K-12 Teaching and Learning From the UNC School of Education

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Learning outcomes

This activity will enable students to practice critical reading for information and details. The students will create summaries of short sections of the text that they will link into one class summary of the whole text.

Teacher planning

Time required for lesson

45 minutes

Materials/resources

  • pre-cut 1″ x 8 1/2″ paper strips(white or colored)
  • tape, staples with stapler, or glue
  • markers, pens, or some type of writing utensils
  • selected text

Pre-activities

Select and assign a short story, novel, or non-fiction text. Determine if the text is to be read in a large group setting, smaller cooperative group setting, or individually.

Activities

  1. Depending on teacher preference, have the students read the text selection in a group or individually.
  2. Prepare numerous 1″x 8 1/2″ white or colored paper strips.
  3. Tell students that they will be writing a class summary of the text they are reading by dividing the work among the class. Divide students into pairs or small groups. Distribute one title strip and one summary strip to each student or cooperative group of students. Assign each group to read and summarize one small section of the text being read (no longer than 1-2 paragraphs).
  4. On the summary strip, the students should write a sentence or two summarizing the main gist of their section. These sentences should analyze important events or main ideas from the reading selection. Remind students to include events from all parts of their section of text. The events chosen should summarize the text selection.
  5. On the title strip, ask the students to write a short title for their section. They can use chapter titles, headings, or subheadings as their title, or create a more appropriate title.
  6. When all the strips are completed, have the students share and explain their summaries with the class. Then have the students are to tape, staple, or glue them in order on a large sheet of paper to link all group strips into one complete class summary of the text selection.

Assessment

The students are often pleased with their accomplishments. This activity seems to add “zip” to the text. It allows the students to explain and evaluate their reading. The students begin to appreciate details and events from a text. It creates a more critical reader in all students from academically gifted to those below grade level.

Supplemental information

My long range goal is to read an entire novel having each group summarize the events in their assigned chapter. At the completion of all chapters, we will explain each group’s shackle and “link” all the summaries together to form a BIG shackle.

Comments

I have used this activity with short stories, fairy tales, tall tales, myths, legends, narrative poetry, and nonfiction selections in a science textbook. It can easily be adapted to any content area and is grade appropriate for elementary and/or middle school. It is an activity that works well as a group or individually.

I have found that the students prefer to use colored paper. Also, they are easier to read if the students will write vertically down the strip instead of horizontally across.

This is a good tool to have in the event that another student is absent. It makes reviewing the text much easier.

  • Common Core State Standards
    • English Language Arts (2010)
      • Reading: Informational Text

        • Grade 6
          • 6.RIT.2 Determine a central idea of a text and how it is conveyed through particular details; provide a summary of the text distinct from personal opinions or judgments.
        • Grade 7
          • 7.RIT.2 Determine two or more central ideas in a text and analyze their development over the course of the text; provide an objective summary of the text.
        • Grade 8
          • 8.RIT.2 Determine a central idea of a text and analyze its development over the course of the text, including its relationship to supporting ideas; provide an objective summary of the text.

North Carolina curriculum alignment

English Language Arts (2004)

Grade 6

  • Goal 2: The learner will explore and analyze information from a variety of sources.
    • Objective 2.01: Explore informational materials that are read, heard, and/or viewed by:
      • monitoring comprehension for understand of what is read, heard, and/or viewed.
      • studying the characteristics of informational works.
      • restating and summarizing information.
      • determining the importance and accuracy of information.
      • making connections between works, self and related topics/information.
      • comparing and/or contrasting information.
      • drawing inferences and/or conclusions.
      • generating questions.

Grade 7

  • Goal 2: The learner will synthesize and use information from a variety of sources.
    • Objective 2.01: Respond to informational materials that are read, heard, and/or viewed by:
      • monitoring comprehension for understanding of what is read, heard and/or viewed.
      • analyzing the characteristics of informational works.
      • summarizing information.
      • determining the importance of information.
      • making connections to related topics/information.
      • drawing inferences and/or conclusions.
      • generating questions.

Grade 8

  • Goal 2: The learner will use and evaluate information from a variety of sources.
    • Objective 2.01: Analyze and evaluate informational materials that are read, heard, and/or viewed by:
      • monitoring comprehension for understanding of what is read, heard and/or viewed.
      • recognizing the characteristics of informational materials.
      • summarizing information.
      • determining the importance of information.
      • making connections to related topics/information.
      • drawing inferences.
      • generating questions.
      • extending ideas.