Lesson Plan

Simple Summaries

Keep it simple! Teach your students to write a summary using the Somebody-Wanted-But-So-Then frame for analyzing a story.
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Need extra help for EL students? Try the A Simple Summary pre-lesson.
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Need extra help for EL students? Try the A Simple Summary pre-lesson.

Learning Objectives

Students will be able to write a simple summary after reading a fiction text.

The adjustment to the whole group lesson is a modification to differentiate for children who are English learners.
EL adjustments


(10 minutes)
Write a Simple SummarySimple Summary Reading LogHot Cross Buns: Read to Remember
  • Ask students to turn and talk to a partner about what they know about summaries. Have partnerships share out and record student answers on the board.
  • Tell students that today they are going to learn how to write a simple summary.
  • Review the definition of a summary: When you write a summary, you are retelling a story in your own words. A summary should be short, about three sentences, and should include the main ideas of the story, not details.
  • Explain to students that they will listen to a story and you will model how to write a simple summary. Read a short story aloud, like The Paper Bag Princess by Robert Munsch.


  • Ask students to talk to a partner about the definition of the word summary using English or their home language (L1).
  • Provide a student-friendly definition of the word* main ideas* and details.


  • Show an example of a summary of a text that the class recently read.
  • Have ELs rephrase the definition and qualities of a summary. Provide a sentence stem for student conversation, such as "A good summary __________."

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third grade
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