Reciprocal Teaching: Summarizing

Estimated reading: 2 minutes

The last component to Reciprocal Teaching is Summarizing.  A summary retells the main ideas of the story in a shorter version. Often, students want to retell every detail of a story instead of summarizing the story with a few sentences. 

Here are some tips to help teach summarizing with direct, multi-sensory approaches:

  • Introduce Sammy the Summarizer (Lori Oczkus’ Reciprocal Teaching at Work).  He speaks in a southern accent and summarizes the story. 
  • To reinforce Sammy the Summarizer, use a piece of rope or yarn as a lasso for an object or make a lasso hand gesture when you summarize a story.
  • Use the “Somebody, Wanted, But, So, Then (SWBST) strategy (see below for template). Students write one or two sentences with those 5 key words.  For example: Buzzy (somebody) wanted to fly, but he read in a book that his body was too big for his wings.  So, he walked home, where his parents told him to believe in himself.  Then, Buzzy could fly again. Create an anchor chart and have students write their ideas on post-it notes to place at each spot, or create a foldable with flaps for each title. 
  • As a follow-up to the SWBST activity, have students write a paragraph using each part piece. This helps structure their summary. 
  • Have students complete the last portion of their four-door poster for summarizing. 

For more amazing, multi-sensory ideas to teaching comprehension, see Reciprocal Teaching at Work by Lori Oczkus and check out the Reciprocal Teaching board on IMSE’s Pinterest page.