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Summarizing with Post-It Notes
Subject: Language Arts
Grade: 3-5

Brief Description:

This lesson plan helps teach young students how to summarize an informational article.


  • Gather information to be used in a summary.
  • Organize information in summary form.
  • Read for facts.


Students are learning to take notes from factual information and transforming them into summaries.

Materials Needed

  • any factual material, such as an informational article within a reading anthology
  • Post-It Note pad for each student
  • pencil for each student
  • typing paper/markers for teacher's use

Lesson Plan

After reading an informational article, formulate questions about the article with the students. When using this in my classroom, we used a biographical article on artist Jerry Pinkney. The article was in our reader, complete with headings. We used the headings to help form our questions, such as "Who influenced Jerry Pinkney to become an artist?"; "What schooling did he have?"; "Where did he get his ideas for his illustrations?"; etc. Next, we distributed the post-it note pads and had the students find the answers to each question in their article. They wrote the answer on the post-it note and stuck the note on the spot where they found the answer. After all answers were found, I asked for volunteers to answer each question aloud in class with what they wrote on their post-it note. I wrote an enlarged "note" on typing paper to display in the front of the room. We continued with this format until all questions were answered. Using their post-it notes as manipulatives, I asked the students to arrange their notes in an order they thought would be appropriate to summarize the article we had read. I had students volunteer to organize my notes in chronological order. When the notes were in order, we read them as if a paragraph. This was our summary of our article!


I chose to assess this assignment in class by student participation and by checking the accuracy of their notes. However, this method is a springboard to more activities in summary writing where I can assess the students' progress in writing summaries on their own.

Lesson Plan Source

I received the post-it note idea from Mrs. Lori Vickers in a reading class I took this summer. I cannot say where, if anywhere, she got the idea.

Submitted by Rox-Anne Cox, [email protected]
Lincoln Center/Albia School District, Albia, Iowa, USA


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