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Rachel Jennings REED 663 Dr. Pitcher December 2010.

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1 Rachel Jennings REED 663 Dr. Pitcher December 2010

2  Summarizing is a comprehension skill to evaluate a reader’s understanding of a text. To summarize, readers must recognize the most important information and restate it in their own words. Young students understand that this skill involves the retelling of a story, but often have difficulties identifying the main ideas that need to be included and frequently include unnecessary details. Students can summarize a text through writing, conversation, or pictures.  As students’ summarizing skills improve, they are then able to synthesize information by using what they have learned and combining this new information with their own thinking. This allows them to increase cognitive skills and to think from new perspectives. Students then understand the text without just recalling facts and are able to make sense of the information. Harvey, S. & Goudvis, A. (2007) Strategies That Work: Teaching Comprehension for Understanding and Engagement. York, ME: Stenhouse Publishers.

3  The purpose of this project was to develop a way to teach summarizing to a class of sixth graders. This class consisted of 29 students on various reading levels. This was the first formal lesson taught on summarizing, although this skill has been taught in other content areas and in previous years.

4  VSC: 2.A.4.d- Summarize or paraphrase  Objective: Students will be able to identify important ideas in order to summarize text.  Students will create a “thinking sheet” with two columns labeled “what is important” and “what is interesting.” Students will use this information to summarize sections of the text.  Two Column Think Sheet

5  Students will be reading “The Trouble Making Crow” out of their Scott Foresman anthology. This story is an excerpt taken from Jean Craighead George’s novel The Tarantula in My Purse. It is about the author’s own experiences with crows as pets. Jean Craighead George shares her stories about two pet crows and reveals what she learns about their behavior.

6  Day One:  Students are introduced to the story, “The Trouble-Making Crow” and students were given instruction on vocabulary and provided with necessary background knowledge.  Students then discussed what it means to summarize. Some of their responses were: ▪ “Summarizing is telling the story over again.” ▪ “Summarizing is rewriting important information.” ▪ “We use summarizing in our World Cultures Class to review what we learned about Latin America.”

7  Day One:  Through a think aloud, I modeled how to distinguish between what is important and what is interesting. I recorded these ideas on a Two Column Thinking Chart on the overhead.  At the end of the period, I modeled how to use this information to summarize what was read.

8  Day Two:  As a class we reviewed what was done the previous day.  Students were then paired with another student to continue reading and identify “what is important” and “what is interesting” on their two column note-taking sheet.  As students worked with their partners I walked around and monitored students’ comprehension.

9  Day Two:  At the end of the period, students received their “Exit Assignment.” Students were asked to complete a brief summary of the days reading. They were asked to include important details from their notes.  Students’ work was collected and assessed. I noticed that students had many “interesting facts” but they included several irrelevant details in their “what is important” column. This seemed to make their summaries overly detailed.


11  Day Three:  I pulled a small group of students to work with based on their work the previous day. The students that I pulled needed extra support identifying the most important details. As I worked with the small group, I modeled the strategy through another think aloud and gradually had them work independently.  A group of students, based on their reading ability and special education accommodations, completed the story at the listening station.

12  Day Three:  As a result of the students’ work the previous day, I modified the lesson by creating a guided reading with a two column note-taking sheet. The columns were still labeled “what is important” and “what is interesting.”  Students were asked to finish reading the story independently and complete the note-taking sheet.  The students final assessment was to summarize a portion of the text. These were collected and then reviewed at the end of class.



15  I have the opportunity to co-plan with another 6 th Grade Reading Teacher. We both noticed the difficulty that students were having when identifying important details with a partner. This is why I created a Guided Reading.  The other teacher said that the extra support helped her students identify the important details and they were able to successfully summarize the text.



18  I have noticed that the students in my 6 th grade class still need practice distinguishing between important details and interesting details. I will continue to review and practice this skill with various stories throughout the year. Given more opportunities to practice, students will be more successful in creating summaries. I would encourage other teachers to have students identify main ideas and supporting details when providing students with a reading.

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