The Key to Unlocking a Perfect Summary
By: Kelly Kerr
The objective of this lesson is to teach readers how to read to learn because the ultimate goal of reading is comprehension. When a student reads for comprehension, they are no longer spending time decoding words; instead, they are focused on understanding the message of the text. One strategy that helps a reader grasp or comprehend the meaning of the text is summarization. This lesson will teach students how to summarize by identify the important ideas and details from the passages they read while learning to eliminate the unnecessary details through modeling, guided practice and individual practice.
1. “Orca Whale” printed articles for each student. (from National Geographic Kids).
2. “The Barred Owl” printed article for each student. https://www.highlightskids.com/audio-story/eye-out-owls.
3. “No Petting The Orangutans, Please.” Printed article for each student. https://www.highlightskids.com/audio-story/no-petting-orangutans-please.
4. Pencil and paper for each student
5. Summarization checklists for each student (at the bottom)
6. Summarization Rules (Make in to a poster)
1. Leave out unimportant information
2. Leave out repeated information
3. Pick out important information
4.Create the topic sentence
1. Say: “Good readers don’t try to remember everything. They use summarization strategies to remember only the important details of a text. So, instead of trying to remember a whole text of words, we summarize to get the main details of a story. Today we going to learn to summarize to we can be expert readers.”
2. Say, “Now we are going to talk about some rules that we need to use to help us when we are writing summaries. Our first step is that we need to delete any information that is unimportant or not needed. Second, we need to read through and delete any information that has been repeated. Thirdly, we need to replace lists of items with easier terms, and come up with a topic sentence to begin our summary of the story. Lastly, we need to order the important events. Remember to look at our poster if make sure you are not forgetting a step to the process. We are going to practice with these rules by reading different paragraphs together about Orca Whales and Barred Owls and then, you are going to practice on your own with an article about Orangutans.”
3. In the article that we are about to read as a class, you might come across some vocabulary that they may not know. For example, the word quantity is the amount or number of a material collected. A new sentence context could be “There was a large quantity of flavors of ice cream to choose from at the ice cream parlor. While you are reading I want you to underline the words that you have never seen before and we will go over them as a class so that everyone can learn these new word. Then, I want everyone to define the words they don’t know and use them in a complete sentence in a different context like I did above.
4. Say, “Ok, now we are going to look at a paragraph together. I will put it on the overhead so that everyone can see it as we read along together. (put paragraph on board) As I am reading this passage, I am going to model how to cross out unimportant details, underline important details and pick out a nice topic sentence. This article is about Orca Whales. Raise your hand if you have heard of Orca Whales. Tell me what you know about them. Good, they are whales that live in the ocean. We are going to read to find out more information about Orca Whales.”
Orcas hunt everything from fish to walruses—seals, sea lions, penguins, squid, sea turtles, sharks, and even other kinds of whales. Depending on the season and where they are, their diet varies—some orcas eat more fishes and squid than seals and penguins. But wherever they are in any of the world's oceans, average-sized orcas may eat about 500 pounds (227 kilograms) of food a day. Orcas have many hunting techniques, and bumping seals off ice is just one of them.
First, I would leave out the third sentence of the passage because the amount of food an orca whale eats a day is a trivial fact that is not important to summarize. Second, we are supposed to leave out repeated information so I would leave out the second sentence because it repeats what prey orca whales eat and gives unimportant information on how their diet varies. Now, we pick out important information to include in our summary. The first sentence contains important information on what whales eat, and the last sentence discusses one of the hunting strategies orcas use to hunt prey. This is what my passage looks like now: Orcas hunt everything from fish to walruses—seals, sea lions, penguins, squid, sea turtles, sharks, and even other kinds of whales. Depending on the season and where they are, their diet varies—some orcas eat more fishes and squid than seals and penguins. But wherever they are in any of the world's oceans, average-sized orcas may eat about 500 pounds (227 kilograms) of food a day. Orcas have many hunting techniques, and bumping seals off ice is just one of them.
5. Say, now I am going to pass out another paragraph and this time, I want you and a peer next to you to work together on summarizing it. Remember to underline, cross out, or replace information. The text is about owls. Who can tell me what they know about owls? Good, they make a 'hoo' noise, they are active at night, and they normally live in trees. Now you and your partner read to find out more.” (Hand out paragraphs to each student.) Go over a good example of a summery of this paragraph as a class once everyone is done to make sure they know what to do when they summarize on their own.
The barred owl is a fairly large bird with deep black eyes. It allows you to get closer than other owls do. But if you happen to be a great horned owl, it won’t stick around very long. It’s been reported that the great horned owl might eat the barred owl! Barred owl are often found in a swampy, wooded area. Luckily, there are no great horned owls around. This spot had been the winter home of a barred owl for many years. The only years it was not seen were those when a great horned owl lived in the area. The fall and winter are great times to look for owls. When leaves are gone from the trees, the owls’ perches are much easier to spot. Keep your eyes open for owls this season.
Questions for students
-What is the main idea?
-What things do I need to circle?
-What can I cross out?
-What are words that I don’t know?
-What are some important details that I need to know?
Summary: Barred owls are bigger and more social than a horned owl, but do not seem to get along very well when both spotted in their most active seasons: winter and fall.
6. Say, “Okay, now that you have practiced with me and a peer it is time for you to try to summarize a paragraph on your own! (Pass out copies of the printed article No Petting the Orangutans, Please. And summarization checklist.) In this article, you will read all about orangutans and how they are an endangered species. Who knows can tell me what they think an endangered species is? Let's read more to find out. After you read the article, I would like you to use the checklist that I have given you to help you write a summary. Remember to look at our summarizing rules poster! When you are done, talk with a buddy next to you and review each other’s work. I will be walking around and checking your progress, as you work, don’t hesitate to ask me questions of you need help!
7. Assessment: To assess students understanding of summarizing I will take up their checklists and summary to see who needs further help. I will call students to my desk if they appear to need more practice with summarizing. I will also ask the students the following comprehension questions:
-Where can you find orangutans?
-How many are left?
-Are the monkeys endangered? If so, why?
- What is the main idea of the paragraph you read?
Example checklist for students:
When summarizing did the student….
Delete unimportant facts? YES or NO
Delete repeated information? YES or NO
Write a topic statement that covers everything that is important from the passage of the text? YES or NO
Write a topic sentence? YES or NO
Write a summery that includes the main idea? YES or NO
Define unknown words? YES or NO
-“Orca Whale.” National Geographic Kids. http://kids.nationalgeographic.com/animals/orca/
Hall, Chelsea. http://cdh0033.wix.com/chelseahall#!reading-to-learn/cwq1
-Mark, Arlene. Highlights Article. 2002. https://www.highlightskids.com/audio-story/no-petting-orangutans-please
-Mrs. Johnson. Summarizing A Whale of A Tale. http://mej0029.wixsite.com/miss-johnson-lesson/learn