Reading to Learn Lesson

money animated GIF

$pending My Time $ummarizing

Reading to Learn Design

                                                                                                    Malorie Hester


Reading is the most common skill that we use when attempting to obtain new information. Just as the process of reading takes a long time to progress, so does the process of finding significant information. Summarizing is a skill that all beginning readers need to practice in order to be successful in reading comprehension. Once readers can identify the main points of a specific reading, they become more accurate researchers, writers, and readers. The Pressley article, “Strategies that Improve Children’s Memory and Comprehension of Text,” cites research evidence that supports summarization as one of the most effective comprehension strategies.  During this lesson, students will be provided the opportunity to analyze a number of articles in attempt to find the main points of the text. Through these practices, the students will gain experience in summarization and acquire the necessary skills to summarize an article simply by reading it once. Although there are many comprehension strategies, this lesson will focus on teaching students how to summarize in their own words the text selection. 


o   Pencils (one for each student)

o   Paper

o   Class set of yellow highlighters

o   Class set of red highlighters

o   Summarization Activity Checklist:

            _____ I have written my topic sentence.

            _____ I have found supporting details to help answer the question.

            _____ I have removed unimportant information by crossing it out.

            _____ I have removed repeated ideas.

            _____ I have written a 3-5-sentence summary.

o   Individual Rubrics

o   The Color Green -Transparency for demonstration

o   Individual Hand Outs for

§  Money

§  What is a Bank?



1.    Introduce Summarizing.

Teacher says: “Today, our lesson is going to be about summarizing. Who can remind me what summarize means? Very good! To summarize means to find the most important information in an article. In order to find this important information, what are some things we might have to do? Yes, we need to get rid of all the information that does not really help us answer the overall question. Our lesson today will help you become master summarizers!”


2.  Hand out “Summarization Checklist.”

Teacher Says“What I am passing out is something I like to call a ‘Summarization Checklist.’ This piece of paper has all the steps listed in order to help me summarize while I read. In order to become a good summarizer, we must first know what our summary is going to be about. The first step is to find the main idea in a reading passage and develop a topic sentence. Once I create a topic sentence, I can put a check mark on that line to help me keep track of what I have done. Next, it is important to provide enough detail when summarizing an article. Our next step is to read through the article and find the supporting, or helpful, details. That being said, we also need to be pay attention to the unimportant details that are not absolutely necessary to include in our summary. It is easiest to mark through these unimportant details. Sometimes articles will state the same idea multiple times. It is important that we recognize why the importance of that detail, because often times they are crucial, but once we have seen it once, we don’t need to see it again. After you have found your supporting details and eliminate unimportant or repeated details, you can begin to write your summary. A summary is a brief overview of what you have just read. This means it needs to stay short. Be sure not to copy word for word what was stated in the article, but to create a summary using your own words as much as you can.”


3.  Three Rules of Thumb:

Teacher says: ”As you can see, from your summarization checklist, there are really only three rules of thumb that you need to remember when you are summarizing.”

·      The first rule of thumb is to find the important details that will help you write your summary.

·      The second rule of thumb is to eliminate the unnecessary and unrelated details that you believe will not help you summarize.

·      Last but not least, you need to organize your ideas in a thoughtful way beginning with your topic sentence and continuing with the supporting details you found earlier.

“If you can stick to these three rules, summarizing will be a easy as pie!”


4.  Hand out copies of The Color Green?

Teacher says: “I am handing out an article titled, The Color Green? Before we begin, does anyone have any idea why they might be? Well we are going to find out in a second, but first, there are a few vocabulary words that we might need to know before reading this passage.”

·      “The first word is “primary”. Does anyone know what “primary” means? Let’s try and use context clues to figure out the meaning of the word. Everyone look at the sentence of the passage. It says, “Because you can make green by mixing two primary colors, it is called a secondary color ”.  If two primary colors make a secondary color, then what exactly is a primary color to begin with? Would a primary color also be made up of two colors or one? Right, one! A primary color is any of the three basic colors that we already know, red, blue, and yellow. Now what about another word in that sentence, secondary? If primary is one basic color and clues in the sentence say mixing two primary colors makes that secondary, what exactly is a secondary color? Would it be made of one or two colors if you mix to create it? Two! That is correct. We create a secondary color by mixing two primary colors together. Blue and yellow mixed together make green. So now that we know the difference in our primary and secondary colors, lets find out if there are any other secrets to the color green.


