Summarization–Online Resources

When you tell kids to summarize, what do you get? My kids often would tell everything they had read or else they would write practically nothing. Teaching kids to summarize is not easy and requires lots of modeling. While looking for online sources, I stumbled upon Summarize This. This easy to use website has you copy or type a text into the box, then click summarize. Voila–a summary appears. This is a good tool for kids. Having them write their own summaries and compare with the one from the website is a valuable activity. Try it out by clicking on the link above!

Another good source is available from Read, Write and Think. It is the Cube Creator. This website has four different cubes which can be created .

The first one is called a Bio Cube. It is good for biographical or autobiographical information. Students summarize information about a person and input the information on the website. After all information has been entered, a template for a cube is created.

It can be printed so students will have a 3D cube summarizing their information.

This can be a catalyst for their own biographies, used to summarize an autobiography they have read, or created to summarize a character from their reading.

The mystery cube asks students to input clues from a mystery they are reading or creating.  A graphic organizer helps students prepare to create their cube. Prompts ask students to identify the setting, clues, crime or mystery, victim, detective, and solution.

A story cube asks students to summarize information like you would find on a story map. The create your own cube is open ended and allows teachers/students to customize the cube in a way that suits their assignments. The key elements include character, setting, conflict, resolution, and theme .

The website also includes a planning sheet for each type of cube so students may prepare before they enter their information into the cube generator. It has LOTS of possibilities and is very engaging. A short video tutorial Saving Work With Student Interactives  explains the saving process., how to email, and how to reopen the file. The video is available from the website in the section entitled OVERVIEW.

There are also links to lessons that use this interactive for grades 1-12.  There is even a section called Parent and Afterschool Resources for using the cube outside the classroom. These are available from the website in the section ABOUT THIS INTERACTIVE.

This is another homerun for Read Write and Think.


Click on cover to redirect to TPT site.

Do your students need help summarizing? Do they write way too much or not enough? This summarizing unit helps your students master this skill.

A handout explains the basics of summarizing.
A class activity “Share and Snare” is a teacher directed lesson giving students practice in summarizing.
A partner activity gives students a chance to practice called “Highlight and Reconstruct.”
Seven activities are provided for using the newspaper to summarize.
“Everybody Wanted But So” is used for a summarizing strategy using children’s stories.
Small groups work together to complete a variation on the jigsaw.
Six additional summarizing ideas are included:
exit tickets, gist, design a t-shirt, create a comic, post-it, acrostic