Author Topic: An idea for teaching lower-level learners how to summarize an article  (Read 3816 times)

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Offline Sue Feldman

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Here is a group activity that can help lower-level ESL learners to summarize an article. I do this with my class, and it is really fun!

After you have read an article, and the students are thoroughly familiar with it, have each student take out a sheet of paper and sit in a big circle. Ask them to re-read only the first paragraph of the article, and then try to sum that paragraph up in one sentence or less. They should then write their one sentence summary on the paper, and fold the top of the paper down so that the sentence cannot be seen. 

Each student then passes the folded down paper to the left. They should NOT unfold the paper. Each student should then re-read the second paragraph, summarize it in one sentence or less, write the summary on the paper, fold the paper again, and pass the paper to the left. This process should be repeated with each paragraph until the students have summarized all of the paragraphs in the reading.

After the last paragraph has been read and summarized, the students should again pass the papers to the left. Each student should now have a paper that contains a one-sentence summary of each paragraph in the reading, but none that they themselves have written.

The students should then unfold the paper and read the summary. At the bottom of the page, they should then write the answers to the following questions:

1. Did you think that there is an important piece of information in the reading that was NOT included in this summary? What would you add?

2. Is there a piece of information in this summary that you do not think is important? What would you leave out?

The students then get together in groups of three to share their summaries and discuss the answers to the two questions.

Depending on the length of the article, this activity takes about 25-35 minutes to complete.