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Audrey Leach

April 8, 2014

Reading to Learn Design

Step Up and Summarize!

Rationale:  Today, the learning goal is for the reader who is struggling to work on developing and strengthening their reading comprehension skills.  This lesson is geared for an upper elementary-aged student.  In grades three through fifth, students should be acquiring and working on improving their reading comprehension skills.  There are many comprehension questions on standardized tests, and it is also beneficial to maturing readers, because comprehension strategies help students to understand what they are reading, which makes reading a more enjoyable experience. This lesson will introduce summarization, and kids will learn summarization through provided opportunities for practice and learning when the technique is applicable.



-Paper for students

-Pencils for students

-Highlighters for students

-Assessment Checklist

-Class set of article, “Scientists Help Giant Pandas Raise Twins”

-Class set of article, “Tigers Cuddle with Apes”

Rules Poster



Step 1: “Today we are going to learn how to read a story and understand what it is about by using summarization.  First of all, I would like to talk about silent reading.  Can anyone tell me what silent reading is?  That’s right, silent reading is when we read quietly to ourselves without talking to our neighbors.  Why do we read silently?  There are many reasons why but the most important reason is that it helps us to understand what we are reading.  Summarizing helps us understand.  Summarizing is when we pick out the most important parts of a story and retell the story only using the most important parts.”

Step 2:  Show students the chart of 5 steps

1.)   Pick out important details that are necessary to the story.

2.)   Pick out the less important or repeated ideas and eliminate them.

3.)   Highlight the important and necessary details using key words.

4.)   Pick a topic sentence.

5.)   Invent a topic sentence if there is none.

Step 3:  Pass out the article, “Scientists Help Giant Pandas Raise Twins” to each student.  Have students read the article silently to themselves.

Stem 4:  “I am going to model for you how to summarizing a story using the five easy summarization steps.  I will use the chart as a reference for each step.  Make sure that you are listening to for the important details!”

First I picked out the most important parts of the paragraphs:  raising multiple animals is just as hard as raising multiple humans, what they are doing at the Wolong facility, and what pandas eat.  They I remembered key words such as pandas, twins, and Wolong facility.  Finally, I chose a topic sentence: “Any human mother of multiples knows its hard to raise two or more children of the same age at the same time and it’s true for other mammals, too”.  Now listen to my summarization of the story.  “Mother pandas usually can’t handle taking care of more than one baby.  Every baby panda is important because they will be released into the wild to rebuild China’s perilously small population of wild pandas.  At the Wolong facility, baby pandas are taken care of by caregivers and swapped out so the mother panda is always only taking care of one baby.”


Step 5:  After reading the summary aloud to the class, go over the five steps of summarization again.  Make sure to ask the students questions to help them pick out the important parts of the story.  Who can tell me what mammal this story is about?  Good, it’s about pandas.  What problems do pandas have?  They have difficulties raising more than one baby and need help. 


Step 6:  Pass out the article, “Tigers Cuddle with Apes” to each student.  Give an engaging book talk, “I am passing out an article about two different kinds of animals who become friends, a tiger and an orangutan.  Tigers can normally not be friends with an orangutan.  Why do you think this is so?  We will have to read the article to find out!”  Have the students read the article silently to themselves. 


Step 7:  “After you finish reading this article I would like you to write a summary of what you just read.  Please remember to use the five easy steps to summarization and remember to ask yourselves questions to pick out the important details.  Write down the important details and write a summary following the steps.”


Step 8:  Monitor the student’s summarizing their stories by walking around and observing them while they work.  Help students who may be struggling and offer positive comments.


Step 9:  Assess the student’s progress in summarizing by having them turn in their article summaries.  Read each summary to determine the student’s understanding.  Make sure the check for:  an accurate summary, a concise summary with important details only, that unimportant details are omitted, that an appropriate topic sentence was selected.




Graves, Lindsay.  I’m Thankful I can summarize!  http://www.auburn.edu/academic/education/reading_genie/constr/gravesrl.html


Gordon, David George.  “Scientists Help Giant Pandas Raise Twins



Newman, Aline Alexander.  “Tigers Cuddle With Apes”