Spectacular Summarizers

Reading to Learn Design

Katherine Carnes

 

Rationale: Reading to learn is the highest form of reading. In order to read to learn, you must be able to comprehend. Summarizing is vital to comprehension. This lesson will teach students to summarize through practice with expository text and explicit instruction on how to create a summary.

 

Materials:

·        Teacher and class copies of "Your Amazing Brain"

·        Paper and pencils for each child

Procedures:

 

1. Say: "Today, we are going to be learning about summaries. Does anyone know what a summary is? A summary is a short explanation that contains the important facts of a passage that you have just read. You can use a summarization to let others know what you have just read using only a few sentences."

 

2. Say: "Before we start summarizing, let's review some vocabulary. Does anyone remember what a neuron is? It is a very small cell that relays information to your brain. Who remembers what microscopic means? That’s right! It means something very, very small.”

 

3. Say: "We use summarizing to remember only the important parts of a passage we've read. Sometimes, there is of information that we don't need, so we summarize to only remember the important parts. To summarize, we need to learn how to find the important details, delete unnecessary ones, and make a summary sentence out of them."

 

4. Say: "We are going to read an article about your brain! Your brain does amazing things, and it works in crazy ways! However, in order to learn what we need from this article, we need to summarize it. We'll do the first paragraph together:

 

"You carry around a three-pound mass of wrinkly material in your head that controls every single thing you will ever do. From enabling you to think, learn, create, and feel emotions to controlling every blink, breath, and heartbeat—this fantastic control center is your brain. It is a structure so amazing that a famous scientist once called it 'the most complex thing we have yet discovered in our universe.'"

 

Now, let's look at each sentence to decide if it's important or not important. [Have text on document camera] We'll cross out unimportant details.

 

"You carry around a three-pound mass of wrinkly material in your head that controls every single thing you will ever do. From enabling you to think, learn, create, and feel emotions to controlling every blink, breath, and heartbeat—this fantastic control center is your brain. It is a structure so amazing that a famous scientist once called it 'the most complex thing we have yet discovered in our universe.'"

 

The fact that the brain is three pounds is trivia; it is not vital for us to remember. We also don't need to know all of the specific things the brain does; we just need to know that it controls everything. So, that leaves us just a few things: it's in your head, it controls everything, and it's your brain. So, we need to make a topic sentence out of that. How about, "There is a thing in your head called your brain that controls everything."

 

5. Say: "Now I want you to finish reading the rest of the article and summarize each paragraph. On your printout, cross out the parts like we did and write your topic sentences on a separate piece of paper. Then, at the end, you'll have just a few sentences that summarize an entire article!"

 

6. Assessment: I will go around observing children's work. I will make sure they are using the steps we discussed to cross out the unimportant details. I will also have them turn in their paper with their topic sentences to make sure they are summarizing well.

 

References:

 

"Your Amazing Brain" National Geographic Kids

http://kids.nationalgeographic.com/kids/stories/spacescience/brain/

 

"Sophisticated Summarizers" by Katie Bolander

http://auburn.edu/~ksb0009/BolanderRL.htm

 

 

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