Summarizing Mini-Lessons

Have you ever summarized a situation to someone and realized you went over every little detail? Honestly, this happens to people all the time! It is hard to know which details to leave out and which are essential to include. This is exactly why students need summarizing mini-lessons! They need time and practice to understand which details are essential to include when providing a summary. Thankfully, I have 5 summarizing mini-lessons just for you! 

summarizing mini-lessons

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Summarizing Mini-Lesson #1

Objective: I can write a summary in exactly 10 words.

If you’re like me, I used to write a summary that was way too long! Then, I realized students were doing the same thing because they weren’t sure what to include. That is exactly why this mini-lesson is perfect for students! Teachers will begin by using a traditional story that students are familiar with, such as Cinderella. I love to find a one-page printable of the story outline. If I can’t find one, I will even write one myself. Then, the teacher models reading through the story and underlining essential pieces, such as the story elements. After reading and underlining, the teacher models using the underlined information to write a 10-word summary. After modeling together, students can try a different text. Honestly, this is such a challenging but fun summarization activity! 

Are you also looking for ways to make nonfiction activities engaging? Luckily, there are Text Structure Mini-Lessons to help students comprehend all types of text they read! 

Summarizing Mini-Lesson #2

Objective: I can determine relevant vs. irrelevant information in a story to write a summary.

Many times, students write summaries by basically re-telling the story over again. So, they need to learn what information is relevant and what is irrelevant.  In this activity, the teacher pre-reads a text. Then, the teacher creates index cards or sentence strips with various relevant and irrelevant details. Each card or strip has one detail. After the materials are ready, students will read the text as a class. Then, they will work together to sort the details on a T-chart on the front board. When the class finishes, encourage students to use the details to practice writing a summary. Honestly, this is a fantastic way to help students learn which details are essential for a summary! 

Another skill that is relevant vs. irrelevant is essential with involves inferences! They are tough to understand! However, the 5 Inferences Mini Lessons help students through this challenging skill! 

Want to snag a one-page printable copy of summarizing mini-lessons?  Grab it for FREE below! 

Summarizing Mini-Lesson #3

Objective: I can determine which piece of SWBST is missing in each summary.

Utilizing SWBST is a very popular summarization strategy. This means students are identifying Somebody, Wanted, But, So, Then. In this summarizing mini-lesson, teachers pre-write summaries based on stories students are familiar with. However, teachers remove one piece of the SWBST summary. Students will read through the summaries and determine which ‘piece’ of the strategy is missing. After identifying the missing piece, students rewrite the summary by including the missing piece. Honestly, this is a fantastic way to help students learn how to identify each piece of the SWBST strategy! 

summarizing mini-lessons

For more great summarization activities, check out Summarizing Activities & Printables! Students will show so much growth in comprehension with these activities! 

Summarizing Mini-Lesson #4

Objective: I can use the strategy of ‘summary sentences’ to write a complete summary.

Do your students struggle writing summaries because of how much information is within a text? Honestly, it can be so overwhelming to figure out how to write a summary! Thankfully, this summarizing mini-lesson helps students summarize AS they read. Now, they do not have to wait until the end to begin putting the summary together. To understand this mini-lesson, it is crucial to model it first for students. This involves using a text and dividing it into small chunks. I love to draw lines through the sections to show students how to do this. Then, I read the first section. After reading, I summarize what I read in only one sentence and write it off to the side. This method repeats until all sections have a summarization sentence. We then read the sentence to write a full and complete summary of the text. After modeling, students can now repeat with brand-new text! 

Are you also looking for ways to build main idea skills? Luckily, there are Main Idea Mini-Lessons to help students with this skill, too!


Summarizing Mini-Lesson #5 

Objective: I can visualize the story to help write a summary.

When students listen to a story, the hope is that they can visualize what is happening. This is such a great way to build comprehension skills! However, visualization is also so important for building a solid summary. So, teachers give students a piece of paper and have them fold it into three sections. Students label each section with a beginning, middle, and end. Then, teachers tell them to visualize and draw the most important visuals they see in each section while listening to the story. After finishing the text, have students use the visuals to write a summary. This is such a fun and powerful summarizing mini-lesson! 

If you find students struggling with visualization, check out the Visualization Mini-Lessons! This list provides excellent guidance to help students develop this skill! 

Summarization is a skill that students will use throughout their entire lives! Thus, it is so helpful to develop at a young age. Thankfully, the summarizing mini-lessons offer incredible ways to help students with this challenging skill! 

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summarizing mini-lessons


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I’m a wife, a mommy of 3, blogger, and a full time teacher author and presenter. I love to read, shop, and spend time with my family! My hands are always busy, but my heart is so full!

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