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5Ws & Hs Journalism:

o Who? (Who are the primary or most important characters? Who are the
secondary characters? Who participated? Who is affected?)
o What? (What is the topic of the lesson? What is its significance? What is the
problem? What are the issues? What happened?)
o Where? (Where did the event occur? Where is the setting? Where is the source
of the problem?)
o When? (When did the event occur? When did the problem begin? When is it
most important?)
o Why? (Why did the event, issue, or problem occur? Why did it develop the way
it did?)
o How? (How is the lesson, problem, or issue important? How can the problem
be resolved? How does it affect the participants or characters identified in the
Who question?)

6 Word Memoirs
o Following Ralph Waldo Emerson, students condense summaries into exactly 6
words to capture the essence of the passage.

Backwards Summaries
o Have students start with the final product, the "big picture" view.
o Then go on to explore the smaller components and their meanings.

Change the Point of View/RAFT (Holston & Santa, 1985)

o Retell story/cycle/concept from a different point of view
o Role of the writer: who are you as the writer?
o Audience: to whom are you writing?
o Format: in what format are you writing?
o Topic: what are you writing about?

Dont Look Back

o Read/Annotate Passage
o Write down what they remember (without looking at passage)
o Discuss with partners to fill in missing information

GIST (Frey, Fisher, & Hernandez, 2003)

o Using the 5 Ws and an H as a reference, students write 20-word summaries

Intangible/Tangible Comparisons
o (intangible object) is like (tangible object) because______.

Journalistic Writing THEN Encyclopedia Wring (Wormeli, 2005)

o In order to build background information and familiarity with new concepts,
consider starting with Journalistic Writing (personal accounts, narratives, etc.)
and then moving toward Encyclopedia Writing (dry, dense informational
o Examples for Journalistic Writing: Calliope, Cobblestone, Science Weekly,
Scholastic News, Science Word, The Wall Street Journal Classroom Edition


One Word Summaries (Focuses students on gist, rather than minutia)
o Write one word that summarizes lesson/reading/etc.
o Then write a brief explanation to justify that one word. Argue for or against it
o Defend their word choice to the class.

Physicalize Concepts
o Come up with kinesthetic movements for concepts to internalize
o OR have small groups of students come up with kinesthetic movements and
then defend it from critique to the class.

Save the Last Word for Me

o On 3x5 notecards, students write 3-5 statements from the reading that they
have a reaction to to (excitement, surprised, puzzled, etc.)
o They also write a discussion to their response of the corresponding statement.
o Sitting in small groups, one student shares their statement.
o Group members ALL share their reactions to first persons statement.
o Person who shared statement first, shares their reflection last.
o This circles on through everyones points.

Share One, Get One

o Students to draw a grid of nine squares on a piece of paper.
o Students record 3 different concepts, facts, or skills they recall from the lesson.
o Then students get up and move around the room asking peers to fill in the
remaining squares with different concepts, facts, and skills.
o Once matrix is filled, ask students to write a summary of information recorded
in matrix.

Summarization Pyramid (Wormeli, 2005)

o 8 lines (can shorten or lengthen make sure to decide on a different prompt
for each line beforehand).
o Example prompts for each line: synonyms, analogies, questions, 3 attribute, 3
words to describe, News headline, causes/effects of topic, reasons to study it,
personal opinion, examples/non-examples, larger category, etc.

Word Link (Yopp, 2007)

o Individuals have different words they have to find a partner and determine:
What do the words mean? What do they have to do with each other? How do
they go together?
o Then groups of two find another group of two and go through same process
for a group of four words.
o Share with the class; defend your links from class critique.

Summary Ball
o Everyone stands in a circle and share one thing they remember from the
reading when ball is tossed their way.
o When they dont have more to contribute they sit down.
o Last two people standing win.
Quick Spot Checks

Someone give me a headline for what were doing right now.

I used to think______, but now I think _____.

3-2-1 / K-W-L



Mnemonic Devices (Wormeli, 2005)

o Delete some elements
o Keep some elements
o Substitute some elements

TaRGeTS (Rule-Based Summaries, 1968)

o Trivial (remove trivial information)
o Redundancies (delete things that repeat)
o Generalize (replace specifics/lists with general terms)
o TS (determine the two parts of the Topic Sentence)

2 parts: subject + authors claim about the subject


For Fiction/Narrative Texts

Somebody Wanted But So

o Somebody (characters)
o Wanted (plot-motivated)
o But (conflict)
o So (resolution)

Somebody Wanted/Because But So

o Adding because incorporates conflict dissection
For Non Fiction/Informational Texts

Something Happened And Then

o Something (independent variable)
o Happened (change in that variable)
o And (effect on the dependent variable)
o Then (conclusion)



Summaries dont have opinions


Conduct multiple readings (1 reading is for pleasure, 2 reading is for summarization,

3 reading for analysis)

Used varied formats (visual, oral, written, etc.)

Chunk the text (break apart into smaller sections)

Have students evaluate their own summaries

In Order to Prime the Brain:

Tell students what they will get out the learning experience (aka the objectives of the

Tell students what they will encounter as they go through the experience (the itinerary
and/or structure)
o When you prime the brain with structure and purpose of writing, writing flows
more easily


Explicitly Teach

Word Morphology (roots, prefixes, suffixes)

Common Text Structures & Transition Words

o Chronological Order

First, then, until, next, before, immediately, as, now, since, while,
during, soon, often after, previously
o Compare and Contrast

Although, as well as, but, conversely, either, however, not only, on

the one hand, on the other hand, or, rather than, similarly, unless,
unlike, as opposed to, comparatively, coupled with, correspondingly,
aside from, barring
o Cause and Effect

Accordingly, as a result, because, consequently, nevertheless, so that,

therefore, this lead to, ifthen, thus, because of, for this reason, since
o Problem & Solution (goal-action-outcome)

The problem is, a solution, therefore, the question, one answer,

o Proposition & Support (persuasive, position)

The author mentions/ states/ posits/ asserts/ comments/ declares/

discusses/ explains/ expresses/ mentions/ suggests/ points out,
remarks/ confirms/ acknowledges
o Enumeration (concept-definition)

To begin with, first, second, third, then, next, finally, several,

numerous, in fact, for instance, for example, most important, also, in
addition, to illustrate, another, in essence, in other words, name, in
short, in brief, chiefly, especially, in particular, markedly, namely

When Evaluating Students Summaries Consider:

Is the information conveyed accurately?

Information too broad? Too narrow?

Are the ideas in the right sequence?

Would someone reading this summary get all the information they needed?

Does the writer omit their opinion and just report undistorted essence of content?

Did the writer use their own words and style?

Carr, E., & Ogle, D. (1987). KWL plus: A strategy for comprehension and summarization. Journal of
Reading, 30(7), 626-631.
Holston, V., & Santa, C. (1985). RAFT: A method of writing across the curriculum that works. Journal of
Reading, 28(5), 456-457.
Robb, L. (1993). Teaching reading in social studies, science, and math: Practical ways to weave comprehension
strategies into your content area teaching. New York: Scholastic.
Wormeli, R. (2005). Summarization in any subject: 50 techniques to improve student learning. ASCD.
Yopp, R. H. (2007). Word links: A strategy for developing word knowledge. Voices from the Middle, 15(1), 2733.