How to Summarize a Selection

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5th Grade

/Summarize Main Idea


Summarize the main ideas and supporting details Summarize stated and implied themes Identify the main incidents of a plot sequence and explain how they influence future action Clarify steps in a set of instructions or procedures for proper sequencing and completeness and revise if necessary Summarize the information in texts, recognizing that there may be several important ideas rather than just one main idea and identifying details that support each List questions and search for answers within the text to construct meaning Distinguish relevant from irrelevant information in a text and identify possible points of confusion for the reader

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What Students Need to Know:
• • • main idea supporting details theme • • • • • • stated implied

What Students Need to be Able to Do:
• • summarize (main ideas/supporting details; theme) identify (plot sequence, details that support important ideas, possible points of confusion to reader) explain (incidents in plot sequence influence future actions) clarify (instructions) revise (instructions) recognize (several important ideas, not just one) list (questions) search (for answers) distinguish (relevant from irrelevant information)

plot sequence instructions procedures information • • relevant irrelevant

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questions answers meaning points of confusion proper sequencing completeness

Important Vocabulary
Main idea—The gist of a passage; the central thought; the chief topic of a passage expressed or implied in a word or phrase; the topic sentence of a paragraph; a statement in sentence form which gives the stated or implied major topic of a passage and the specific way in which the passage is limited in content or reference. Theme—A topic of discussion or writing; a major idea or proposition broad enough to cover the entire scope of a literary work or work of art. Note: A theme may be stated or implied, but clues to it may be found in the ideas that are given special prominence or tend to recur in a work. Plot—The careful sequencing of events in a story generally built around a conflict. Stages of plot includes exposition (background), rising action, climax, falling action and denouement (resolution).

main idea/summarizing
All of the indicators that have been grouped together into the Summarizing power standard require the reader to determine what’s important in their reading. Whether students are asked to summarize the main idea and supporting details, retell the plot sequence in a piece of fiction, identify a theme, ask questions which may be answered by a piece of text, or sequence the events, they must be able to determine the important parts of the text. The ability to decide what’s important is perhaps one of the most important strategies that readers must have. It is also one of the most difficult to teach. In order for students to truly be proficient at these indicators, they will need repeated exposure using a variety of types of texts. Much modeling will be necessary before expecting students to participate in determining what’s important. After introducing the strategy through a read aloud and/or mini-lesson, follow-up with students during guided reading. This will provide students an opportunity to practice finding the important parts of a text while they are reading a selection at their level. In fact, at first, consider using an easier text. If you Remember that summarizing are expecting students to attend to what’s important in the text, they should not have to concentrate on decoding that is an in-the-head strategy. text. The purpose is to help the Readers constantly extract information from a text and acreader comprehend the text. cumulate that extracted information in summary form. Summarizing does not mean simply that readers can “sum up” a text afterward, although that is part of the skill. It means that readers are remembering the text in “put together”...
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