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Using Summarizing in Writing to Learn

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  1. Using Summarizing in Writing to Learn Donna Alvermann, Ph.D. Department of Language & Literacy Education University of Georgia PowerPoint by Achariya Rezak

  2. 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.

  3. 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.

  4. 1. As a class, scan the reading to preview headings and highlighted vocabulary. 2. Together, develop a skeleton outline based on these text clues. 3. Then, read text using the outline as a reading guide. 4. Ask each student to compose main idea statements for the main points, adding details. 5. Finally, develop a key idea statement for the entire passage. This becomes the first sentence of the summary. Implementing hierarchical summaries:

  5. 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.

  6. 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.

  7. GIST: • Acronym: Generating Interactions between Schemata and Text. • Used to produce progressively more condensed summaries of a text

  8. 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.

  9. Example of GIST: Paragraph: Taboo topics: Cultural restraint on teaching social issues (Evans et al, 1999): Selection of subject matter in social studies has long been a concern of educational theorists and reformers. Over the history of social studies, many prominent thinkers have advocated curricular reform with greater emphasis on in-depth study of public or controversial issues. Despite the best intentions of social studies reformers over the years, a traditional, textbook-centered, fact-myth-legend approach to teaching history had continued to dominate the social studies curriculum (p. 218). • Summary of first sentence: Educational theorists have long studied social studies subject matter selection. • Summary of first two sentences: Educational theorists and reformers have studied subject matter selection and advocated teaching public or controversial issues. • Summary of first three sentences: Even though educational theorists have advocated teaching controversial issues in social studies, a traditional approach prevails.

  10. 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.

  11. 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.

  12. Reference • Evans, R. W., Avery, P. G., and Pederson, P. V. (1999). Taboo topics: Cultural restraint on teaching social issues. The Social Studies, September/October 1999, 218-224.