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Tuesday, February 4, 2014

Nonfiction Summaries

I'm popping in to share an activity I did to get kids thinking about summarizing nonfiction texts.  I got this idea from the fantastic Kristine Nannini at Young Teacher Love.  She blogged about their classroom anchor chart where they discussed the difference between nonfiction and fiction summaries.  You can check out her blog post HERE.

It has been quite a while since we explicitly worked on summaries, so I added a few more elements to Kristine's chart.  I also wanted to use the activity as a pre-assessment, so I gave the students the questions and off they went!  Some had GREAT answers, and others made it clear that they still needed some review.

I thought about how to word the second question for so long!  The grammar in it drives me crazy, but I suppose it's better than What is not a summary?

This was a great springboard activity for us, and I'm excited (as excited as one can be about teaching nonfiction summary writing) to dive into our unit.  Little do the students know that these same questions will be part of their summative assessment, too!


  1. How did I not see this until now? I suppose it's been a busy week! Thank you so much for that sweet shout out! I LOVE LOVE your spin on this by asking your students those super important questions. It's such a powerful, yet super easy pre-assessment tool for what can be a tough concept for our kids. Thank you for the great idea!

  2. I love this lesson, thanks so much for sharing it. I somehow missed it too, but saw it below another post from the 17th, I believe.
    I understand your frustration with the grammar on the chart; I do the same thing to myself sometimes. What if you changed the wording (for future reference) from the first and the second one so that you still have synergy but get the same result:
    What does a summary show?
    What doesn't a summary show?
    As an entertaining fyi, I also struggled by starting with using "do" instead of "show" and I still don't think I'm satisfied with my interpretation. ;) I love your work and appreciate your posts and resources so much. My students do as well. Thank you!