Students are often asked to summarize what they have read or learned in class that day. Many of my middle school students struggle with this skill. They often include minor details in their summaries or miss the big ideas, concepts, or events of the text.
This activity is an easy way for your child to implement summarizing as they read. It will fit with any book, short story, article, etc. that they may be reading. With this strategy, students are chunking the story into sections and clarifying what they know in each section. I have facilitated this activity many times with my students. I find that they retain what they have read much better, especially with a novel or text that is more challenging for them.
Your child needs their book, sticky notes, notebook paper, and a pen/pencil.
I am using The Classic Tale of Peter Rabbit as an example. Again, your child may do this activity with any book they may be reading.
TIP: Sometimes, it’s best to try the activity with an easier text, so your child understands the process. Then, try the activity with a more challenging text.
As your child reads their book, every 2-3 pages, they should write a few words about the events happening in the story on a sticky note and place it into their book. What they write on their sticky note does not have to be a complete sentence, but should be enough that they understand what is going on in the story when they look back over them.
TIP: Your child may need to write a sticky note for every 1-2 pages if the book is very challenging for them.
TIP: Your child may write a few words, a complete sentence, symbols, or drawings on their sticky notes. Whatever helps them remember what is happening in the plot!
When your child has finished reading the assigned amount of pages or chapters, they can review their sticky notes and see that they already have a summary of the text.
TIP: Your child should number their sticky notes to prevent them from getting out of order.
Finally, after reviewing the sticky notes, your child should write a short paragraph using complete sentences summarizing what they read. Since each sticky note is only a few words, there won’t be any minor details in their final summary, and they will have improved their comprehension of the story.
If needed, your child can continue to use the sticky note summaries throughout the entirety of the book. I always encouraged my students to use sticky notes, and I would let them use them on quizzes.