Sweet Summarizers

Reading to Learn

Jamie Smith


Rationale: As students are reading, one of the main goals is comprehension because this shows that they have understood the material that they are reading. The most important strategy is summarizing the main idea to remember and understand the important parts of the text. This helps them to understand their reading in a more condensed version, while still comprehending the main idea of the material. This lesson will help students gain the skills to summarize an article, in order to understand the deeper meaning contained in it. To effectively summarize a text, students will use the following rules: cross out unimportant details or repeated ideas, reduce parts of the text into fewer words, and choose a topic sentence.



1. Paper for students

2. Pencils for students

3. Highlighters for students

4. Projector

5. White board

6. Copies of the article, “ Malachy Takes Top Prize at Westminster Dog Show” National Geographic Kids. (for each student)

7. Copy of the article, “Giant Jellyfish Invasion” National Geographic Kids. (on overhead)

8. Poster board with a list of summarization rules on it.

10. Assessment checklist (at end of lesson)




1. I will begin by introducing the comprehension strategy summarizing. “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 understand and remember the passage better as well as become amazing readers! Does anyone know what summarizing means?” “Yes, correct! When you summarize a text you pick out the most important information that the story is telling you. Books are filled with words, but when you summarize you delete any information that doesn’t really matter. Only the main ideas and facts help us understand what happens in the story and today we are going to figure out how to find this information. 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 poster on the whiteboard) Make sure you pay close attention to the summarization rules as you go through this activity. As you summarize, make sure you read slowly, reread important parts, and take notes on the sides of your paper.


3. First, we will go over our vocabulary, the words are: kennel, breed, Beijing, Pekingese, and capital. 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 breed. A breed is a group of animals or living things that have a distinctive appearance. For example, Dalmatians are a breed of dogs. Can anyone tell me a breed of dog that they know of? A golden retriever? That’s correct, that is one of the many different types of dog breeds. They all have the same characteristics and features. Let’s make a sentence with this word. I will start off and I want you to finish it. The __________ is a breed of cats. (Persian, Tabby, Siberian, etc.)



4. “Before we summarize the article with these words in it, we will do one together on the overhead. (Put up “Giant Jellyfish Invasion” article on the overhead). (Booktalk) This article is about a type of jellyfish that are drifting off into different waters causing problems for the fishermen. (Now I will call on several students to read the article.) Great! I will be modeling this for the students and asking them questions as we go through the steps. “Now let’s start summarizing! Let’s first look at the rules! First we must cross out useless sentences or repeated ideas. So let’s cross out the first two sentences because I don’t think we need to know that aliens aren’t really attacking Japan. I will take my pencil and cross out this information.  Let’s leave the next sentence because that is explaining what types of jellyfish they are. We can shorten it by saying Nomuras jellyfish can weigh up to 450 pounds, as heavy as a male lion, and they are swarming by the millions. We can take out the two descriptive words to shorten it. In the next paragraph let’s cross out the last sentence because it is not important. The third paragraph is pretty important so we’ll leave that one alone. For the last paragraph, we can cross out the first sentence and the last two sentences because they aren’t important. Now, let’s do step two! Next, we need to create a topic sentence. We know that the article is about a type of jellyfish that are invading the seas of Japan and they are getting caught by fisherman and killing the other fish. How about, Nomura’s jellyfish drifted into the sea of Japan causing major threats to fisherman. 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.)


5. Simple individual 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, “Takes Top Prize at Westminster Dog Show”, by National Geographic Kids. (Booktalk) This article talks about a Pekingese dog that wins the dog show for the first time in 22 years!  What do you think it takes for a dog to win a dog show? Don’t forget our vocabulary words for this article that we already talked about. 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. You can use the highlighters in your baskets to help you identify the important information! I will be walking around the classroom to help, so please raise your hand if you need me.”


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


 Assessment Checklist

When summarizing did the student.....



Delete unnecessary information?



Delete repeated information?



Reduce text to few important words?

Write a simple topic sentence to summarize the passage?



Also, ask the following comprehension questions:

What point was the author making in the article? (putting together)

Why do you think this breed of dogs was named after the city in China? (writer and me)

What is different about the way these dogs look, and how does it look different from dogs you have seen? (writer and me)

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.


Bullard, Taylor. “Let’s Be Sensational Summarizers!” http://www.auburn.edu/academic/education/reading_genie/awakenings/bullardrl.htm

National Geographic Kids. Ruth A. Musgrave. “Giant Jellyfish Invasion”


National Geographic Kids. Unknown Author. “Malachy Takes Top Prize at Westminster Dog Show” http://kidsblogs.nationalgeographic.com/kidsnews/2012/02/malachy-takes-top-prize-at-westminster-dog-show.html


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