In the Trenches

Thoughts and Ideas from a Classroom Teacher

What Good Readers Do – Summarizing

on February 7, 2012

In our review of the things good readers do, today my students practice summarizing. I read aloud the book The Great Ball Game, retold by Joseph Bruchac. I love teaching with Native American literature, and the stories are exceptional at teaching so much about geography, culture, and history, as well as objectives relating to reading. I got inspiration for my activity from this activity using the strategy of “Somebody… Wanted… But… Then… So” from the I Do. We Do. You Do. blog.

My students came up with

Somebody… the animals, the birds, and the bat

Wanted… to prove that they were the best

But… they couldn’t do it without arguing

Then… they played a stickball game to determine who was the greatest

So… the bat helped the animals defeat the birds, and now birds have to go South for half of the year


I love this strategy for fiction stories. It’s easy to remember and captures the idea of rising actions, climax and resolution.

Here are some extra resources on summarizing:

Summarizing Strategies from Guilford County Schools

A Sum It Up activity from Reading Quest

Summarizing Ideas

The GIST Strategy from Read Write Think

Summarizing Strategies Livebinder

Somebody Wanted But Then So from PBS Kids


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