Increasing Comprehension by Summarizing
To summarize is to give a brief statement of the main points of something. In literacy, Summarizing is a skill students can use to increase their comprehension by focusing on the important information and key ideas worth remembering. Because, by summarizing, the students are able to take out the extra words that they do not need to recall, they can focus more clearly on the important things they do need to know. However, many students may struggle with this strategy because need to find good balance in their summaries: not leaving extra words in the summary or leaving out important concepts. It is a very challenging balance to find and many students get frustrated with summarizing. What can we, as teachers, do to show students the importance of summarizing, as well as strategies and activities?

The following link is a great powerpoint that explains the importance of summarizing as well as giving strategies and examples:

Seeking Summarizing
ModelingThe first thing to do is Model, Model, Model! As a teacher, there are many opportunities to introduce the students to the idea of summarizing through classroom discussions, modeled and shared writing activities. Modeling "Selective Underlining" is a great way tool we can share with our students!

Selective UnderliningIn this activity, students will be given a section to read which they can make marks on. They will either be asked to underline or highlight the main points of what they read, while leaving out the extra verbage that they don't need to include. The students can then use the highlighted or underlined to create a new summary paragraph. Instead of highlighting anything of interest in one color, students could underline any vocabulary words they didn't know as well and use that to find the words in resource books.
Selective Underlining Online Practice
Sum it up!
When students begin summarizing reading pieces, they will normally tend to still leave most of the words in there, afraid to leave out important information. It is good practice for them to write down fewer and fewer words each time, picking out only the most important words. As a teacher, we can specify the length of the summary we expect the student to create. When beginning to learn about summarizing, the students can start with a half page summary, and refining and reducing the piece to a couple paragraphs, one paragraph, a few sentences, and ultimately down to one summary sentence. This practice will allow them to select the words that are the most important ones to remember and comprehend.

The "Sum it Up!" worksheet by Reading Quest is just one method/organizer where the students can visualize how many words they should summarize in. As the teacher, you tell the students each blank costs 10 cents, and they can only spend $2.00. They will sum up their piece in 20 words!
Direction Print-out for Sum It Up activity Worksheet Print-out for Sum It Up activity
Focus on the W's!
Another strategy for teaching summarization is encouraging the students to answer only the questions "Who?, What?, Where?, When? Why? and How?" One great way to organize and encourage the students to focus only on those questions are graphic organizers. The following website gives the link to many great graphic organizers that will help students to pull this vital information without the unneccessary information. Graphic Organizers are a very helpful tool with ALL areas of comprehension and age levels!
Graphic Organizers for Summarization

Summarizing Song
This is a great song from a website fills with lots of strategies for comprehension! There are sample lessons, booklists for summarizing, songs, and videos. This is a song that could be used in the classroom to explain the process of summarization.
Summarizing Song
Summarizing Book Lists
Summarizing Book List

Summarizing List 2
Videos on Summarizing

Summarizing Resources
Scholastic Summarizing Activity