            Other words to be taught: products, recycled, shade


5.  Read the article aloud to the class.

Teacher says: Now that we know other secrets about the color green, let’s think about how we would summarize this passage. Well, first, what is this article talking about? The color green. Very good! So we know that green is our main idea, the word “green” needs to be highlighted yellow because it is important. Now let’s find some important details that help us answer the question, Where can we find the color green? Let’s look at the second paragraph. We need to see what it is the author is saying about the color. Therefore, we need to look for key details and action words that will help us reach our conclusion.

 “Green is a beautiful color! In nature, the grass that you walk on is green and the leaves that you see on trees are usually green. Most of the plants that you see are green too! Frogs are green and many grasshoppers are green too. Turtles are different shades of green. Did you know that you could make green paint by mixing blue and yellow? Because you can make green my mixing two primary colors, it is called a secondary color. Green is also the name used to describe the movement to make products that do not harm the Earth. Green products are often those made from recycled materials or those that are safe to throw out in the trash.”



                   Teacher says: “Let’s begin by highlighting with yellow some of the words or ideas that we see a lot of. I see the word green and you a lot; these must be important. Now I need to find out why they are important, so I must look at the verbs the author uses. As I am highlighting these words in red, I am noticing that the color green is found in many things that I see daily grass, bugs, and plants. Because the article says that green is a secondary color, we can learn that it takes two colors blue and yellow mixed together make green. Now I need to reread the paragraph and cross out the things that are not important. These include descriptions, repeated topics, and extra information that take away from the main point of the article. We can cross out the first sentence because it is an opinion saying that green is a beautiful color. The rest of the information is very crucial to the reader. They rest of the sentences provide examples and details that are very important to the reader. From this paragraph we have summarized that the color green can be found in many elements of everyday life. However, we learn that the color green is not a primary color. Instead, it is created from two primary colors, making it a secondary color. We also learned that the color green could refer to products that are safe for out planet Earth. See how easy summarizing is? Now, try and finish the article on your own!”


6.     After giving the students time to summarize, inform them that we must look for a topic sentence.

Teacher says: “Now that we have all of our important information, what will our topic sentence be? Remember, the topic sentence includes the main idea of the passage. We’ve learned that the color green can be found often in everyday life. My topic sentence could be: ‘The color green can be found among us everyday, we see this color more than we realize.’”

Continue writing the summary with the students, looking for supporting details and excluding any unnecessary information. Once finished, review the summary with the students by using the summarization checklist.

Teacher says“Now that we are finished with our summary, let’s go back and check if we have all the necessary components for a good summary. Let’s see, do I have a topic sentence? Did I include supporting details? Did I get rid of unimportant information? Is the summary 3-5 sentences long? Well done! We have a wonderful summary!”


7.     Pass out handouts of What Is A Bank?

Teacher says: “Now that we have practice summarizing one text together, I want you to try on your own! This text is about the green paper we use to buy things with. Who knows what that green paper is that I am talking about? Great job, it is money! Let’s find out why money is important and how we can have some of our own! Don’t forget, while you are reading don’t be afraid to look back at your summarization checklist for steps to help you summarize.


To assess the students on the process of summarizing, I will ask them to turn in their copy of the passage and examine it to see if they have picked out and crossed out the correct details. I will read over their summaries as if I did not know the answer. Questions such as: How much interest do borrowers have to pay? What do people do with the banks money? How do banks make money? How does interest work?

The students will be graded using this rubric:



When summarizing, did the student:



Construct a simple, topic sentence answering the question?



Delete unimportant information?



Include supporting details?



Delete repeated information?



Organize summary with big idea?



  * Additional article provided in references for students who need additional practice, What Is A Bank?


Summarizing Smarts by: Mallory Blankenship


Learning + Fun, Money, http://mrnussbaum.com/money-printable-reading-comprehension/


Comprehension Instruction: What Makes Sense Now, What Might Make Sense Soon


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