Reading to Learn Lesson Design

Hey! What’s the BIG idea!?

Reading to Learn


Ø  Rationale:

 One way to know if a student has a good understanding of a book is to test their comprehension. One way to test their comprehension is to have them summarize a story. When you summarize a book, you are picking out the main ideas and highlighting the essential facts. This helps students understand a text by shortening it to get the main purpose the author intended for them to see. This lesson will help students acquire the skills to summarize a text in order to understand the deeper meaning. Students will use the following summarization rules: choose a topic sentence, cut out unimportant details or ideas that are repetitive, and highlight significant ideas and shorten it to one sentence.


Ø  Materials:



·         Paper for students

·         Pencils for students

·         Highlighters for students

·         SMARTboard

·         Assessment Checklist

·         Class set of article, “Drinking Water: Bottled or From the Tap?”

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

·         Rules Poster


Ø  Procedures:

1. "Today we are going to learn a very useful skill in reading, it is called summarizing! This particular skill can help us to better understand the books we read and therefore making us better readers! What exactly is summarizing? …Correct! It is a shorter description of a long story or article, and it contains only the main facts and ideas. Before we can summarize, we need to learn some rules about summarizing! First, we must choose the main idea of the text. Second, we need to cross out useless sentences or repeated ideas.  The last thing we do is highlight the important facts and ideas and make these into just a few short sentences. Do you think you’re ready to try this on your own? … Let’s get to it!"


2. "We will do one together. Let’s read this article and then summarize it together. *I will make a summarization rules poster and hang it to where everyone can look back at it. Students, be sure to look at the rules if you forget anything. Also, be sure that this summary is in your own words and not your neighbors or the authors. You can do this by reading slowly, read the important parts at least two times and take some notes as you go. After you’ve completed that part, mark out unimportant and repetitive information. But before we begin, let’s go over our vocabulary words, please."

Ø  Vocabulary list:


·         pollution

·         recycle

·         landfill

·         environment


Ø  Practice:

*This is repeated for every vocabulary word

-Let's look at what the word recycle means. Recycling is when you sort your trash between paper, plastic and glass so that it may be used again.

-What are some things that you can recycle? …  Yes! You can recycle coke cans, bottles, old notebooks etc..

-After we read our new article, we will learn different ways to help the environment by recycling.

-Finish the sentence: I recycle by ____________. (Possible responses—by wearing hand-me-downs, by sorting my trash into different bins, by using the back of my paper) 

3. Model:

After reviewing vocabulary words and the summarization rules with the students, I will model how to summarize by reading, "Drinking Water: Bottled or From the Tap?” Then I will pass out a copy of the article to each student and give a book talk:

"We are going to read an article about how water bottles can affect our environment. How many of you drink out of plastic water bottles? Let’s read to figure out why these plastic bottles are bad for our environment and what we can do to help out!”

 First, we are going to read the whole passage together. We don't need to make any marks just yet. Then, I will model what summarizing looks like. I will ask the question: "How would I summarize this a first paragraph? I will cross out unimportant details. …  Then I will go back and underline key details and put those key details into one sentence. Some questions that will help you understand what is important and what is not important are the following:

·         What is it the article about and is this sentence important to the article’s subject?

·         What is the point?

Be sure and ask yourself these questions as you are reading. I will show you by doing the first two paragraphs."


Ø  Example:

“If your family is like many in the United States, unloading the week’s groceries includes hauling a case or two of bottled water into your home. On your way to a soccer game or activity, it’s easy to grab a cold one right out of the fridge, right? But all those plastic bottles use a lot of fossil fuels and pollute the environment. In fact, Americans buy more bottled water than any other nation in the world, adding 29 billion water bottles a year to the problem. In order to make all these bottles, manufacturers use 17 million barrels of crude oil. That’s enough oil to keep a million cars going for twelve months.

Ø  What is the BIG idea?


·         bottled water

·         pollution

*I will highlight these words


Ø  Why is this the BIG idea?


·         Making plastic bottles pollutes our environment. It requires lots of fossil fuels and crude oil.

*I will highlight these sentences


Ø  What is the summary?


·         The convenient plastic water bottles we drink out of every day can really pollute our environment, because of the fossil fuel and oil that is used to produce them. 


4. Guided Practice:

 "Let’s do the rest of this article together! We will read the last few paragraphs as a class.” *Done on the SMARTboard

            “So why don’t more people drink water straight from the kitchen faucet? Some people drink bottled water because they think it is better for them than water out of the tap, but that’s not true. In the United States, local governments make sure water from the faucet is safe. There is also growing concern that chemicals in the bottles themselves may leach into the water.

            People love the convenience of bottled water. But maybe if they realized the problems it causes, they would try drinking from a glass at home or carrying water in a refillable steel container instead of plastic. Plastic bottle recycling can help—instead of going out with the trash; plastic bottles can be turned into items like carpeting or cozy fleece clothing.

            Unfortunately, for every six water bottles we use, only one makes it to the recycling bin. The rest are sent to landfills. Or, even worse, they end up as trash on the land and in rivers, lakes, and the ocean. Plastic bottles take many hundreds of years to disintegrate. Water is good for you, so keep drinking it. But think about how often you use water bottles, and see if you can make a change.”


Ø  What is the BIG idea?


·         Recycling plastic bottles or drinking out of a steel container instead of plastic can help our environment.


Ø  Why is it the BIG idea?


·         When you recycle your plastic bottles they can be used to make new things and it will not be polluting out environment.

Ø  What is the summary?


·         We should use less plastic bottles. We should also recycle to cut back on pollution caused by plastic water bottle production in the landfill.


5. Whole Text:

I will give the students a new article to read and have them summarize it on their own. "Now it’s your turn to practice summarization! “Tigers Cuddle with Apes”, by National Geographic Kids. The vocabulary words for this section are:

·         zookeeper

·         instinct

·         exhibit

Read the entire article carefully. Remember to highlight key details, cross out unimportant facts, and write a summarizing sentence after each paragraph on your own. Ask yourself:

·         What is the big idea?

·         What's the point?

And go!

Ø  Assessment:


I will take up the students work and ask the following questions as I grade it.


Ø  When they summarized, did they… Circle one.

·         Delete unimportant information?   Yes or No

·         Delete repeated information?         Yes or No

·         Organize items with big idea?          Yes or No

·         Select a topic?                                    Yes or No



Ø  Comprehension questions:


·         Why are the tiger and ape raised together?

·         What happened when they got older?

·         Is this a good idea to raise animals together?





National Geographic Kids

“Drinking Water: Bottled or From the Tap?

 National Geographic Kids

"Tigers Cuddle with Apes”

 Sinking Into Summarization by Jillian Induni

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