School Improvement in Maryland

Using the State Curriculum: Reading/ELA, Grade 8

Reading/ELA | Informational | Literary | Writing | Language | Listening | Speaking

Lesson Seeds: The lesson seeds are ideas for the indicator/objective that can be used to build a lesson. Lesson seeds are not meant to be all-inclusive, nor are they substitutes for instruction.

Standard 1.0 General Reading Processes

Topic E. General Reading Comprehension

Indicator 4. Use strategies to demonstrate understanding of the text (after reading)

Objective e. Summarize or paraphrase


Prior to this activity, the teacher should make certain that students understand the meaning of paraphrase. In addition, the teacher should locate a portion of text where its main idea is directly stated in the text. Together, the teacher and students should read aloud that portion of text and the teacher should direct students to the lines in the text that state the main idea. Next, individual students should suggest ways the main idea could be accurately stated in their own words. The teacher should record all suggestions. Finally, all suggestions should be reviewed, and students can select which paraphrase is the easiest to understand.


This activity will work with a directly or indirectly stated main idea. If the text has a directly stated main idea, the teacher may share it with students or students may uncover the main idea independently. If the text has an indirectly stated main idea, the teacher may use a lesson seed from 1E4a to determine the main idea. Once the main idea has been isolated, the teacher should have some previously prepared paraphrases of the main idea to share with students. The teacher and students should discuss each paraphrase and ultimately select the best one. Next, students should be given or determine a main idea from another text and practice paraphrasing the main idea.


To help students understand the difference between a retelling and a summary, the teacher could prepare both a summary and a retelling of a familiar text. The teacher should read both the summary and retell aloud to students. Students should be asked to tell what is different between the two presentations. The teacher should record student responses and help students review their responses to determine the difference between a retell and a summary.


To begin the summarizing process, the teacher should present a portion of text to be summarized. Once the text has been read aloud, the teacher can share a hard copy of the text where all the important ideas/details have been highlighted and discuss with the class why they are highlighted. Next, another portion of text should be read by the teacher and students. This time, both teacher and students will participate in selecting the important ideas/details and highlighting them. Then, using the highlighted portions or text, the teacher should orally summarize that portion of text. As students become more proficient, they may independently complete the process.