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Summarizing helps students become aware of the text structure while breaking down a piece into a brief statement that contains the main idea and key details. National Reading Panel

Summarizing in the Classroom

Used both as a reading comprehension assessment technique and a comprehension startegy instruction shown to improve scores on comprehension measures.

Oral retelling and short answer retelling can give you as a teacher a quick snapshot on students understanding.

Summarizing Narrative Texts

When teaching summarizing of a narrative text focus on the story structure. As a teacher think aloud and point out temporal words, like first, second, and last.

Use graphic organizers to help identify story elements such as: setting, characters, problems, sequence of events, outcome, and theme.

When summarizing narrative text you focus on the elements of plot: problems, sequence of events, outcome. As a teacher can do this by asking students questions about the story structure.


  • Listen to stories
  • Link real life events in order
  • Explicitly use words “beginning, middle, end and first, second, and third”
  • Focus on event listening and retelling events in sequence


  • Model the retelling of key plot events and details
  • Assist students in oral retellings
  • Have students illustrate story frames


  • Require students to summarize plot
  • Retell and write key events in sequential order
  • Explain how other story elements impact key events of the plot

Summarizing Informational Texts

summarize.txt · Last modified: 2021/02/18 23:40 by jgmac1106