Let's Sum it Up! Summarizing Nonfiction Text Day 1

114 teachers like this lesson
Print Lesson


SWBAT using summary frames to summarize the different nonfiction texts

Big Idea

Summarizing goes beyond the 5 Ws. Once we know these structures, we should be able to summarize with them in mind.


Over the next two days we'll be learning how to summarize nonfiction text by using the text structures. I like using structure summary frames to help the kids get all of the information into their summaries. We tell them that knowing the structures help them become better readers, so now is the time to put the theory to the test. The kids should be able to use their knowledge of the structures to summarize without depending on Who, What, When, Where, Why and How. Although that strategy works for some kids, it doesn't fit every kind of nonfiction text. I also like that the kids can apply what we've learned in other parts of reading to a new skill. This helps solidify the lessons I've taught previously. Day 1 will be modeling and guided practice on using the frames. Day 2 will be set aside for students to read a few texts and practice summarizing on their own. 


5 minutes

Just to get the kids thinking about summaries, I'll pose a few quick discussion questions. These kids have been writing summaries for a few years now, so I don't need to do too much to teach what a summary actually is. I'll use their background knowledge to activate the lesson today. 

1s tell your 2s - What is a summary?  2s tell 1s- How do you think a nonfiction summary is different from the fiction summaries we created at the beginning of the year? Be ready to share in about 3 minutes. 

Once they've shared out a few thoughts, I'll quick chat about summaries and lead into the lesson for today. 

A summary is a brief statement or account of the main points of a text. When I want to know what a text is about, I don't want to read the WHOLE thing to get the idea. I want a quick version. In fiction, we used Somebody, Wanted, But, So, Then as a sentence frame to help you get started on summaries. For nonfiction, we'll use sentence frames as well, but they'll be linked to the structures we just learned about. 


30 minutes

I don't usually do modeling twice in a lesson, but today I'll be reading two pieces, modeling my thinking about both, and using the sentence frames to write summaries for both. I wanted to make sure I give the students a good amount of modeling with identifying the text structures and then using the summary frames since this is something completely new. I'll be using a compare and contrast passage from this site compiled by Readwritethink.org. I chose this one to start because it's about killer bees and honey bees, and I figured my kids would like that. They're into "killer" anything right now. I also chose it because it's a compare and contrast article, and since my kids did so well with that structure, I wanted to use it to start a lesson on something new. I like the kids to feel confident when we start off so that can be more engaged. Sometimes when I give them something new and difficult, they shut down a little. The next passage I'm going to use will be a sequence structure because some of my students thought that structure was descriptive in previous formative assessments, so I want to keep pulling that back in to keep them exposed to the skills. I like the Jane Goodall passage because I know the kids will think the passage is description when, in fact, it's sequence. 

As I'm modeling using the summarizing sentence frames, I'm also going to take the opportunity to review text structures by thinking aloud about key words and ideas while reading. The compare and contrast read aloud will be obvious, but it's still important to me to let the kids "see" what I'm thinking. The Jane Goodall modeling is where I really need to place emphasis. I know kids will say it's description because it's "describing Jane Goodall." The text is telling the progression of her work with chimps. I need to specify the key words in this text to point out why it's not descriptive. 

Once I've completed the read alouds, I'll move onto the nonfiction summary frames.  I created this after looking at quite a few on the internet. Some that I found were too restrictive for longer texts when I used them in the past. Others were too wordy for my kids to remember. Feel free to modify this for your own needs.  The point of the summary frames are to give the kiddos a guide to use and then slowly pull them away so that the kids can try the summaries on their own. I've allowed my students who struggle with reading to use these longer since it's a lot to remember. 

I do like to type them when I'm modeling with the kids so that I can change my spacing when necessary, but I've also just written it out on the SMART board or document projector. The bees summary was pretty easy to write with the frames. The Jane summary frame required some combining of main ideas from a few paragraphs, but worked pretty well. 

Guided Practice

15 minutes

At this point, I'll let the students work in pairs to read a few passages and try the summary frames out. I'm only going to give them a cause and effectdescription, and problem and solution to finish out the summary frames and let them see how each one works. I'm not going to pull a small group today because I want to be able to help any student who needs me, and the students who generally struggle will be able to hear the conversation happening in each table group. I'm also not too worried about the passages I chose being difficult to read. The lexiles range from 1000- 1050, which is on level for our 5th graders. 

Read the passage you've been given. To make things easy, I've selected passages that have different text structures than the ones we just did. You will read with your table group, using your color coding to find clue words that hint at the structure being used. Once you all agree on the structure, you'll try out using the sentence frame to create a short summary. You may modify the sentence frame slightly to fit your ideas. If any group finishes early, you may type your responses for me. 

I don't think the kids will struggle with this too much today. If anything, I think they'll need the most help with making the summary frames work for them. The passages I chose are pretty easy to identify the structure and the kids know they only have three left to choose from since we did sequence and compare/contrast together.  I let the students who finish early get some typing practice because they don't get much of it otherwise. My state has adopted the Smarter Balanced test, and whether it happens or not, I'd rather the kiddos be ready for the typing requirements that are coming. 



10 minutes

To wrap up today, I'll just have some students share their summary frames. I grabbed a typed version from one of my groups that finished quickly. I just save the template on our shared drive so they can do some typing if they finish up before other groups. The reading and summary creation will take some time, so I planned a quick wrap up. Tomorrow I want to let them try out some pieces that may have multiple sections and structures since this is more like the passages they'll see on standardized assessments and in everyday reading like the newspaper and textbooks. Most of what the kids are reading on the internet is also multi-structured. It's rare that we read a longer text that is only written in one structure.