We can all remember when the teacher gave us a text, and we were asked to read it and summarize it in our own words. At first, we thought that was a piece of cake, but as we sat down to do it, our minds wandered and we found ourselves distracted by anything that moved.
Here are some activities, tips, and tricks to help your middle school student understand reading for gist and basic writing skills.
1. Summary Structure Cheer
"RBIWC, RBIWC" Don't worry, the chanting will all make sense. Teach your middle school students this Chant / Cheer to help them remember the basic rules of summarization.
Give me an R for Reading
Give me a B for Break it down
Give me an I for Identify KP( Key Points )
Give me a W for writing the summary
Give me a C for check your work against the article
Learn More: Teach Heath
2. Second step to Summary Worksheet
Somebody = Who / Describe the character(s)
Want= What do they want (Describe the need)
But= what was the obstacle or problem
So= Then what happened (result/consequence)
Then= the ending
Learn More: Jake Scott
3. The 4 Ws
The 4 Ws in summarizing is a series of steps to make it easier.
Here are the basic ingredients:
Find a quiet place to work and get your text and some highlighter pens.
Make sure that you are relaxed and you have no distractions.
Scan the text for any words you have never seen before. Highlight them.
Now with a different pen (or pens), underline the main points and make a mind map referring to the main characters or ideas. Take note of the activities WH questions to help you put together the summary in a snap.
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4. Who wants to be a MILLIONAIRE in Summarizing
This is such a fun game students can do on and offline. Use different texts and four simple answers to help summarize the text. Can your students choose the right answer and move up towards the million-dollar question? Have students come up with their own questions to play.
Learn More: Quia
5. Reading is the rule.
If you want to be good at summarizing, you will need to pick up a book or a magazine and start reading. 5-8 minutes a day will get your brain power moving, and if you want, you can even try to summarize a picture book if you are up for the challenge. How about reading 1,000 words and doing a PowerPoint slideshow teaching students how to summarize 1,000 words?
Learn More: WikiHow
6. Who doesn't love to doodle?
Get out your paper and pens and it is time to read and doodle or draw. That's right, I did not say read and write! Your middle schoolers will fall in love with this activity and it is a great laugh. They will come up with silly details to share. Give them a text to summarize but 50% must be drawn in pictures or symbols. They can only use 50 % in the text. It is a great activity and laughter is the best way to enjoy language. Use Doodle note templates in class and have a blast!
Learn More: Redesign
7. Shake it up with Shakespeare Comic Summaries
Creative strategies are always necessary to have on hand and your students can have fun in the English classroom with what you would think would be a difficult task, but with these fiction passages transformed into a comic, it makes it fun and teens can accomplish the task with ease.
Learn More: Teaching In Room 6 & Plasq
8. Eight is great when it comes to summarizing
Many think they are not capable of writing but without the know-how of how to write a good summary. It's like diving into the deep end if you're not a good swimmer. Learn how to stay afloat with 8 steps in Summarizing. This background knowledge will help you improve your sentence structures and ideas.
This is a fantastic opportunity for students to watch, write and learn. Eighth-grade students will love the autonomy of this project: Just watch, write and learn. This link has additional resources to guide you in the learning process too!
Learn More: Issuu
9. Time to get organized
Graphic organizers are a charm when learning how to write or summarize with these printable worksheets your middle school and teens will write away. If you print the different worksheets on colored paper they will take home a rainbow of homework and do creative writing on their own.
Get them used to Fiction Summary / Story Summary / Plot Summary / Sequence Summary all of the lingo that goes with writing. They can practice passages easily with these resources. Can be used as a simple review activity or more a long-term project.
Learn More: Lit in Focus
10. "What if" I learned how to Summarize this poem by Shel Silverstein.
This is a classic poem to use for middle school students. This poem can be used in a Theme unit and you can get the printable version of the poem. Students read the poem, discuss it and then work in pairs or individually to summarize it. Share with others in a class blog post.
Learn More: YA Class & Shel Silverstein
11. Arts and Crafts in language - how is that possible?
We all know that arts and crafts teach specific skills, one being reflection, which is crucial to summarizing texts. If a student is able to create a piece of art and write about it. Then explain their ideas to the reader. What is behind the art and what does he or she want to transmit, as well as what is the actual picture about.
This project really explores the possibilities of mixing both mediums.
Learn More: Learn English British Council
12. Be Foxy with Boardgames to help you write.
Table games are so cool! We all love to play them. These games can be educational and can inspire young minds to write and summarize better. Check out these games and have a great time inside and outside of the classroom. When we have fun, we learn!
Learn More: The John Fox
13. An apple a day keeps the doctor away.
Apples to apples is a great game to play and you can even make it yourself with your students. All ages love this board game and it is a great learning tool for sentence writing and summarizing. This is a gem to help with writing lessons.
Learn More: Teaching With TLC
14. Paraphrasing Pupils
Paraphrasing is the key to learning how to summarize. If we teach our children how to paraphrase correctly, they will be strong in writing once they get to high school. Let's use some prep lessons to be proficient in paraphrasing with some fun activities. Teach them how to reword, rearrange, realize and recheck. The 4R's to write.
Learn More: Minds In Bloom
15. Quiz Time
With these fun quizzes, you can revise the basics of summarizing and language points that are necessary. There is a video followed by multiple-choice questions that can be done in groups or individually.
Learn More: Study
16. Watch and Write
Watch a clip, think about it, and now get down to summarizing it. Prepare the clip, and tell them what is their mission. Pause often - get them to contemplate, watch it again, and now summarize it in pair work.
Learn More: KQ ED
17. #Hashtag help with summaries
In class you see their heads all nodding yes, that they understand but 50% of the time it is not true. They need lots of help and activities for summarizing to sink in.
Learn More: Too Cool For Middle School
18. Go back in time
Reading is fun and especially if you read some simple stories for middle school students.
Have your students choose a simple book that is 2 grades lower than their reading level and write a summary about it and present it to the class.
Learn More: Scattered Books
19. The middle school students are teachers for the week.
Have your middle school students learn how to teach 1st-4th grades how to summarize with simple words. They get to take the place of the teacher and prepare a presentation with activities.
Learn More: This Reading Mama
20. Do you speak TAMKO?
This is a fantastic strategy to help students summarize nonfiction.
T= What type of text is it
A= Author and Action
K= Key Details
This is a great website filled with loads of resources to help your students learn how to summarize nonfiction well.
Learn More: Stellar Teacher