Reading to Learn Design

Star Summarizers

Reading to Learn Design 

Courtney Bass


 Rationale: The ultimate goal of reading is comprehension. Comprehension shows that the student has understand the material and information read. Summarization is one of the key strategies to test for reading comprehension. When students are summarizing they are identifying the main ideas and highlighting important facts through out the reading. Summarization helps students understand their reading easier because it condenses the material and they are able to comprehend the main idea. This lesson will help students gain the skills to summarize a given passage. Students will use the following summarization rules: choose a topic sentence, cross out unimportant details or repeated ideas, and highlight important ideas and put into one sentence.



1. Summarization rules posted on the board

2. Copy of "Spring Peepers" (one for each student)

3. Copy of "Honey Bee Mystery" (one for each student)

4. Document camera

5. Paper

6. Pencils

7. Highlighters



1. Say: "Hello everyone! Today we are going to practice a new strategy while we read called summarizing! This strategy is going to help us comprehend our reading better as well as help us become great readers! Can anyone tell me one reason we read? (Wait for student's answers) Yes we read so we can learn new information! Today we are going to focus on our reading comprehension. Does anyone know what comprehension means? Comprehending means to understand what we are reading. In order for us to better understand what we are reading we need to learn how to summarize after we read."


2. Say: "Can anyone tell me what the word summarize means? Summarize means you put together all the important information about what you are reading. You can summarize articles, books, or passages. When we summarize we are looking specifically for the most important parts of the reading and we are deleting information that is not useful."


3. Say: "We will need to follow some very important steps in order to summarize. This will give us a strategy to use in order to figure out what we are reading about. Today we are going to practice reading and summarizing passages. We will practice together first, then I am going to let you try on your own."


4. Say: "Before we begin summarization we need to learn our summarization rules! The first rule is: choose the main idea of the article. The second rule is: cross out useless sentences or repeated ideas, these sentences are not significant to the main idea. The third rule is: highlight the important facts and ideas and condense these into just a few sentences. Lets get started!"


5. Say: "Today, we will practice by reading an article and summarizing it. Make sure you refer to our summarization rules as we begin working (The rules will be posted on a poster in the front of the room). Lets also make sure we put the summary into your own words. We need to make sure to change the sentence so it does not sound the same as the author. The best way to do this is to read slowly, reread important details, and make notes while reading. Lastly, we should cross out any information that is not helpful when trying to understand the main idea of the article."


6. Say: “The article I just passed out to you is called “Spring Peepers.” This article is about small frogs that peep during the beginning of spring. Why are they peeping? Who makes the noise? How big are the frogs? How long can the peeping be heard? How is the peeping sound made?  Why do you think these frogs stop making the sound toward the winter months?


7. Say: "Now we are going to start reading the passage. We are going to read the whole thing but I don't want you to write on your paper just yet. (After reading the article ask the following questions) How could I summarize the first paragraph? I am going to reread the first paragraph and I want you to follow along and read silently. I want you to look at the article on the projector and watch how I cross out information that is not helpful." Then, the teacher should have another student reread the article and the teacher should model how to summarize the first paragraph. 


Spring peepers are found in wooded areas and grassy lowlands near ponds and swamps in the central and eastern parts of Canada and the United States. These loud amphibians are rarely seen, but as temperatures begin to rise in March and April, the males certainly are heard. Their peep… peep… peep creates an other-worldly whistling sound that, to many, is the first sign of spring



8. Say: "Now that we have read the first paragraph we are going to summarize it.  The Spring peepers are found in the central and eastern parts of the United States. The males begin to sing when the temperature begins to warm. The peeping is the first sign of spring.  We are also going to cross out information that is not useful. Now that we have done this lets come up with a summary of the first two paragraphs together.


9. Practice: Say: "Now I want you to read the rest of the article and cross out anything that is not important and highlight was it important like we just practiced.  Then, I want you to summarize the article. I am going to walk around and help when you need it."



1. Say: "No it is your turn to practice the summarization strategy we learned today. You are going to use the rules we just went over to summarize the "Honey Bee Mystery" I am about to pass around to you. Lets all remember the steps that will make you successful in comprehending. First you need to find a topic sentence. What should you do next? That's right, you should highlight the important facts in the article. Then you should cross out information that is not helpful when trying to comprehend the passage. Lastly, you should delete the information that is repeated through out the article. I am going to pass around paper and I want you to write your final 4-5 sentence summary." The teacher should assess each summary by using the assessment checklist. Make sure you include all of the important information from the article.


2. The teacher should call students who have completed their summarizations to her desk. The students should read their summaries to the teacher while she goes over the summarization checklist. Then the teacher should explain the checklist and discuss with the student how they did.





Pitman, Jana. Super Summarizers. Read to Learn


National Geographic “Spring Peepers”


National Geographic "Honey Bee Mystery”