Using Summarizing in Writing to Learn Donna Alvermann, Ph.D. Department of Language & Literacy Education University of Georgia PowerPoint by Achariya Rezak
What is the purpose of teaching summarizing? • Writing summaries is an important tool for comprehension because summarizing reinforces and consolidates many processes involved in learning from a text. • Writing a good summary means that readers must know how to select and delete information, condense information, and transform it into writing.
Three commonly used summary strategies are: • Hierarchical summaries: best used with text that is structured into headings and subheadings. • REAP: Read text. Encode it in your own words. Annotate and write it down. Ponder what you wrote. • GIST: Generating Interactions between Schemata and Text.
As a class, scan the reading to preview headings and highlighted vocabulary. Together, develop a skeleton outline based on these text clues. Then, read text using the outline as a reading guide. Ask each student to compose main idea statements for the main points, adding details. Finally, develop a key idea statement for the entire passage. This becomes the first sentence of the summary. Implementing hierarchical summaries:
REAP: • Acronym that stands for: Read text. Encode it in your own words. Annotate and write it down. Ponder the message. • REAP can be any sort of annotation, from critical comments to personal reactions. • Summary annotations are the easiest.
Example of REAP • Example text: “The recent National Science standards emphasize that the training of preservice teachers include a component that leads to an understanding of the nature of science, and that can be translated into classroom practice (AAAS, 1989, 1994; NRC, 1996). This paper describes the pedagogic underpinnings of three exercises designed to impart the flavor of scientific inquiry into an Earth science course designed for preservice elementary and middle school teachers and details how the nature of science is taught from an Earth systems perspective” (Slatterly, 1997). • Example of a REAP summary: This paragraph introduces the paper. The paper is about three exercises used by preservices teachers to understand how to teach Earth science from the perspective of scientific inquiry.
Implementing REAP: • As a class, show students a sample paragraph and annotation. Explain the annotation process that you went through. • Next, show three annotations of a text and let students choose the best of the three. • Finally, show students how to develop summaries from their own annotations. • After that, students can develop their own summary annotations and then analyze these summaries in small groups to develop a more complete summary.
GIST: • Acronym: Generating Interactions between Schemata and Text. • Used to produce progressively more condensed summaries of a text
Implementing GIST: • As a class, use a short, coherent expository paragraph, and ask students to retell the first sentence in 15 words or less. • Add the second sentence, and have students summarize the first and second sentences together in 15 words or less. • Continue until the entire paragraph is summarized in 15 words or less. • Then, have the class summarize an entire paragraph at one time. • Finally, students try the strategy on their own.
Example of GIST: Paragraph: Using Geothermal Energy to Provide Heat and Hot Water Idaho has a long tradition of using the Earth's natural heat energy to provide heat and hot water to its residents. The tradition started in 1892, when the Boise Water Works built the first wooden pipe-lines for drawing water from drilled wells at the nearby hot springs. Over the years, the system has gone through numerous changes, but the modern day Boise Warm Springs Water District System is a direct descendant of the 1892 system. • Summary of first sentence: Idaho uses the Earth's heat energy for heating. • Summary of first two sentences: Idaho has used the Earth's heat energy for heating homes since 1892. • Summary of first three sentences (entire paragraph): Idaho's system of using the Earth's heat for heating has been in place since 1892.
Helpful hints: • Self-contained passages of expository text with explicitly stated main ideas and a clear structure are easiest to work with. • The main ideas of a text aren't always obvious: point out that summaries should capture ideas that would be important to the author.
Summary: • GIST, REAP and hierarchical summaries are three strategies used to summarize texts. • These strategies will help reinforce and consolidate many comprehension processes involved in learning from text.
Reference • Slatterly, W. (1997). Teaching the nature of science in a college Earth science class designed for preservice elementary and middle school teachers. Retrieved June 1, 2006 from http://www.ed.psu.edu/ci/Journals/97pap14.htm.