"Setting a Purpose to Read" Reading to Summarize

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SWBAT read a text with the purpose of summarizing what they've read.

Big Idea

Students will understand that setting a purpose to read builds deeper understanding of what was read.


10 minutes

To introduce this lesson, we review the importance of setting a purpose to read. I tell students that today's lesson will be about reading with the purpose of summarizing the story. To help us determine how to do this, I tell students they will watch the "Writing a Book Report" segment of Brain Pop Jr. Students watch the segment and we have a discussion on what summarizing is. Together we work as a class to create an anchor chart that outlines summarizing.

Next I ask students what should  we focus on while we're reading in order to summarize what we've read. At the bottom of the chart we list: Things to Look for When Reading

Students came up with the following things to list:

  • Important details about the character
  • Details about the problem, want, or need in the story
  • How the problem was solved or how the need or want was met
  • What the character/s learned or received at the end
  • We might want to remember details about the setting that affect the story's events.
  • Any important events that happen in the story

Students also help explain what it means to summarize.

We also relate summarizing to a movie trailer


Shared Reading/Modeling

15 minutes

This week we use a story from our Basil as an anchor text, so I use this story to model summarizing. Students have background knowledge of the book already because we have been referring to it all week. I re-read the story again and I model how to use the ideas from the anchor text to take notes. Using sticky notes, as was done in the video from Brain Pop Jr., I have students sticky note sections that I feel are important and will help me summarize what we are reading. As we come across something important in the story, we place a sticky note on that section. We use the sticky notes so students are actively engaged in what they are reading. The sticky notes help them mark important things they should be paying attention to. We also use sticky notes because students are not able to write in the books. I also use a note taking sheet I created to help students jot down notes about the story as we go along. 

As I model the conversation goes along with what we are looking for. So I highlight details about the characters actions with students:

  • The character talks to the birds every day. They are his friends, he values what they say
  • The character really wants to farm his own land. He keeps searching fro a way to farm his land until he finds a way
  • The problem is, he does not have any land of his own to grow crops. 
  • He finally gets land from a friend, and works really hard to grow his crops
  • He listens to his friends the birds who give him advice about how to farm well
  • He ends up with a really good crop and land of his own to farm.                                                    

Together we talk about the notes and then work together to word the summary in a way that makes since.

Guided Practice

20 minutes

Working with their leveled text, students work as a group to complete a graphic organizer of the main elements of the plot in their story. As I circulate the room, I remind students to remember to focus on the most important parts of the story. reading only for those parts. Students are encouraged to read back through the story and filling in organizer as they go along. Students enjoy talking with one another during this activity, mainly because they love to talk. What I noticed was, students really utilized their background knowledge of the text, because just like the anchor text, students have been working with this story through out this week. Since our focus was setting a purpose to read for questioning and summarizing this week, it was interesting to walk the room and listen to the students as they discussed their different stories but hear that some of the dialogue was the same. 

Students had to work to present their summary verbally using their notes on their summary note taking sheet.

Share Out

10 minutes

Each group shares their summary as they use their graphic organizer as a guide to their presentation. I encouraged other group members to share their thoughts about the summaries presented and to ask questions about the story. 

Wrap Up

5 minutes

I always feel it is important to have a brief discussion about the focus of lessons each day and so today was no different. We talked shortly about  how setting a purpose to read to summarize helps us pay more attention to our reading instead of just reading. My goal, is for students to be more active in their reading and to know why being an active reader is important. As we brought the discussion to a close, we summarized that reading with the purpose of looking at the most important details, the problem, solution, and characters, helps us summarize or review the key elements of what we've read.