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Summing It Up!



Summing It Up!


A Reading to Learn Lesson Design

Lydia Moore

 Rationale: In order to become an expert reader, we must first learn how to comprehend what we are reading. Fortunately, summarization and comprehension go hand-in-hand. Summarization, meaning the process of the reader taking out small details and focusing on the main ideas of the reading, is a comprehension strategy. This process narrows down the text and creates a summary. Through this lesson, students will learn strategies on how to summarize. The students will have the opportunity to practice their summarization skills after reading the whole text. They will do so by using highlighters and a black marker.


-Poster with summarization rules on it:

            1. Get rid of unimportant information.

            2.  Get rid of repeated information.

            3. Substitute umbrella words for list words.

            4. Select a topic.

            5. Make up a topic sentence if there is not one.



-Black marker for each student

-Highlighter for each student

-Poster of "The Secret Language of Dolphins"

-Copy of "Polar Bears Listed As Threatened" for each student

-Copy of “Honeybee Mystery “ for each student

-Summarization Checklist

Did the Student . . .



Get rid of unimportant information



Get rid of repeated information



Substitute umbrella words for list words



Select a topic



Make up a topic sentence if there was not one






1. Say: "Today we are going to learn how to summarize. Summarizing is going to help you better comprehend what you read. What do you all think it means to summarize what you read? That’s right! Summarization is when you read a passage or piece of text and take all the small details so that you are left with the main idea of the text. So let’s review some things we have learned about reading first. Then, we will talk more about what it means to summarize as well as some of the rules of summarizing.”

2. Start the lesson by reviewing some of the vocabulary in the article.

Say: “Today we are going to be reading an article about Dolphins. In the article, we will discover some new words. So, before we start reading, I want to introduce and define these words so when we read them, we will understand what they mean. The words I am going to explain are: gesture, scuffle, nuance, and elusiveness.” Define each of these words in the following way:

The first word is gesture. A gesture is just a movement of part of the body that is used to help express an idea or meaning. Now I will use it in a sentence. The woman on the sidewalk gestured for a taxicab. It could also be used like this: After performing well at a game, Abby’s dad gestured a thumbs up. Gesture would not be used like this: Sue gestured at Sally by looking at her. This doesn’t really work because Sue is trying to describe an entire idea as oppose to using a gesture to help express her idea. Sally can’t read Sue’s mind so she must use words or some kind of gesture to help explain what she is trying to say. A gesture is any movement that can convey meaning to someone else. For example, a thumbs up. By doing this to someone, they understand what you mean without even having to use words. Now, let's see if we can figure out what gesture may have been used in this next sentence. If Sally is leaving her friend Sue, what might be a gesture she'd use?  Good! Sally was probably waving goodbye to Sue, which let her know she was leaving. Hopefully now you all have a better understanding of the word gesture so lets try and come up with our own sentence using it.

3. Next, explain and display the poster with the summarization rules. Talk about each of the rules one by one before practicing them in a real paragraph. Explain just how each rule is going to help them summarize their reading.

4. Read the following paragraph from "The Secret Language of Dolphins" to the students and model how to summarize.

Say: "Here is a paragraph from an article from National Geographic Kids called 'The Secret Language of Dolphins'. I am going to read this paragraph aloud. Please follow along silently as I read.


 'In many ways, you are just like the more than 30 species of dolphins that swim in the world's oceans and rivers. Dolphins are mammals, like you are, and must swim to the surface to breathe air. Just as you might, they team up in pods, or groups, to accomplish tasks. And they're smart.'

Okay, now let's look at this paragraph. Our first rule tells us to get rid of unimportant information so I'm going to take my big black marker and cross out the unimportant information. We are going to cross out the entire first sentence. It's good to know that there are many different species of dolphins but that isn't necessarily something important pertaining to the dolphin’s language. We are also going to cross out 'like you are' after 'mammals' in the second sentence since we know that humans are in fact mammals. Let's cross out 'just as you might' and 'or groups' in the third sentence because this is just a definition. Next we will get rid of repeated information. Since there is no repeated information in this paragraph we can move on to the next rule, which is making an "umbrella" for some of our words. We are going to make an umbrella with the words "and they're smart". We are going to "umbrella" this sentence within the second sentence to where it says, "Dolphins are smart mammals". So lets take our highlighter and mark "and they're smart" and "dolphins are mammals". Let's also highlight "swim to the surface to breathe air" in the second sentence and "they team up in pods to accomplish tasks" in the third sentence. We will umbrella those sentences into one as well. Our next rules say to select a topic and make a topic sentence. Our topic is going to be dolphins. For our topic sentence I am going to write, "Dolphins are smart mammals that swim to the surface to breathe air and they team up in pods to accomplish tasks.

5. Say: "Now that you see how to summarize, I am going to give each of you a copy of another article called " Polar Bears Listed As Threatened ".  I want you all to try to summarize but I will be here to help. Did you know that those sweet looking polar bears are in the top ten deadliest to man list?  This article will discuss more about why Polar Bears have made the "threatened" List. To find out more about these awesome creatures and what’s being done to help save them, read the article. Read it silently to yourself and use the black markers and highlighters to do the same thing we just did together. Once you have read through and made your marks, we will go over what we all believe is information we would need to use to summarize. Then, I want you to get a piece of paper and a pencil and write a sentence of the summarized information. 





6. Say: “Now that you all have had my help in understanding how to summarize two different articles, I want you to try and apply your new skills by yourself. You will be reading “Honeybee Mystery”. As you read, do as we have before and highlight the important information as well as delete the unimportant or repeated information. Once you have finished reading, review your highlighted information and compose a sentence combining all of those important details. To help you decide what is important, ask yourselves, ‘What is this about’ and ‘What is the point or this article’. This should help you determine what to include in your summary” 

Assessment: For the assessment portion I will be using the summarization rules checklist. Students will be evaluated on their ability to correctly use the summarization rules and strategies to get rid of unimportant or repeated information and make a short summary of what they have read. I will also ask the students questions such as "What are some things you learned about Honeybee’s?” and "Where do they usually live?" and  "Why are bee’s important to us?”



White, Don. The Secret Language of Dolphins.



Roach, John. Polar Bears Listed As Threatened.



Wilson, Jessica. Summaries: Easy as 1, 2, 3!


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