Reading to Learn Lesson

Super Short Summary

Rationale

When readers become fluent they can focus more on comprehending the text rather than decoding every word. Readers can improve their comprehension by learning strategies that will aid in learning from the text. It is important for the teacher to explicitly teach these strategies so that the children can practice these until they become skills the children can use independently of the teacher. Summarizing is one strategy that can be used to help a reader comprehend the story. I allows the student to pick out the main points in a text and delete unimportant information. This lesson will engage writing new sentences that summarize different articles. I will explicitly teach the strategy of summarizing by first explaining and modeling, then guided practice, and finally individual summarization of a text and answering comprehension questions.

 

Materials

"Polar Bear" Published by Animalfactguide.com

Smart Board projection of  "Polar Bear" 

Photocopies of "Polar Bear"

Assessment checklist for each student

 

Procedures

1. Explain Why the Strategy is Useful

Summarizing is selecting the most important parts of a text. It is super useful when reading a long book or article that is explaining something. There can be so much information it can be confusing, but if we use summarizing it makes it less confusing. This will help us know the most important parts of the text, and we will not have to worry about irrelevant information.

 

2. Background Knowledge

There are a couple of vocabulary words we need to go over before reading this article. The two words are equipped and insulate. The first word is equipped. Equipped is to furnish or provide with whatever is needed for use or for any undertaking. The shark was equipped with sharp teeth for hunting. Would you be equipped for the cold weather with a heavy coat or a swim suit? A heavy coat would equip you for the cold weather. Now finish this sentence for me: The car was equipped with air bags to…. (Possible completion: protect people in a crash). The second word is insulate. Insulate to cover, line, or separate with a material that prevents or reduces the passage, transfer, or leakage of heat, electricity, or sound. In this article insulate refers to the coats of fur and blubber that keep a polar bear warm. If a human wears three pairs of socks their feet will be insulated from the cold. Which pair of shoes do you think keep someone’s feet more insulated, a pair of flip flops or a pair of snow boots? The answer would be a pair of snow boots. Now finish this sentence: My lunch box is well insulated and always… (Possible completion: keeps my food cold until lunch.)

 

3. Explain How to Use the Strategy

When we want to summarize a passage, we read a little bit at a time, like a paragraph or a page. When we finish reading that small part we look back and figure out the most important parts. We eliminate information that does not add value to the main idea. We must be very selective in choosing the important information. Summarizing lets us understand what the most important parts of a long passage are.

 

4. Model the Strategy

Now watch how I can summarize this paragraph in the article "Polar Bear". Remember I only want the important parts of the paragraph. First I am going to read the entire first paragraph. “Polar bears, or “sea bears,” are the world’s largest land predators, weighing up to 600 kg (1300 lb.) and measuring up to 3m (10 ft.) tall. On average they live to be about 25 years old, reaching sexual maturity at around 4 years.” So this paragraph gives us some great information. What I am going to do is underline the important parts. We want to figure out what the important parts are. The paragraph is about Polar Bears, so what do we need to know about them?  “Polar bears, or “sea bears,” are the world’s largest land predators, weighing up to 600 kg (1300 lb.) and measuring up to 3m (10 ft.) tall. On average they live to be about 25 years old, reaching sexual maturity at around 4 years.” Does everyone notice what information is important and what information is not? What is underlined is the important information, which becomes the summary. The summary is: Polar bears or sea bears are the worlds largest land predators, they weigh up to 1300 lbs, grow 10ft tall, and live to be 25 years old.

 

5. Simple Guided Practice

Now that we have a pretty good idea of how to summarize, let's try to summarize the second paragraph together. “In habiting the ice and sea of the Artic, polar bears are well-equipped for survival in a harsh environment. Two coats of fur and a thick layer of blubber help insulate the polar bear’s body from the cold, keeping it’s temperature at an even 37degrees C (98.6 degrees F). In addition, polar bears’ paws are especially adapted for walking on the ice and swimming in the sea. Hairs and bumps on the soles of their feet provide traction, while webbing between their toes allows for effective swimming strokes.” Now we can put together the important parts to make our summary. So our summary for the second paragraph is: Polar bears live in the Artic sea, they have two coats and blubber to insulate them from the cold and hairs and bumps on their feet that provide traction. They also have webbing between their toes that allows for effective swimming. This summary gives us the main idea of the paragraph, and gets rid of the unimportant stuff.

 

 

6. Whole Text Practice

We are going to continue working on summarizing. We are going to read the rest of this article. I want you guys to read the last four paragraphs and write a summary for each one, so you will write four summaries. How do polar bears stay warm in the ice? Where do polar bears live? What do polar bears have that help them survive? Why are polar bears currently listed as vulnerable?

 

7. Assessment

I will call on you guys to read and summarize the paragraphs from our article and answer comprehension questions about what you have read. So I will have the students read the last four paragraphs of "Polar Bears", using the summarization checklist (see below). I will also ask comprehension questions: How do polar bears stay warm in the ice? Where do polar bears live? What do polar bears have that help them survive? Why are polar bears currently listed as vulnerable?

 

 

When summarizing, did the student…

YES

NO

Delete unimportant information?

 

 

Delete repeated information?

 

 

Organize items with a big idea?

 

 

Select a topic?

 

 

Write an inclusive, simple topic sentence to summarize the passage?

 

 

 

References:

Steeb, Caitlin. Short and Sweet Summarization.

http://www.auburn.edu/academic/education/reading_genie/awakenings/steebcrl.htm

 

“Polar Bear” Ursus maritimus http://www.animalfactguide.com/animal-facts/polar-bear/

 

 

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