One way to spice up the summarization routine, as well as to help kids put new vocabulary words to work, is to ask them to provide short summaries around specific words selected from the text. Imagine a child reads an article about a NASA rover sent to investigate the surface of Mars. Parents and teachers can pick several words from a reading and prompt students to create single-sentence summaries. For example:
- Think of a sentence that uses the word “crater” and describes something important you learned from this article.
- Think of a sentence using the word “geology” that tells something important explained in this article.
Students learning in groups might all take turns contributing their own sentences in response to the instructor’s query.
Single-sentence summaries would be great tools for exploring themes in literature, too. Rather than asking for a basic summary of a book or a chapter, a teacher could select several individual words that express different themes explored in the reading (or, for older students, ask them to contribute) and ask students to create sentences based on those words. For example:
- Use the word “revenge” in a sentence that tells about the story in Horrible Harry in Room 2B.
- Can you think of a sentence using the word “imagination” that describes Harry?
This article is based on ideas found in “Simple Summaries, Fabulous Finds” in The Reading Teacher, 65(8).
Photo: CC by garysan97