Super Sweet Summarizers

                                                                                   Super Sweet Summarizers


      Reading to Learn

  Laney Walding


Reading is the initial step for students to learn new information. While reading, it is crucial for them to differentiate between significant and insignificant information. In this lesson I will teach students how to summarize. Summarizing is a skill that all beginning readers need to practice in order to be successful in reading comprehension. This lesson is going to teach students the steps they can take in order to master summarizing large passages they read so that they can detect the important information. The teacher will then model how to summarize an article read aloud to the class. To conclude, the students will practice summarizing the new article independently and be evaluated.



  1. Pencils and Paper for the students

  2. “Slow Down for Calvin the Right Whale!” articles for students

  3. “What’s Wild About African Wild Dogs” articles for students

  4. Main Idea and Details worksheet

  5. White board to write the rules for summarizing

  6. Summary checklist

  7. Summary assessment rubric for evaluation




  1. Say: “Today we are going to learn a new reading strategy called summarization. This is a very important strategy to learn because it helps you comprehend when you read a story. Doing this will make us very good readers! Can anyone tell me what summarize means? (Wait for the correct response). That’s right! Summarizing is making longer stories shorter and picking out the important parts of the story and getting rid of the parts that are not important.” The teacher will give the students an example of an apple tree with “MAIN IDEA” written at the top and different branches towards the bottom that labeled “DETAILS.” This will be a great example for the students to visually get the idea of getting the details narrowed down to the most important parts which will make up the main idea in the story. This also shows the students how all the details and the main idea are connected. Teacher will say, “In order to summarize, we first need to understand the many rules that go into making summarization important. The rules are: cross out the unimportant details, reduce parts of the text into fewer words, and choose a topic sentence.”

  2. Say: “Now we are going to read an article and try to pick out the main ideas since we know the different rules that go into summarization. If you forget the rules, refer to the board when you forget or try to summarize. Remember, whenever you summarize, be sure to put them into your own words so that you are not taking someone else’s thoughts.”

  3. Pass out a copy of the article, "Slow Down for Calvin the Right Whale!" to each student.

  4. Teacher will say: "We are going to read this article together as a class and practice the skills we have discussed to come up with a good summary together".

  5. Teacher will read the article aloud to the class as they follow along with their own copy.

  6. Teacher will model how to summarize the article to the students to begin with and remind them of the rules used in summarization.

  7. Teacher will say: "Now we need to summarize the article. How do we begin? (Allow wait time for students to suggest how to begin summarization) Right, let's pick out important details and mark out unimportant details as we read the article again. To do this, we need to think about the subject that seems to be mentioned more than one time.  As I read the first few sentences, I see that a North Atlantic right whale named Calvin is mentioned repeatedly and is very important to this article. A proposed law to protect the whales is also mentioned repeatedly.  I think that the law seems to be the main idea of this article. My first sentence of the summary will be "An 8-month-old North Atlantic right whale named Calvin was orphaned after her mother was hit by a ship."

  8. Teacher will continue saying: "Picking out these main ideas is very important to figure out at the beginning of the summarizing process. After we do this, we have to decide what the author is trying to say about the topic. Let's look again at the first paragraph and I will model what I do when I am summarizing. Now I am going to write "A rule was proposed to make ships slowdown in areas where right whales swim". That is a key point in what the author's message that is about the whales and why this rule was proposed."

  9.  Continue to go through the steps of summarizing this article about Calvin and the proposed law. The teacher will continue thinking aloud so that students can hear how to decide what information about the article is important and what is unnecessary information that can be marked out. Mark out useless information, such as information that is repetitive in the article or that describes a topic, and underline important information.

  10.  Teacher will pass out "What's Wild About African Wild Dogs" article. Students will read the article and practice the steps of summarizing. They will be given a good amount of time to read the article. Once they have read the article they will be instructed to write a summary based on their reading just like the teacher modeled in class. Each student will receive a checklist to remind them what to look for when summarizing.



    Summary Checklist

Did I…

_____ write my topic sentence?

_____ find supporting details to help answer the question?

_____ remove unimportant information by crossing it out?

_____ remove repeated ideas?

_____ create a 3-5 sentence summary?



The teacher will collect the student’s summarizations from the second article and evaluate based on the table below.


In his/her summary, did the student….



Did the student pick out the most important information?



Did the student delete unnecessary information?



Did the student fully understand the information from the article?



Did the student write a strong topic sentence?



Did the student write strong sentences summarizing the important part of the text?






Summary rubric:


Summary checklist:


Catherine Gardner: Superb Summarizers!


Katie Wilcox: Stop, It’s Summarizing Time!

Laney Walding: