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Growth Mindset

So Much More to Summarizing


Summarizing text is such an important skill. Students learn how to summarize text as early as kindergarten by being asked to retell or recount familiar parts of a story, including key details. By fifth grade, students are not only asked to summarize text, but they also need to identify the theme of the story as well as characters overcome challenges throughout the story.
Since this skill is embedded across the elementary curriculum, it’s important to practice this skill early.



Here's a fun and engaging activity you can try with your students to reinforce summarization.

Preparing for this activity is so much fun!
First, go through your most favorite picture books.


Choose a few books students may not be familiar with yet. You can either tear the pictures out of the book (eek!), or if that gives you chills, you can make color copies of the pictures. The office manager and principal at our school are pretty generous with their color copiers. It may be worth asking yours, too!


Print out the graphic organizers and caption squares and you’re ready to go!

Now for the fun part...
This activity strengthens the summarizing (recount or retell) skill, while also extending students’ thinking through comparing and contrasting.


First, break students into groups and give each group a set of pictures. You can choose to give each group the same set of pictures, or you can give each group a different picture book.


Have students work cooperatively to arrange the story in the order that they believe makes the most sense.


If it works for your students, have them add captions or sentences to each picture (by using the caption squares). This makes the story more cohesive and to encapsulate more of a summary.


Once students have arranged their pictures in their groups, read them the story in the correct order. If you have multiple books for the different groups, give each group the original story and have them read it as a group.


Have students compare what they arranged in their group to the real sequence of the story (using the Venn Diagram printable).


They can write or talk about the similarities and differences. They can even justify if they would change the original story to fit their version.

Ready to try this with your students? You can find your free printables here!

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