Seems simple, RIGHT? Read a chapter, write a summary…
Our students see this a lot, whether it be on our reading assessments, in our own classroom work, or on our state assessments.
Bottom line, we want our kids to be proficient (and feel confident) in taking out the important elements from a piece of text, both fiction and non-fiction. We want our zealous little readers to be able to get at the heart of the matter when writing summaries, and we want them to be able to do it in as few words as possible.
Unfortunately, we sometimes forget that our students need to be taught “HOW” to break down a larger piece of text into a short, brief, to the point summary.
Obviously, since the whole problem-solution narrative format tends to be the easiest, I figured this would be a great place to start.
Lastly, we agreed on the solution to the problem or the outcome as the Then.
In addition to practicing with the above mentor texts, we also practiced with differentiated passages from my Summarizing: Differentiated Reading Passages and Questions found HERE.
Having differentiated passages ready to go at three different levels has been so helpful to master this skill.
I got a few, THAT’S IT? and WHERE HAS THIS BEEN ALL MY LIFE! comments. I was cracking up. Unfortunately, my friends, this is just the beginning.
Questions I asked my readers today: What happens when the author does not use the format of problem-solution? What about when an author doesn’t present the information in the exact order that the graphic organizer is laid out? What happens when the author doesn’t come out and neatly provide the reader with any of the above information but instead uses figurative language or forces the reader to infer things like problems and solutions?
The above questions will be our next feat to tackle! But, until then, we are practicing, practicing, and practicing some more!
What are some tips and tricks you use for teaching higher level summary writing and non-fiction summary writing?
In addition to using the Someone, Wanted, But, So, Then strategy, I also guide students to dig a bit deeper with their reading in my Summarizing: Differentiated Reading Passages and Questions. The goal of this resource is to help students sharpen their ability to summarize. It provides students with a practical process that initially guides them to relevant information from the text using the Someone, Wanted, But, So, Then strategy in a graphic organizer. I also ask them to read a summary and identify different issues (irrelevant details, opinions, not enough information, retelling events out of order, etc.) Once students progress through this resource and become familiar with the summary-writing process, I remove the use of a graphic organizer and ask them to write their own summaries. Additionally, they are asked to make increasingly-detailed critiques of other summaries to identify issues and explain how to improve the summary. You can see the entire resource by clicking HERE or the button below.
This resource is now included in a large bundle with over 300 differentiated passages. Click HEREor the button below to check it out!
This bundle includes 20 total resources – 10 Informational Text and 10 Fiction Differentiated Passages and Questions. ClickHERE or the button below.