Reading to Learn

Something to Remember


Annamarie Merritt 



Comprehension is very important for students to learn when they are learning how to read. Summarizing is an effective strategy for students to use in order to comprehend a text. Throughout this lesson students will learn how to summarize while they are reading. Summarizing skills will be taught by teaching students to do the following: delete unimportant information, delete repeated information, substitute easy terms for lists of items, substitute a series of events with one easy action term, and select/ invent a topic sentence. Once students are able to follow these steps and summarize, they will ultimately comprehend the text.




-Dry erase board


-A bookmark for each student with the 5 summarization steps on it

Summarization steps:

1.           Pick out important details that are necessary to the story.

2.           Pick out the less important or repeated ideas from the passage and eliminate them.

3.           Highlight the important and necessary details using key words

4.           Pick a topic sentence.

5.           Invent a topic sentence if there is none.

 -Copy of The Light of Liberty National Geographic Kids News for each student.


1. Begin by asking students if anyone knows what comprehension means. Wait for response and then review their responses. "Good job! Comprehension is understanding what we are reading and then remembering it after we are done. Today we are going to learn a couple of steps that are going to help us comprehend our reading. This new technique is called summarization. When we summarize, we choose the most important parts of the story or passage that we are reading. The whole time we are doing this, we take out some of the stuff that really doesn't have anything to do with the main idea."

2. Explain summarization. "To summarize we have 5 easy steps to remember." Have the steps written on a poster and displayed so that students can see. "The first step is to pick out important details that we think are necessary to the story. Number two says to pick out the less important ideas or ideas that are repeated and take them away. Number three says to highlight the important and necessary details using key words. Next, we pick a topic sentence. Our last step is to invent a topic sentence if we don't have one. I'm going to pass out bookmarks to each of you that have these steps on them so you won't forget our 5 steps of summarization. You can use these whenever you need a little help."

3. "Alright, now that we are familiar with comprehension and summarization, we are going to read a passage from an article and practice using our newly learned steps. But first, let's discuss some vocabulary words. Incredible means what, guys? Incredible means extraordinary, or hard to believe. Let's go deeper with this word by using it in a sentence. I'll give one first. The sunset from the beach is absolutely incredible. You try it (Have each student use it in a sentence). Incredible cannot be used for smething that is ordinary or plain. Now, let's read the first paragraph to your self. While you are reading, make sure to pay close attention to what you are reading so that you can use the information to summarize the paragraph. When summarizing, remember that the purpose is to pick out the important details. Raise your hand when you are done so we'll know when to move on."

4. After the class is finished reading, summarize the first paragraph with the whole class making sure they understand the steps of summarization. While doing this as a class, make sure to model the five steps. "After reading the first paragraph, here are the main points that I came up with." Write the following on the board: 1. The statue of Liberty was given to the United States. 2. It was given by France. "Did anybody get anything different than I did?" If someone did, write that on the board as well. "As I keep reading, I'm going to use all 5 steps. I just did the first step and picked out what I thought were the important details. My next step is to pick out the less important points from the paragraph. I think the these would be: 1. It's is 15 stories tall without it's pedestal.  2. It was built in France." Write these on the board. "Did anyone get something different?" If they did, write it on the board. "What is my next step?" Wait for student to suggest: highlight some keywords. "Great job! You're right. I thought that the keywords were France, United States, Statues of Liberty. Did anybody get another word?" If they did, write it on the board. "What do I need to do now?" Wait for student response. "Right! I need to write a topic sentence. The topic sentence I came up with is: (Write this sentence on the board) "The Statue of Liberty was gave to the United States as a gift from France. Did somebody get something else?" If they did, write it on the board and discuss why they chose that. "Good! Since we just came up with our topic sentence, we don't need to do step 5 since that step is to invent a topic sentence." Make sure that all of this is written on the board so that they will be able to use it when they are reading the rest of the article by themselves.

5. "Does everybody feel comfortable with summarizing now? Great! Now that you are all pros, I want you to read the rest of the article silently and summarize it using our steps. If you need any help you can look on the board or at your bookmarks that each of you have. Make sure to use your highlighter to highlight key words in the article."

6. When they have finished reading silently, they will summarize the article on their own. "Now that you are all finished reading, take out your piece of paper and pencil and summarize the article. Make sure that you remember to list the important details of the article. Separate the important details from the less important ones. Then, make sure you list your keywords and then using your keywords and your main points, form your topic sentence. If you have any questions, please raise your hand and I'll come and help you."

7. For assessment, I will take up the student's summarizations to see how well they understood the concept. I will use the bookmarks as my own checklist to make sure that they used all of the steps of summarization correctly. The entire time they are working on them I will walk around to make sure that they are using the steps written on the board and on their bookmarks to stay on task. I will also asses the students' knowledge on comprehension by asking the following questions:

1. Where was the Statue of Liberty actually built?

2. What does the torch symbolize?

3. How long did it take for the statue to become a reality? 



Melton, Shaely. Summin' It All Up.

The Light of Liberty. National Geographic Kids

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