Summarizing Teacher Resources

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Learning to summarize texts takes practice. Jump into the training ring and guide your learners through a summarizing practice session. The classic direct instructional practice of "I do, you do, we do" is used to help them identify key words or ideas which will be used to create accurate summaries. As they summarize the text, they create hand motions for each key word or point, they put them all together to make a gestural movement that represents the logical order of their summary.
As a summative assessment for this unit on colonial trade, fourth graders listen to and read informational texts in order to demonstrate their ability to take notes, write summaries, and draw connections. Young scholars first listen as the teacher reads aloud a text about a New York merchant, taking categorized notes on the information they hear. Next, students independently read a piece of writing about shipbuilders, once again taking notes using the provided graphic organizer. Finally, they use their notes to answer multiple choice questions, write a summary about shipbuilders, and write a paragraph describing the interdependence of these two trades. The lesson provides a complete assessment of the listening, reading, and writing skills developed by pupils during the course of this research-based unit.    
In lesson 13 of this unit on colonial trade, young researchers learn about apprentices as they prepare to write help-wanted ads for the specific trade they have been researching. To begin, the class listens closely as the teacher reads aloud an informational text on apprentices while working in small groups to take notes on the information they hear. Using their notes, learners then write a summary paragraph about apprentices in colonial times. Finally, pupils participate in guided practice where the teacher models how to fill in a graphic organizer that helps plan out the help-wanted ad they will be writing in the next lesson. A great resource that uses the concept of apprenticeship to engage young scholars as they learn how to use their research in creating a piece of expository writing. 
Headlines from newspapers launch a discussion of image-rich, meaty words. Just as headline writers choose vivid vocabulary to attract readers, young writers develop headlines that capture the essence of a passage from a book they are reading. The focus here is on the words that create a compelling summary of a text.
Students can learn how to write summaries with the help of graphic organizers, and summarization lessons.
Young scholars watch a video of how squirrels are rehabilitated back into nature and summarize it. They watch the video twice, paying close attention to detail. Before summarizing, they check their notes for important details and fill out a graphic organizer. A good exercise for reinforcing summarizing skills. All materials are included here. 
Guide young readers in their practice of summarizing literature by creating, in groups, a summary of the relevant details in The Ant and the Cricket. Learners practice independently with The Legend of William Tell Aloud and Rumpelstiltskin. A worksheet is referenced but not included.
Learning to differentiate major and minor textual events can help students learn how to summarize.
Seventh graders write a few sentences explaining the most important events of their lives during the past year. As a class, they discuss why they chose the elements they did for their sentences. To end the lesson, they read a variety of stories and summarize the plot in one paragraph.
Suggested to accompany a class reading of The Great Gatsby, this plan begins with a discussion emphasizing the reputation of Vanderbilt University. Then, after the class has a working knowledge of the wealth associated with the school, they read "The Fallacy of Success" by G.K. Chesterton. As they read, they stop to summarize paragraphs and discuss their observations with a peer. To wrap it up, they choose two claims that Chesterton makes and write a paragraph explaining the development of these claims throughout the text. 
Stuart Little is a great book and summarizing is a very important skill our students need to learn. After completing the book Stuart Little, 4th graders summarize the book by drawing images and creating a podcast. This lesson plan addresses both technology and Language Arts standards.
Students watch a video and write a summary about a symbolic totem pole. In this symbolism lesson plan, students discuss the components of summarizing and watch a video about a totem pole. Students write a summary of the video and discuss the symbolism elements. Students complete a symbolism worksheet and a levels of meaning reflection worksheet.
Students read the newspaper.  In this newspaper lesson, students become familiar with the various parts of a newspaper. They read specific parts, highlight important information and summarize what they read. 
Upper graders recognize and hone the skills needed to complete a valuable summary. They complete a group summary, and then reread their summaries to find the main idea and supporting details. They put practice to the test as they summarize another article on their own.
Authors, particularly authors of articles and other informational texts, organize their ideas into sections or chunks. Often, pupils will rush through a text or scan over it without really taking any of it in. Readers can deepen their understanding of a text by reading, pausing, and summarizing each section. The video effectively models how to pause, think about the chunk of reading, and then compose a succinct summary. Show the video to begin the summarizing process, and then continue summarizing the remaining sections as a class or in small groups. While the video focuses on a particular article, the strategy could be used for any article. Take a look at the excellent additional materials for more ideas.
Fourth graders listen as the teacher reads the story "The Fall of Freddie the Bat." Using a worksheet, they identify the main event of the story. Students watch as the teacher acts out a mystery nursery rhyme. Students close their eyes when the command "curtain down" is indicated. "Curtain up" is the cue to open their eyes. Students view the freeze frame fairy tale and attempt to summarize the story that they are viewing. Students write the summary using the five main events they identify.
Students work in groups to complete a story map. In this literacy activity based on the story Cloudy With a Chance of Meatballs, students work cooperatively to complete a storymap. Students then share and create a summary putting their group work together. Students study vocabulary of exaggerated language used in the story. students draw pictures to illustrate parts of the book.
Everyone loves learning about the solar system. Learners choose a planet to do research on and are evaluated on a precise summary of the planet they chose. They work in small groups to do this activity and post the summary on This lesson includes resource links and a rubric for grading.
Sixth graders review organizational elements of informational text to locate important ideas. They enhance their skills by writing a simple citation, and evaluate one another's summaries for effectiveness. Several worksheets are included to help your writers create their summary, but the Transition Words and Phrases page is especially helpful. Dozens of transition words are provided for your young learners to select and experiment with. 
Children can learn to analyze expository or informational texts at nearly any age. This scaffolded and scripted resource provides teachers with the support needed to facilitate a thoughtful lesson on summarizing informational text by identifying the main idea through the supporting details. The class works together to identify key details, summarize, and pin point the main idea of several paragraphs.