaders”

Article: “Przewalski’s Horse”

Owl Image:

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