Teaching summarization can be like packing for a week-long vacation to a place where you will have many different activities planned. You want to include your bathing suit, that cute jumpsuit you bought, and your tennis shoes for the hike that is planned, along with hair products, makeup, and your curling iron. When it comes time to load all these things in your suitcase, it just doesn’t fit.
Kids do the same thing when they are taught to summarize; they want to include all the things, that funny part of the story, EVERY single character that was mentioned, and a very lengthy resolution. When all the information is added to a summary, it goes from what should be a short paragraph to a detailed paraphrase. Teaching this reading skill doesn’t have to be difficult when you show kids how to get straight to the point. Here are 5 simple steps to make teaching summary easy!
Make teaching summary easy!
This product has multiple ways to show kids how to write a summary. Have students identify the problem, main (important characters), and major events, including the climax and resolution, with these funny and short stories. Grab a FREE printable preview of the ➤ summary foldable. This project includes a sentence strip activity, a foldable style note, worksheets, and rubrics.
Short mini-lessons to teach summary for the week
Teaching summary can’t be taught in a day. It is a reading skill that takes time to understand and build on. You might want to spend a week focused on teaching writing summaries to readers. Below is an example of ways to incorporate the lesson each day.
Mini-lessons to teach summary each day of the week:
- (Monday) Read aloud a short classroom favorite picture book (it can be one you read before).
- (Tuesday) Using the read-aloud book, have students in partners or whole groups identify the problem, main (important characters), and major events, including the climax and resolution.
- (Wednesday) Complete the sentence strip activity using the read-aloud to give students an example of expectations.
- (Thursday) Have students read one of the stories in the summary resource or other provided texts. Give students the sentence strip activity to complete independently or in a group.
- (Friday) Complete the foldable summary trifold for a grade using the rubric included.
After spending a week teaching this concept, pull small groups of kids who may need extra practice with this concept and continue to work on the reading skill.
Building the reading skill
Unfortunately, teaching summary is not a one-and-done type of reading skill. This skill must be practiced multiple times to stick with many readers. Come back to the lesson a few times throughout the school year. Here are some ways to incorporate these skills into your lesson plans throughout the school year.
There are plenty of examples inside the summary worksheets resource to use throughout the year, in tutoring, or to send home for extra practice.
Small groups- Pick three or four students to work with you on the skill during the week. Read the story out loud and then discuss the major parts. Then, students returned to their desks to write the major parts of the story on their papers. This is a great way to see if students grasp the reading skill.
Centers– Review the summary rubric with kids and place an example inside the center to review expectations for writing a summary. Then, place a worksheet in the center. Have students complete throughout the week. By the end of the week, have students turn in their summary writing for a grade.
Early finishers – Have a designated basket in the classroom for early finishers. Have students grab a summary trifold as they finish their work or during independent reading. Again, review the rubric and have students turn in the trifold by the end of the week for a grade.
Sub plans– This is a great activity to have on hand for sub plans. If you have already done the lesson together, the students will be familiar enough with the resource that the sub can give the class with minimal instructions.
If your readers need extra reading practice, click here for a FREE READING COMPREHENSION PASSAGE and join my email list.
When you break down this reading skill into 5 simple steps, it seems manageable to students. You will see this reading skill develop over time. With repetitive practice, the over-packed suitcase becomes just the necessities needed for the trip.
Take some time with this skill and make teaching summarization easy!