What did it Say? Summarizing

Lesson Summary:

The lesson introduces the children to the art of summarizing.  The reading could be used in pairs and/or small groups and is designed to help them to identify the main points in a poem and a sentence.  Both activities give the children the opportunity to summarize a poem or story by identifying the main idea(s).  Activity A provides the children with a simple verse to summarize and Activity B requires them to identify the gist of an oral story.


• The children will be able to identify the main ideas in a written or oral text.

• The children will be able to retell a story in their own words.

Subject Area:

Language Arts

Lesson Excerpt:

What is this poem about?  If you wanted to tell someone what the poet was saying you could summarize or paraphrase it by saying that he dug holes in the sea sand and they filled up with water.  That is the gist, or the main idea of the poem.

If you want to identify the gist of a poem or story you have to be able to figure out the most important ideas in the story and leave out the parts which are just interesting details.

In the poem we have just looked at, the fact that the holes were dug with a wooden spade and that they were empty like cups were not important to the story the poem was telling.

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