Summarizing for Early Learners

Early readers can learn to summarize with practice and supports. Using the SWBSA technique with Nursery Rhymes and Fairy Tales can offer such supports. Give them tools not excuses.
Early readers and writers can do so much more than we think...if we support them. One of the units our K-2 teachers must teach whole group is summarizing. This is especially hard with early learners because they don't necessarily attach a value to parts of a story; meaning they aren't sure what is important or note-worthy. Students tend to either give too much or too little when summarizing. I blogged previously about using the Somebody...Wanted...But...So...And... (SWBSA) technique to teach summary. This is absolutely the easiest way to teach this skill.

Early readers can learn to summarize with practice and supports. Using the SWBSA technique with Nursery Rhymes and Fairy Tales can offer such supports. Give them tools not excuses.

Nursery Rhymes to Start


Unfortunately, too many students haven't heard many nursery rhymes or fairy tales. Not only can these poems are easily taught and practiced with students, but they can also contain great vocabulary and content. Using the SWBSA technique and nursery rhymes, students can be confident in creating a tight summary. Using picture cards to tell the rhyme can also help students manipulate the parts of the summary. Creating an anchor chart with the parts of a summary and using large picture cards, students can work collaboratively to create summaries. Each nursery rhyme is divided into 5 parts, one representing each of the parts of the summary. Students can be divided into groups of 5 and they can present their summary to the group. Using the anchor chart to display the pictures, makes a quick connection.
Early readers can learn to summarize with practice and supports. Using the SWBSA technique with Nursery Rhymes and Fairy Tales can offer such supports. Give them tools not excuses.

Moving on to Fairy Tales

Just before the holiday break, we were reading a Chinese Cinderella story in one of our intervention groups and we were shocked at how many students didn't know the original Cinderella and thought the evil stepmother, the ball, and the missing shoe was a new story. We certainly had to take a step or two back and change the target for lesson. That being said, using some traditional stories to help with summaries can be fun. Reading several versions of a classic or fairy tale can not only lead to making connections, but to recognizing similarities in summaries. Again, using large cards for cooperative learning created success for all. 

Independent Learning

Finally, moving what students have learned collaboratively in whole group and small group lessons can be easily practiced in literacy centers or independent stations. The value in the independent summary sheets are making sure students are telling the summaries to someone before they are complete. They can be matched with a partner or buddy, but they should read their summary to an adult to make sure they summary makes sense.

Early readers can learn to summarize with practice and supports. Using the SWBSA technique with Nursery Rhymes and Fairy Tales can offer such supports. Give them tools not excuses.Don't Forget the Paint Chips


One of my favorite things to do with paint chips is make bookmarks for summarizing. What a quick and easy reminder for readers! AND it's colorful!

Early readers can learn to summarize with practice and supports. Using the SWBSA technique with Nursery Rhymes and Fairy Tales can offer such supports. Give them tools not excuses.If you would like a FREEBIE sample set featuring Humpty Dumpty, click the link or the picture below.


You may also want to check out a few other blog posts about summarizing:

Summarizing: Keeping it Short and Sweet

Let's Summarize with Polar Bears Past Bedtime


I also have a full-set of Summarizing for Early Learners in my TPT store. If you are interested, click the link.



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