Teaching Reading in the Content Areas using Summarizing

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I've been going back to school to earn my Reading Teacher license.  The class I am currently taking is Teaching Reading in the Content Areas.  This class has been full of great techniques that can be used for many grade levels.  I of course adapted them to fit my first grade class.

We are using 2 wonderful books.  I especially recommend: Strategies to Engage the Mind of the Learner by Rachel Billmeyer.

Strategic Reading in the Content Areas also by Rachel Billmeyer.

The skill and technique I'm going to share with you is summarizing!

Summarizing: to put the author's words and ideas into your own words and to hit upon the key points of the text in a shorter form.

Many students want to re-list everything they wrote about step by step and do not always focus on what the key details were.  This requires higher levels of thinking.

I chose to use our Scholastic News magazine to work on the strategy of Window Pane or Window Notes.  I used the March Issue on Spring Weather along with the digital version that includes videos. Adding questions to the form below helped the class to organize their thoughts about the article and look for key points.
Click on the Spring Singers for a sample of the Scholastic News.  You could try this strategy as a whole group.  Then move onto partners and then independently.  This is how I started out to get them to be able to complete this strategy independently.

Rules for Summarizing:
1) Include only the important information.
2) Combine ideas when writing the summary.  This was very challenging for the firsties.
3) Add connective words (and, but, or)
4) Use a category term instead of a list of words (Animals instead of birds, bugs, squirrels)

Summaries Do Not Include:
1) Your opinion.
2) Text copied directly.
3) What you think or feel the author should have said.

After they wrote their notes they were able to use it to write their full summary.  The class did a great job for using summarizing for the first time independently.  I wish I remembered to take pictures of their summaries!  You would have been impressed!

1) Add the categories to the boxes rather than the student coming up with it.
2) Let the student add drawings to the boxes.
3) Use a larger sheet of paper divided into 4 boxes.
4) Use this as an assessment tool.

Click below to get your own blank Window Notes and Summary Paper to try it out with your class.  Let me know how it goes,  

Our class is asking us to share this with fellow teachers and get their feedback!  If you would be willing to fill out the form below and email it to me at lorimoldenhauer@gmail.com I would greatly appreciate it.

You might also like these graphic organizers from Scholastic.

For fiction I used a main idea sheet that I found on Teachers pay Teachers.  This is a free download from Where the Wild Things Are.  Thank you!

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