Have you ever had students that were lacking basic, foundational reading skills?
Summarization might seem like a luxury skills- if you can do it, great (there are two more test questions you'll get right); if you can't, there are probably bigger fish to fry. But summarization is a real-world skill that enables note taking and retelling.
For a student who struggles with writing or identifying parts of a summary, the best starting point might be visualization. This means forming a mental picture to aid in comprehension. Visualization doesn't have to be a picture. To practice, a conversation can guide and deepen visualizations.
Strategy in Action
-Start small, maybe only a sentence- She raced down the sidewalk.
-Ask questions to scaffold- What do her surroundings look like? What face is she making?
-Draw attention to the stimulus (sentence) to guide and check visualizations.
-Over time, look to see speed increase as they create imagery.
With a larger text- consider handing students Post-its for specific chunks. Students will create a mental picture for each chunk. They can sketch this image on part of their Post-it. Looking at each picture, choose the most important words and phrases that are associated with the picture. (Depending on skill level, this might need to be a teach piece.) They can also use their own words to describe. Have students sequence their Post-its and retell the story to someone else.