Middle school teachers, tutors and parents can help students learn to write summaries of books, poems or articles to increase reading comprehension and improve retention. Summaries also give students an opportunity to practice and hone their formal writing skills. Instructions should focus on ways to condense material into manageable pieces, identify the main concepts and support them with evidence from the text.
Read a chapter, write a summary… Our students see this a lot, whether it be on our reading assessments, in our own classroom work, or on our state assessments.
Bottom line, we want our kids to be proficient and feel confident in taking out the important elements from a piece of text, both fiction and non-fiction. We want our zealous little readers to be able to get at the heart of the matter when writing summaries, and we want them to be able to do it in as few words as possible.
I must say, our summary writing is most definitely a work in progress, but I am proud of the hard work my kids put in so far! I broke this unit into two separate mini-units. One for fiction summary writing and another for non-fiction summary writing.
This blog post will be entirely devoted to the beginning stages of our fiction summaries. This summarizing strategy comes from an older book titled; Responses to Literature. Those authors were on to something! They are a free sample from my Summarizing: To begin with, we discussed what a summary is.
I then expanded the above graphic organizer onto our anchor chart to introduce this strategy to my students and to really drive home the ideas of summarizing fiction. With the first lesson, we discussed narrative text vs.
I did a very brief mini-lesson revisiting mentor texts that we had already used to discuss the problem-solution structure of narratives.
Here are the mentor texts we used: Although the above books are great books to use for this unit, I did not use them for the purpose of summary writing. Instead, I chose a chapter out of our current read aloud: Among the Hidden by Margaret Haddix.
To start, I copied the chapter, passed it out, and gave each student a copy of the above graphic organizer.
Some students felt confident enough to fill it out as we read, others needed my help. After reading the passage, we walked slowly through each of the steps below: First, we identified the character in relation to the problem of the text.
I broke it down like this: Second, we discussed that what the character wants, or what their goal is in relation to the problem is the Wanted. Next, we worked to figure out what the obstacle is that is getting in the way of the character reaching their goal and identified this as the But.
Lastly, we agreed on the solution to the problem or the outcome as the Then. It was hard for some, but when I showed them how you could take those individual sticky notes and put them together to write a summary, they were pretty flabbergasted!
In addition to practicing with the above mentor texts, we also practiced with differentiated passages from my Summarizing: Having differentiated passages ready to go at three different levels has been so helpful to master this skill.
I was cracking up. Unfortunately, my friends, this is just the beginning. Questions I asked my readers today: What happens when the author does not use the format of problem-solution?
The above questions will be our next feat to tackle!
But, until then, we are practicing, practicing, and practicing some more! What are some tips and tricks you use for teaching higher level summary writing and non-fiction summary writing? In addition to using the Someone, Wanted, But, So, Then strategy, I also guide students to dig a bit deeper with their reading in my Summarizing:Granite Oaks Middle School Page 5 7/31/ Criteria for Formal Summaries A good summary should condense the original text (i.e., it should be shorter).
What Are the Five Areas of Phonology That Make the English Language Difficult to Learn? The Middle School Matters Institute (MSMI) is an initiative of the George W.
Middle school teachers, tutors and parents can help students learn to write summaries of books, poems or articles to increase reading comprehension and improve retention. Summaries also give students an opportunity to practice and hone their formal writing skills. Here is an example of an Executive Summary that was written in my ELA class by a middle school student for a DARPA/NASA project. The assignment asked students to conceptualize and research how humans might colonize a planet within years. Jul 09, · Then, have them write a second, longer summary and compare it to their first. Ask them to determine which is better via a guiding question such as: Which summary gives a better overview of the topic? Support: Give more leeway to students that have trouble writing a summary containing exactly 10 words. For example, ask them to write an summary containing words instead/5(12).
Bush Institute in partnership with The Meadows Center for Preventing Educational Risk at The University of Texas at Austin. Again, summary writing doesn’t come naturally, and when told to summarize, students will often either copy verbatim, write long, detailed “summaries,” or write excessively short ones missing key information.
This occurs because students don’t really know what a summary is or how to write one. Writing is not one task with a specific, unchanging set of rules. Consequently, it’s often counterproductive to classify writing as “Good” or “Bad” because doing so assumes an oversimplified view of what writing is.
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