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Lesson Plans
Summarizing a Story
3rd–5th Grade
Objectives Objectives
  • Students will listen to or read a story.
  • Students will summarize the story in writing, using sequencing words in their summaries.
Materials Materials Needed

Introduction

Introduction

  1. Provide a copy of the “Found!” reading passage to each student.
  2. Display the passage on a projector or chart paper. Read the passage aloud and encourage students to read along with you.
  3. Tell students that you are going to demonstrate how to summarize the passage. Explain that you will break it down into three parts, describing what happens at the beginning, middle, and end.
  4. As you summarize aloud, underline important parts of the story and have students help you determine which events happen first, next, and last. For example, underline the first three sentences and say, “Robby found a wallet full of money that he could use to buy lots of things he wanted. Can anyone point to the sentence that tells what happens next?” (Answer: Suddenly, Robby saw that the wallet had a driverís license in it with someoneís name and address.) Underline this sentence and offer a short summary, such as, “Robby found out whom the wallet and money belonged to.” Then ask, “In which sentence can we read about what Robby does at the end of the story?” (Answer: Robby wanted to be a good citizen, so he decided to return the wallet and the money.) Draw a line under the last sentence and say, “Robby decides to return the wallet to its owner.”
  5. Go over the three parts again so that the summary is very clear: “First, Robby found a wallet with money in it that he wanted to spend. Next, he found a name and address in the wallet. Last, Robby decides to return the wallet and money to its owner.”
  6. Invite students to ask questions about the process as you check for understanding.

Procedure

Procedure

  1. Tell students you would like them to practice summarizing with a partner.
  2. Provide a copy of the “First Snow” reading passage to each student.
  3. Instruct students to read the passage together and then take turns summarizing the story aloud. Instruct them to summarize the story in three sentences. Review the use of transition and sequencing words such as “first,” “next,” and “last.”
  4. Invite students to share their summaries with the class. For example, a student might say, “First, Maria woke up and saw that there was snow on the ground. Next, she went downstairs and saw her little brother getting ready to go out in the snow. Last, she put on her own snow gear and they went outside to play.” Accept all reasonable answers and guide students in eliminating unnecessary information.
  5. Write a few of the summaries on chart paper. Point out that a summary is shorter than the actual story but still tells the basic points in order.

Independent Practice

Independent Practice

  1. Have students select a story they are currently reading independently or in class.
  2. Give each student a copy of the “Summarize a Story” reproducible and have them follow the steps to summarize their selected story in five parts. (If students are reading a longer book, you may want to prompt them to choose a chapter or short passage to summarize.)

the 3rd–5th grade lesson plan. (Includes all printable materials.)
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