Lesson Plan

What's the Big Idea? Summarizing Nonfiction Texts

Understanding the big idea of a nonfiction text and being able to write a succinct summary are key fourth grade skills. This lesson focuses on summarizing a nonfiction passage in three to four sentences.
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Need extra help for EL students? Try the Adjectives in Informational Texts pre-lesson.
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Need extra help for EL students? Try the Adjectives in Informational Texts pre-lesson.

Learning Objectives

Students will be able to write a three- to four-sentence summary on nonfiction texts.

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

Introduction

(5 minutes)
Comparing Two Nonfiction TextsWriting a Nonfiction Summary: SharksWriting a Nonfiction Summary: The Mimic OctopusSoccer: Nonfiction Text
  • Tell students that knowing how to summarize a nonfiction text is a skill that will help them in the future.
  • Inform them that knowing how to clearly state the main points of an informational text is important when they read news articles or watch videos related to science or social studies.
  • Tell students that today they will practice identifying the main idea of a text to write a three- to four-sentence summary.

Beginning

  • Show examples of short informational texts students are familiar with as you introduce the topic of nonfiction summaries.

Intermediate

  • Provide a student-friendly definition of "main idea" in students' home language (L1) and English (L2).