Summarizing Intro/Practice

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  • CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.RL.7.2  Determine a theme or central idea of a text and analyze its development over the course of the text; provide an objective summary of the text.
  • CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.RL.8.2  Determine a theme or central idea of a text and analyze its development over the course of the text, including its relationship to the characters, setting, and plot; provide an objective summary of the text.


Students will be able to provide a concise, objective summary of a text and use it to help them identify the theme or central idea of the text.

Essential Question(s):

Why is it important to be able to write a summary?  How does summarizing help us identify the theme or central idea of a text?


  • Smartboard
  • Word Cloud generator and document
  • Short passages to summarize



DO NOW: As students enter the classroom, have them access the short passage via Classroom and use the word cloud generator to record keywords and phrases.

Examine the word cloud as a class.  What words were most commonly added?  Can students construct a sentence or two using the keywords to create a summary of the passage?  Share out.

Explain that today we will be working on summarizing.  Ask students why this might be an important skill?  Some answers might be:

  • It helps us identify important content versus irrelevant information
  • It helps us understand the text
  • It helps us see what is or isn’t included in the text
  • It helps us share information quickly and concisely
  • It helps us identify themes or central ideas
  • It helps us be objective
  • It helps us prepare for analysis/deeper thinking
  • It helps us prepare to write longer essays


Mini Lesson: As a class, read another short passage.  Model thought process involved in writing a summary.  What information should be included in a summary?  What should be excluded (opinion, lots of detail, interpretation)?  The following questions might be answered:

  • Who or what is the passage about?
  • What is the most important thing the who or what is doing?
  • What challenge or issue does the who or what face?
  • How is the challenge or issue addressed?
  • What is the final outcome?

Activities: Provide small groups or individuals with another short passage and ask them to write a summary.  As a challenge activity, students can try to write a summary of 140 characters or less or a summary of only 17 words.  Have groups/individuals share out.

Ask students to share how they formulated their summaries.  What did they find helpful?  What was difficult?

Explain that summaries often contain clues to the theme or main idea of the text.  Students should look for the man challenge, issue, or conflict that was addressed and how it was solved.  What lesson was learned?  Students should go back to their summaries and try to identify the theme or main idea.  Share out.


EXIT SLIP: Ask students to list one thing they learned and one question they have about summarizing.



Formative: Compare initiation summaries to group summaries.  Review exit slip answers.

Summative: N/A 


Provide students with guiding questions and/or graphic organizers.


Provide students with a short news article with the headline removed.  Ask students to create a headline that summarizes (in as few words as possible) the article.  Students can also produce “window quotes” that could be added to the article.  Provide examples.

Ask students to write summary “tweets” about the book they are currently reading.  Summaries should be 140 characters or less.

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