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Posted December 14, 2009
In Summarization in Any Subject the author, defines summarization as the "restating of the text or experience in as few words as possible", and makes the case that it is underused as a teaching tool. His opinion is that summarization can be accomplished in a variety of ways, not only as writing, but orally, physically, dramatically, visually, musically, and in groups or individually, which keeps it interesting for the students.
Considered one of the nine best teaching strategies, summarization is an essential skill students will carry with them to the workplace. How and when we use summarization is also important. Studies have shown that good teachers introduce the main ideas of a lesson within the first ten minutes of class. This makes use of the Primary - Regency Effect that states, "we remember best what we experience first in a lesson and second best what we experience last". So how we structure our lessons has a direct effect on what the students retain. The ability to identify the important information in a text and how to structure that information into a meaningful and successful application are according to Wormeli, the greatest gifts that a teacher can give their students.
It is essential that teachers convey to the students that summarization is just not retelling, but a strategy that will help them make the content stay with them. No one is born knowing how to summarize, it is a learned skill, and this book help define the steps toward that goal.
For all his topics and recommendations the author provides strategies and graphic organizers that work for those items, which he has arranged on a handy chart. The rest of the book is strategies, sample texts and activities for oral summarizing, paraphrasing and evaluating summaries.
Summarization in Any Subject is a very hands-on book, that doesn't waste time going over a lot of theories. The first 32 pages describe his opinion and tactics and the rest of the 226 pages are devoted to strategies and activities for the classroom. It's a keeper.
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