Teaching students to summarize can be daunting…unless you take it back to early literacy.
Early readers and writers can do so much more than we think…if we support them. One of the units our K-2 teachers must teach whole group is summarizing.
This is especially hard with early learners because they don’t necessarily attach a value to parts of a story; meaning they aren’t sure what is important or note-worthy. Students tend to either give too much or too little when summarizing.
I blogged previously about using the Somebody…Wanted…But…So…And… (SWBSA) technique to teach summary. This is absolutely the easiest way to teach this skill.
summarize – Nursery Rhymes to Start
Unfortunately, too many students haven’t heard many nursery rhymes or fairy tales. Not only can these poems are easily taught and practiced with students, but they can also contain great vocabulary and content.
Using the SWBSA technique and nursery rhymes, students can be confident in creating a tight summary. Using picture cards to tell the rhyme can also help students manipulate the parts of the summary.
Creating an anchor chart with the parts of a summary and using large picture cards, students can work collaboratively to create summaries.
Each nursery rhyme is divided into 5 parts, one representing each of the parts of the summary. Students can be divided into groups of 5 and they can present their summary to the group.
Using the anchor chart to display the pictures, makes a quick connection.
summarize – Moving on to Fairy Tales
Just before the holiday break, we were reading a Chinese Cinderella story in one of our intervention groups and we were shocked at how many students didn’t know the original Cinderella and thought the evil stepmother, the ball, and the missing shoe was a new story.
We certainly had to take a step or two back and change the target for lesson.
That being said, using some traditional stories to help with summaries can be fun. Reading several versions of a classic or fairy tale can not only lead to making connections, but to recognizing similarities in summaries.
Again, using large cards for cooperative learning created success for all.
summarize – Independent Learning
Finally, moving what students have learned collaboratively in whole group and small group lessons can be easily practiced in literacy centers or independent stations. The value in the independent summary sheets are making sure students are telling the summaries to someone before they are complete. They can be matched with a partner or buddy, but they should read their summary to an adult to make sure they summary makes sense.
summarize – Don’t Forget the Paint Chips
One of my favorite things to do with paint chips is make bookmarks for summarizing. What a quick and easy reminder for readers! AND it’s colorful!
If you would like a FREEBIE sample set featuring Humpty Dumpty, click the link.
You may also want to check out a few other blog posts about summarizing:
I also have a full-set of Summarizing for Early Learners in my TPT store. If you are interested, click the link.
The Summarizing Set is also included in the Reading Comprehension BIG BUNDLE, along with 13 other sets.