Wednesday, February 19, 2014

Sum It Up: After Reading Summarizing Strategy

This is a quick share of a simple strategy that is working remarkably well with my reading intervention group right now. I've seen the Sum It Up strategy organized several different ways, but this is the version I use with my students.

The Sum It Up strategy requires readers to select words related to the main idea of a reading. After reading, the reader writes the specialized vocabulary, key terms, or repeated words or phrases from a passage in the collection box marked with the $. This focuses attention on key words that can then be used to build a summary. Once the collection box is filled, it helps to go back and star the words you think are most important from all those listed. This is a critical thinking skills and does require some practice. The final step is to use the key words that have been collected to create a summary statement of 20 - 30 words.

The Sum It Up strategy lends itself nicely to gradual release of responsibility. Initially, you can model it for your students. Then, you can complete the graphic organizer as a shared writing activity after a shared reading. I also like to add an additional bridge step where we collect the key words together, but the kids each create their own summary, and then we share. This is the place where we spend the most time practicing, before I ask the kids to use the strategy independently.

In Room 202, we call this process "Making a $2.00 - $3.00 Summary", and the kids LOVE doing it.
It never ceases to amaze me that such simple little twists on otherwise mundane tasks make all the difference when working with young learners. If I ask my students to summarize a passage they've read, I usually don't get the most enthusiastic response, and I can never be sure how succinct or accurate the actual summarizations will be. However, if I add the simple caveat of not being allowed to "spend" more than $2.00 - $3.00 worth of 10 cent words to create the summary, it's a whole new ball game. Suddenly, the kids are selective about what they want to say. They monitor and adjust their wording to stay under the allowed "spending' limit. They are competitive with one another, trying to see who can cover all the key points of a main idea while spending the least amount of money on their wording.

I've been using the Sum It Up strategy with my morning intervention group this week, and they have been very successful with it. One of my struggling fifth grade readers came up with this after reading a passage from a series of pretty complex texts about the U.S. Constitution and federalism. I am impressed with what they are producing, and they are proud of themselves. I love it when that happens!

If you've never tried this summarizing strategy with your students, I recommend you give it a try. Here's a link to a graphic organizer to get you started.

No comments:

Post a Comment