Thursday, December 18, 2014

Happy Holidays and Summarization {Evidence Based Strategy}

Happy Holidays from Building Successful Lives (BSL) Speech & Language! I am writing from the comforts of home today as I am now on day 3 of recovering from the flu. As the year is quickly coming to an end, this is a great time to naturally reflect on skills that you have taught your students and the progress that they have made.  However, it is equally important that you teach students, especially students with language disorders the evidence based strategy of summarization. 

Summarization is a skill that requires an individual to synthesize or bring together information that they have heard, read, and learned in a simplified and organized manner. It may involve a verbal summary, written summary, or both. This strategy can be applied in all the content areas of language arts, math, science, social studies, and various specials or electives classes. Once students learn how to use this skill and practice it effectively, it will have positive implications in their ability to master academic standards as well as become more effective communicators.

Now educators and speech-language pathologists may think, "oh, I have my students do this all the time." But do you really do this on a consistent basis? This is an excellent strategy that allows the teacher or SLP to check for a student's understanding of curriculum relevant standards as well as their oral/written language skills. It is ideal that this strategy is paired with an age appropriate graphic organizer to aid a child's recall and organization of content related to a particular topic. As children develop it is important to increase the expectations for them to have increasing depth of knowledge on a topic. A teacher or SLP may even use a rubric to progress monitor growth of summarization skills such as:

Teachers and SLPs of children in grades K-3 can have students summarize fiction text both verbally and in writing. Here are some suggestions for great holiday and winter themed books:
There was an Old Lady Who Swallowed a Bell by Lucille Colandro
Footprints in the Snow by Mei Matsuoka
The Mitten by Jan Brett
Snow Dog, Go Dog by Deborah Heiligman

Teachers and SLPs of children in grades 4-8 can have students summarize non-fiction information both verbally and in writing. They can summarize main ideas and related details learned in social studies and science content. I love having my students make metacognitive maps which are a visual representation of main ideas, vocabulary, and details on a selected topic. You can read more about that here:

Here are some examples of graphic organizers that require increasing linguistic or language complexity:

K-W-L Chart
Beginning-Middle-End/Story Train Chart: 

Venn Diagram:
*interactive computer made & printable visual:

Make sure to integrate summarization, an evidence-based strategy into your speech-language therapy sessions and classrooms on a regular basis! You will see positive gains in your students over time!

Better: Evidence-based Education Magazine
Published by the Johns Hopkins University School of Education's Center for Research and Reform in Education, Better magazine takes an evidence-based approach to figuring out what works in teaching.

  • Summarizing text: "Explicitly teach students procedures for summarizing what they read. Summarization allows students to practice concise, clear writing to convey an accurate message of the main ideas in a text. Teaching summary writing can involve explicit strategies for producing effective summaries or gradual fading of models of a good summary as students become more proficient with the skill."

Tamara Anderson, Ed.S.. CCC-SLP
Speech-language pathlogist
Education Specialist

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