Middle school and above

  • Summarize
  • Identify main ideas
  • Identify important detail information
  • Writing

This strategy should be introduced and used initially through modeling and guided instruction, gradually allowing the students to become independently responsible for each step.

  1. Make four columns on the board or chart paper. Label each column:
    • What are you summarizing?
    • What information in the beginning is important?
    • What information in the middle is important?
    • What information at the end is important?
  2. Teacher and students fill in each column with information from the text.
    • Help students identify main topics and ideas.
    • Work with the students on deleting unimportant details and repetitive information.
    • Assist students in labeling or categorizing lists of items (e.g., usingspring flowers as a category instead of listing tulips, daffodils, violets,crocus).
  3. Write 1 – 3 sentences to summarize the information in the columns.
  4. Students respond to the following questions about the summary:
    • Is any important information left out?
    • Is the information in the right order?
    • Have I selected information that the author or teacher thinks is most important?
  5. When students are summarizing independently, have them write some of their good models of summarization on the board for class discussion.