Group Size: Any

Time Required: 60 - 90 minutes

Learning Objective: Students will be able to summarize their reading


Student Worksheet (attached)
Exit Slips (attached)
The True Story of the Three Little Pigs by Jon Scieszka
Sticky Notes for coding the text

Do Now: (Students (S) will begin by completing the Do Now, which requires them to recount their favorite part of the school day when they were in second grade.  After S have had sufficient time to write, the teacher (T) will facilitate a pair/share.)

Connection: T will say:  My favorite part of elementary school was, not surprisingly, when my teacher would read us stories. We brought our pillows and stuffed animals with us to the rug, and we just snuggled up and listened.  

Today we're going to recreate a little bit of that magic.  While I am well aware that you are in middle school, I am certain that you are never too old for a good read.  

That said, of course you know that this relates to our learning goal for today. While I'm reading to you, I'm going to stop and occasionally summarize what I've read. Then I'm going to turn it over to you and ask you to summarize what you've heard. 

Direct Instruction / Guided Practice: (T will begin by solicit students' prior knowledge about the term "summarize." T will write student input on the board.)

Differentiating between topic and central idea can be tricky, but it's a critical non-fiction reading strategy. For our purpose, we'll define topic as "What the passage is mostly about," and we should note that we can almost always state the topic on just a few words. (T will expose the definition on the overhead at this time. S will copy the definition onto their notes.  T will then record the definition on the board and direct S to record the definition on their notes.)

Summarize - To retell only the most important parts

Summarizing is an important metacognitive strategy, which means that it's an important strategy to use as we continue to think about our thinking. I say this because, if you occasionally stop to summarize what you're reading either in your head or perhaps in a journal or notebook, you'll be better equipped to realize when your understanding breaks down. If you're trying to summarize, and suddenly you think to yourself, "Hmm... Actually, I can't really say what the most important parts are," then you know that you have a problem!

Summarizing is also related to what we have been focusing on this week.  All week, we have been trying to identify topic, central idea and details and to determine important information from less important information.  How might this be related to summarizing?  (Take S responses and tease out any misconceptions.)

(If you are equipped with a classroom library, you may wish to ask S to gather in the library at this time.  They will need to come equipped with writing utensils and their notes for the day.)

The story I'm going to share with you today is a work of fiction, unlike the articles we have been reading all week.  It also happens to have nothing whatsoever to do with the Great Depression.  Hopefully you don't mind a break from the thematic readings, because this story is one of my favorites, and I'm very excited to share it with you. It's called The True Story of the Three Little Pigs, and its by Jon Scieszka. So get comfortable, put your thinking caps on, and let's get started. Just so that we're all clear, of course, you are silent as I'm reading because it's important for everyone to be able to listen, and your eyes should be on me, not on each other or on your papers.


(After "...sneeze and a cup of sugar.") I'm going to stop here to summarize. Listen. The wolf said that the real story of the three little pigs is about a sneeze and a cup of sugar. Although we read four pages, that's the most important information. Notice that I didn't talk about how he went on defending his appetite and talking about cheeseburgers. That's not the most important information. In these four pages, the most important information was the introduction of the wolf and the fact that he shared his message, that the real story of the three little pigs is about sugar and a sneeze. Let's move on.  

(Continue reading. Stop after the wolf eats the first pig.) Ready? While the wolf is trying to borrow a cup of sugar from the first little pig, he sneezes and accidentally blows the pig's house down. The pig is already dead, so he eats it. Notice that I didn't mention that the wolf thought the pig was dumb, and I didn't tell you exactly what the wolf said as he was knocking on the door. And I didn't say how he was huffing and snuffing. I just got right to the point, because the most important information is what the wolf did: try to borrow sugar, sneeze the house down, and eat the pig.

It's your turn to try it. I'm going to continue reading, and when I'm done, I'm going to ask you to summarize what you heard. Make sure you're tuned in.

(Read until "Think of it as a second helping.") Alright. Take a moment to jot down what you heard.  You should be writing in your notes where it says "Summary One."

(T will allow time, then ask if anyone would like to hear the passage again to make sure that they didn't miss anything important. If students want to hear it again, re-read.)

Please take a moment to share what you wrote with a partner and to critique what your partner wrote.  (Allow time.)

Who would be willing to share his or her summary? (Take volunteers. Support students in critiquing each others' thinking.)

(Repeat this process through "...granny can sit on a pin")

(Repeat this process once more through the end of the story.)

Link:  Now it's your turn. As you read today, feel free to code the text for connections, important information, confusion, visualizations, and comments. You should also be thinking, however, about how you will summarize what you've read at the conclusion of our reading time.

Independent Practice: (S will read silently.

Since all S should have selected literature circle novels and scheduled meetings with their literature circle groups for this week, small groups of students may be holding their meetings at this time.

T will either hold individual conferences with students to monitor progress and to support individual goal-setting or pull small groups for guided reading / other interventions.

Share: Our time for today is up. Before we share, however, please take some time to write a summary of what you read on your exit slip and to complete the multiple choice question on your exit slip. (T will distribute exit slips and allow 5 minutes for students to complete them.  T will then collect them and review them in preparation for Monday's class.)

Now please feel free to turn to your partner and share your work for today.

Closing:I hope that this review of summarizing was helpful to you today. Remember, summarizing is retelling only the most important parts of a story or a text, and it's useful because we can usually tell in these shorter retellings whether we've missed something important.

It's time for million dollar question!

1. What does it mean to summarize?

2. This is a challenging one.  How are summarizing and determining importance related?

3. Note to the Instructor: Insert a question here that spirals learning from previous units.

4. Explain the relationship between the "topic" and the "central idea."


Gradual release and pair/share during Introduction to New Material/Guided Practice
Literature circle novels are differentiated by reading level and by choice
Opportunity for small-group work at the conclusion of Introduction to New Material/Guided Practice
Active reading strategy: coding the text
One-on-one Reader's Workshop conference to support individual students and to encourage individual goal-setting
Exit slips identify students who would benefit from additional support 







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