Super Summary

By: D.D. Knight

Rationale: Once students are fluent and comprehend what they read they practice their comprehension by summarizing. Summarizing means the students are choosing the main ideas and highlighting the important facts. This helps them to make a condensed version of the material they comprehend. This lesson will help students gain the skills to summarize an article, in order to understand the deeper meaning contained in it. Students will use the following summarization rules: cross out unimportant details or repeated ideas, reduce parts of the text into fewer words, and choose a topic sentence.



Paper for students

Pencils for students

Highlighters for students


White board

Copies of the article, “The Great Pumpkin” By Tracey E. Fern, Highlights for kids website

Copies of the poem, “The Pumpkin Moon” By Linda McReynolds 

List of vocabulary words: Archeologists, indispensable, harvested

List of summarization rules (above)

Assessment checklist (at end of lesson)




1)"Today, we are going to practice a new strategy as we are reading. We are going to focus on summarizing because this will help us to comprehend the passage better as well as become excellent readers! Does anyone know what a summary is?" (Wait for a response)  “It is a shorter version of a long story or article, and it contains only the main facts and ideas of the story or article. Give sample diagram of a picture of an umbrella with Main Idea written at the top and Details written in each section of the umbrella to show the students a visual representation of what they are going to do. In order to summarize, we will first need to learn our summarization rules. They are the following: First, cross out useless sentences or repeated ideas. Then, highlight the important facts and ideas and condense these into just a few sentences. And lastly, choose the main idea of the article, so that we can create our topic sentence."


2)"Today, we will practice by reading an article and summarizing it. (I will post the summarization rules on the overhead). Make sure you refer to our summarization rules as you are reading and responding, and make sure you put the summary in your own words. The best way to do this is to read slowly, reread important parts, and to make notes.


3)To review the vocabulary, I will do the following things for each word: explain what it means in simple vocabulary, model how to use it, provide sample questions for using the word, and scaffold the students in making a sentence with the word. Example: "Our first word is archeologists. An archeologist is a person who studies artifacts of prehistoric people. For example, dinosaurs are studied by archeologist. Can anyone tell me a something old that has been discovered? Let's make a sentence with this word. I will start off and I want you to finish it. Archaeologist have studied……in Egypt (pyramids, hieroglyphics)


4)"Before we get to the article with these words in it, I will give you short poem to show you what to do when you summarize. (Pass out "Pumpkin Moon"). (Book talk) This poem is about a boy who soars up in the sky towards the moon. What do you think he is going to do up there? Let's all take a moment to read the poem. Great! Now, the first thing I want to do is pick out any information in the article that is not important. So I don't think that we really need to know that the moon is an orange orb. Let's all take our pencil and cross that sentence out. Next, we need to pick out places that we can shorten the sentences. I think that instead of saying I’d bring a knife so I could carve that pumpkin in the sky that we could just say I could carve that pumpkin in the sky. This helps us because we are saying the same thing in a shorter way. Next, we need to create our topic sentence. We know that the poem is about a boy who wants to carve the moon because he sees it as a pumpkin. Maybe our topic sentence could be if the boy had a rocket ship he would carve the moon to look like a jack-o-lantern. Now we can use our topic sentence and the information that we have left to write our summary. On your own paper, write the topic sentence and the rest of the information that we have left in your own words. Great job! (Walk around to scaffold the writing.) Another idea would be to use about/point to create the topic sentence. Ask the students, "What is it about?" and "What is the main point?"


5) Simple practice with a whole text: Give the students a new article to read and have them summarize this on their own. "Today we will practice our summarizing skills with the article, "The Great Pumpkin", by Tracey E. Fern. (Booktalk) This article talks about the history of pumpkins. Did you know they were one of the first foods eaten in America? What else do you think pumpkins were for besides food? Don't forget our vocabulary words for this article that we already talked about. (Post vocabulary list to remind students.) Remember, you should first read the article, then cross out any useless information, reduce parts of it to fewer words, compose a topic sentence, and write your summary on your own paper. I will come around to help and make sure everyone is doing well, please raise your hand if you need me."


Assessment: Take up student's summarizations from the article above and evaluate using this table:



When summarizing did the student.....



Delete unimportant information?



Delete repeated information?



Reduce text to few words?

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





Also, ask the following comprehension questions:

What point was the author making about the topic? (putting together)

Where were the pumpkins found and why do you think they were found there? (writer and me)

What is different about these pumpkins and how are they different from the pumpkins you have seen? (writer and me)

Why do you think the native Americans ate pumpkins? (putting together)

What kinds of questions are these? Right there, putting it together, writer and me, or on my own? Put the name next to each question.


Highlights kids. Linda McReynolds. “Pumpkin Moon”.  Web. 3 November 2012

Highlights Kids. Tracey E. Fern. “The Great Pumpkin”. Web. 3 November 2012.

Bullard, Taylor.

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