Summarizing is an important skill for children to develop ...
According to Reading Rockets: Summarizing teaches students how to discern the most important ideas in a text, how to ignore irrelevant information, and how to integrate the central ideas in a meaningful way.
Developing ways to decide which ideas are the most important and which ones are irrelevant takes focused practice.
In Notebook Know-How , Aimee Buckner connects one's ability to summarize the story with the comprehension level of the story. She shares how teaching her students to ask simple questions helps them be able to summarize just about anything.
Here are the questions she uses:
- Who? (Who is the character?)
- Wants What? (What does the character want in the story?)
- But? (What is the problem? What gets in the way of the character getting what she or he wants?)
- So? (So, what does the character do to solve the problem?)
- Then? (And then what happens? What's the wrap-up? How does the reader know the character moves on?)
Do you think those questions would help your students?
You could pick a book on Big Universe to either share with the class as a whole or to assign to students to read independently, and then have them provide answers to these 5 questions.
The answers to those questions could provide a solid paragraph summary that could give you another form of assessment.