What's Up With Wemberly

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SWBAT summarize a story using their own words

Big Idea

Wemberly Worried gets broken into beginning, middle, and end and summarized


5 minutes
We are going to be practicing summarizing. It is important for students to learn how to take a part of a text pull out what is most important. Summarizing shows deeper understanding of the story. It shows that a student can comprehend what a reader needs to know and understand in the parts of the text. Learning to summarize in first grade builds comprehension and will better prepare them for future grade level work.

As I read the story, my students and I say what we're doing while simultaneously performing a hand gesture. For "stop," we hold our hand up. We point to our big brains while saying "think about the story," and we cup our hands around our mouth for "say it on your own words." These motions will have all students engaged in the task.

Guided Practice

20 minutes

Students must learn that summaries include the most important details of a story. I am going to read Wemberly Worried. I break the story into sections for students to summarize. As we summarize we record our details on the beginning, middle, and end chart (I have included one in the resource section.)

  • Read through p. 16 and stop. Ask students to summarize what has happened up to this point in the story. (This is the beginning.)
  • Read p. 17 – p. 22 and stop. Ask students to summarize what happened during this section of the text. (This is the middle.)
  • Read p. 23 – end of story. Ask students to summarize what happened during this section of the text. (This is the end.)

Then, we read all three parts together to represent their total summary of the story.

Although this is heavily scaffolded (I have given students the different parts to summarize and we are using a very familiar read aloud), I did teach this lesson in the beginning of the year. My hope is that this will lay the foundation for students to, later, use this practice and apply summarizing to new texts with rich, complex story lines.

Independent Practice

10 minutes

Students will use a story from our basal that is on their reading level to summarize the beginning, middle, and end of their story. I want them to stop after the beginning and summarize. This will help them be able to pick out the important information from that part of the story. They are still learning how to use their own words and choose the most important information. So stopping forces them to focus on one section of the story at a time. As they work I see students practicing the hand motions I taught them.

Here are some student work samples and my analysis of the student work:


5 minutes

As a closing activity, we review our hand gestures to help us summarize.



Retell the important information using our own words.