Resources for supporting reading for meaning

  • Summarizing and Note-taking
    This page is designed to provide students with four options for taking notes about short non-fiction articles or textbook chapters. The four choices of organizer will match with different thinking styles while each one maintains the minimum requirements for good note-taking.

    Using these note-taking devices will allow students to match the activity with their learning styles, while at the same time providing the teacher with an authentic assessment of what their students  understand  and remember.

    The four styles are:

    • Idea Magnets
    • Idea Cluster
    • T-Chart
    • Main Idea

    All of the organizers have space for the three essential parts:

    • Topic/Main Idea
    • Sub-topics
    • Details

    Before reading students will: 

    • Choose the organizer that best fits their thinking style.
    • Preview the article until they can identify the topic in their own words.
    • Guess at what they think the subtopics will be.
    • You can provide a lot of support and modeling with this step, including providing them with an identified topic and sub-topics, but be sure to leave them with enough room to make their own choices about what is important.

    While they read students will:

    • Identify subtopics and significant details.
    • Some students will prefer to fill out the organizer while they read, others will prefer to make annotations within the text as they find sub-topics, and fill out the organizer after reading.

    After they read students will:

    • Fill out organizer.
    • Turn “topic” into “main idea.” A topic says what the article is about (or who is doing what where). A main idea answers the question “What is the author saying about [topic]?”
    • Topic/Main Idea: Writing  good "Main Idea" or summary sentences requires lots of practice, support, and modeling. Student should be encouraged to write complex main idea sentences that take into account all of the important sub-topics in the article.