Carolyn Hance
English Language Arts
Material Type:
Activity/Lab, Lesson, Module
High School
  • NE ELA
  • License:
    Creative Commons Attribution Non-Commercial Share Alike
    Media Formats:
    Downloadable docs, Text/HTML

    Education Standards

    Summarizing Instruction & Practice

    Summarizing Instruction & Practice


    This lesson plan was created by Carolyn Hance as part of the 2020 NDE OER Workshop. Educators worked with coaches to create quality curriculum that can be shared with others.

    The lesson plan is designed for Grades 9-12 English Language Arts students. Students will gain knowledge about summarizing non-fiction material. Students will create an original summary of non-fiction material provided.  This lesson plan addresses the following NDE Standards: NE.LA 10.1.6.M;  NE.LA 10.2.2.E;  NE.LA 10.1.6.A

    It is expected that this lesson will take students approximately 2-3 class periods or 90-120 minutes, depending on grade level and individual student ability.


    What is a summary?

    Summary: According to the Meriam-Webster online dictionary, the word "summary" is defined as "covering the main points succinctly." That definition is correct, but it doesn't really give enough information for you to know how to write a summary of your own. A summary should communicate the main points of a work, but must be put in your own words. A good summary should include only the main points and, in general, only be about a quarter to a third of the length of the original text. 



    Summarizing Information and Example

    I usually put this example summary up on the whiteboard while we go through it all as a class, but you can have students work through it on their own as well. It's up to you to decide. Then I provide either a digital or print copy of the material for future reference when students are working on their own summaries.

    Read the information provided by the Reading Center of Monterey Peninsula College for detailed information about how to write a quality summary. You will be expected to write a summary of your own later, so read carefully.

    Summary Explanation and Exemplar

    I strongly suggest you bookmark the example to refer to later as needed.

    Summary Practice

    Instruct students about the media format you want them to use (Google Docs, Word, etc.) and how you would like them to turn in their work. It is a good idea to have a checklist of your own that outlines the basic requirements of their work. Another option is to give students  a rubric  to follow that you will also use to grade work. Here is a link to a rubric I like from  Summary Writing Rubric

    Now that you know what a good summary looks like, it's time for you to try it yourself. Read the linked article provided by

    Mural City 

    Using the summary explanation and example you just read through, write a summary of your own. Check with your teacher for his/her preferred media format (Google Doc, Word, etc.) Be sure to use the attached checklist before submitting your work. Your teacher may or may not require you to turn in the checklist with your summary.