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Summaries As Easy As 1,2,3!

Summaries as Easy as 1,2,3!

Reading to Learn
By: Emily Milner



Rationale: In order to be good fluent readers, we must be able to understand the things we read. Summarization and comprehension go hand-in-hand because summarization is a comprehension strategy. Summarization simply means that the reader crosses out the small details and instead focuses on the main ideas of the reading, and in doing so, creates a summary. Through this lesson students will learn strategies to summarize and practice summarization skills by reading whole text and using the summarization rules, black markers, and highlighters to create their own summaries.



-Chart with summarization checklist on it:

            1. Cross out information that is not important.

            2.  cross out repeated information.

            3. Substitute umbrella words for list words.

            4. Select a topic that is being summarized.

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

-Paper (for each student)

-Pencil (for each student)

-Black marker (for each student)

-Highlighter (for each student)

-Poster with "The Secret Language of Dolphins"

-Copy of "What's Wild About African Wild Dogs" (for each student)

-Summarization Checklist

Did the Student . . .



Cross out unimportant information



Cross out repeated information



Substitute umbrella words for list words



Select a topic to be summarized



Make up a topic sentence if there was not one





1. Teacher: "Today we are going to look at a comprehension strategy called summarization. Can anyone raise their hand and tell me what summarization means when we are talking about reading? Right! Summarization is when you read a text and pull out the "big idea" that the text is talking about. To do this, we take out all the small details so that you are left with the main idea of the text. Now that we know what summarization is, let's take a moment to review some things we have learned about reading and talk about what it means to summarize and some of the rules of summarizing. (review, and go over summarization checklist poster)


2. Teacher: Ok, let's start with reviewing some of the vocabulary in the article that we will be reading today. Some of these articles may have some new words in them, so we want to make sure that we know what they mean before we try to form a summary. So, what I want to do is go over some new words and what they mean before we begin.

(Go over the following words with the students that will be found in the article they will be reading by themselves, "What's Wild About African Wild Dogs". Have the students write them down so they may go back and look at them when it comes time for them to read it alone: domestic, savannas, gazelles, and wildebeests.)


3.Teacher: (Put up the poster with summarization checklist up in front of the students.) Let's  talk about these rules one by one before practicing them in a real paragraph. First, we need to use our black markers to cross out any information that is not important to the "big idea" of the text. Then we need to use our marker to cross out any repeated information. After that, we need to use our umbrella words to replace list words. We also need to figure out what topic we need to summarize within the text. And finally, we need to write a topic sentence if there isn't one.


4. (Read the following paragraph from "The Secret Language of Dolphins" to the students.)

Teacher: Here is an excerpt from National Geographic Kids called 'The Secret Language of Dolphins'. To practice summarization I will read this paragraph aloud, and we will form a summary as a class. Follow along silently on your own paper while 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.' Let's take a look at this paragraph. Our first rule tells us to cross out unimportant information, so I'm going to take my black marker and cross out the information that we don't really need to know. We are going to cross out the entire first sentence. This sentence isn't necessarily something important pertaining to the dolphins language. We are also going to cross out 'like you are' after 'mammals' in the second sentence since this little bit of information is also unimportant for our summary. Let's also 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 let's 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. These sentences and bits of information are all important for the summary we want to write. We will umbrella those sentences into one as well, to make making our summary easier. Our next rules say to select a topic or make a topic sentence. Our topic is going to be dolphins. For our topic sentence we are going to write "Dolphins are smart mammals that swim to the surface to breathe air and they team up in pods to accomplish tasks." This sentence covers all of the important information in the paragraph that we highlighted. This is our one sentence summary!


5. Teacher: "Now that we have practiced together how to summarize a text, I am going to give each of you a copy of another article called "What's Wild About African Wild Dogs".  Did you know that there are wild dogs in Africa with a different number of toes than our pet dogs? That's pretty cool right? Well, this article talks about these African wild dogs and why they are in danger. To find out about these awesome creatures, let's read the article. You may also find out what’s being done to save them. Read it silently to yourself and use the black markers and highlighters to do the same thing we just did together. We need to cross out the information that is not important and highlight the information that we think is really important to our summary. Once you have read through and made your marks I want you to take some paper and a pencil and rewrite the summarized version. When you are done, I will come around and check your work and answer any questions you might have.


Assessment: For the assessment portion I will be using the summarization rules checklist in order to check the students work and comprehension of summaries and the article. Students will be evaluated on their ability to correctly use the summarization rules and strategies to get rid of unimportant information and use the important information to 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 the African wild dog, other than how many toes it has?", "What kinds of things hunt these dogs?", "What is being done to save them?", "What could you do to protect these dogs?",  and "Why did humans to want to kill these dogs so badly in the past?"



Griffin, Meg. Realizations Spring 2010.  "Long Story Short"           
Fox, Catherine Clarke. What's Wild About African Wild Dogs.           
White, Don. The Secret Language of Dolphins.            
Wilson, Jessica. Summaries: Easy as 1,2,3!