Thursday, 19 March 2015

Post 13 (Notice I'm behind!) of Round 2 of #28daysofwriting Importance of summarising skills

So sick, so a holiday must be coming soon!  Here's hoping I get over this cold before it starts!  I really don't want to spend my holiday in Taipei sick.

Red Nose Day events followed by my cold have slowed me down considerably.  I've reverted to doing admin work, in particular getting caught up on cataloguing and processing books.  I've just placed a large order which should start to come in next week so I will have a lot to catalogue after the break.  I also have 18 books to read for the Battle of the Books.  I may try and take a few of those with me to Taiwan.

Back to Exploring the Question of Note Taking and Research

It is so frustrating when something is blindingly obvious but you keep missing it.  Thank heavens, I finally realised that the problem of students not taking notes when they researched was not because they lacked a format but because they probably didn't know how to summarise or précis.  I'm not sure when it was last week that I realised this but I'm so glad that I did.

As far as I can see at this point, there is nowhere in our curriculum where we teach students how to summarise.  I'm not even sure how you go about teaching it though I could hazard a guess.  Luckily, the Internet is there with all sorts of resources to explore on the subject.

My first stop was Reading Rockets .  Below is taken directly from the site and explains the reason for teaching summarizing:

Why use summarizing?

  • It helps students learn to determine essential ideas and consolidate important details that support them.
  • It enables students to focus on key words and phrases of an assigned text that are worth noting and remembering.
  • It teaches students how to take a large selection of text and reduce it to the main points for more concise understanding.
Next there is a simple lesson plan that could be used in subject area:

How to use summarizing

  1. Begin by reading OR have students listen to the text selection.
  2. Ask students the following framework questions:
    1. What are the main ideas?
    2. What are the crucial details necessary for supporting the ideas?
    3. What information is irrelevant or unnecessary?
  3. Have them use key words or phrases to identify the main points from the text.

Though step one suggest that the teacher read or have the students listen to a text selection, I wonder if you could simply have the students read it themselves.  I wonder what the advantage is to reading it to them.

There are several good handouts which could be used as they are or edited for use with students.  I will ponder this question of teacher reading the passage versus students reading to themselves and return to this another day.



1 comment:

Kate Evans said...

I enjoyed this - I recognise your description of those moments when you suddenly realise the 'obvious' like children not having learnt to summarise. Also what a useful website (Reading Rockets) - including ideas across different subject areas too.