Summary Writing Lesson Plan for Elementary School

Instructor: Sharon Linde

Sharon has a Masters of Science in Mathematics

Teach your students important summarizing skills with the help of this lesson plan. A text lesson explains how and why to summarize stories before they practice with a familiar piece. Students use real-life stories to apply understanding and play a fun game.

Learning Objectives

After this lesson, students will be able to:

  • define 'summary' and explain why summarizing is important
  • summarize familiar text with guidance
  • write a summary of a personal story


1 - 1.5 hours


  • A screen to show the video and printed copies of the lesson How to Write a Summary: Lesson for Kids, one for each student
  • Copies of familiar stories, such as Little Red Riding Hood and The Three Little Pigs, one for each small group
  • Collect samples of text with summaries, such as chapter books with blurbs

Key Vocabulary

  • Summary

Curriculum Standards

  • CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RL.4.2

Determine a theme of a story, drama, or poem from details in the text; summarize the text.

  • CCSS.ELA-Literacy.W.4.9.a

Apply grade 4 Reading standards to literature (e.g., 'Describe in depth a character, setting, or event in a story or drama, drawing on specific details in the text 9e.g., a character's thoughts, words, or actions).

  • CCSS.ELA-Literacy.W.4.4

Produce clear and coherent writing in which the development and organization are appropriate to task, purpose, and audience.

Warm-Up and Preparation

  • Start the lesson by telling a long-winded story about something exciting that happened to you, such as the first time you bought a car or taking a cooking class.
  • When finished, ask students:
    • Did you notice how LONG my story was?
    • What if I only had two minutes to tell the story? What could I do to shorten it?
  • Try suggestions students make, then ask them to think of a story from their own lives. Have them outline the main points of the story in their writer's journals focusing on the 6 Ws - who, what, when, where, why, and how.
  • Now partner students up and have them tell their story one another. Give groups about five minutes each for their stories. If they finish too soon, have them add more details as they remember.

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