5 Ways to Teach with Summarizing Task Cards

The Right Instructional Strategy

You know what to teach: summarizing. You have the resource to teach it: task cards.

What now?

Put it in a center and let the students work? Give each group 1 card, 2 minutes to work, and switch tables (scoot)? You want the best instructional approach.

You need the maximum learning from your time.

But, how?

to give your students the best learning.

Ways to Use Summarizing Task Cards

  1. Shared reading
  2. Deepen understanding through question stems
  3. Play games
  4. Quick guided reading with skills focus
  5. As an engaging writing task

Let's look at these five strategies in details, so you can get the best results from your summarizing task cards!

Summarizing Task Cards are awesome with these 5 teaching ideas!

Five Summarizing Task Card Strategies in Detail

1. Shared Reading with Task Cards

It's a perfect blend between reading to the class and the students reading with your guidance. Here's the step-by-step on how to do this strategy:

  1. Project the task card for the whole class to see. Begin reading aloud.
  2. Read aloud 4-6 words, pause, and let students read the word aloud that you paused on. It's kind of a blend between shared reading and choral reading.
  3. They continue to follow along silently until you pause, and then they read the word aloud. Use a laser pointer to keep their eyes on track.

This approach works because you can use texts that are too difficult for students to read alone. Students build fluency, expand vocabulary, and increase comprehension as you question them on problems, solutions, character intentions, and summaries.

Shared Reading for fluency, vocabulary, and comprehension.Click To Tweet


2. Deepen Comprehension Skills

Summarizing task cards are perfect to use with any comprehension skill. You just need some question stems posted in the room.

Don't worry...

...I've provided comprehension question stems below!

Summarizing task cards work because the length of the text is perfect. They are longer than other types of task cards, so they lend themselves to a variety of mini-lesson skills. The texts aren't so long that they take the entire lesson time.

Having a set of your own comprehension question stems can help you use summarizing task cards for any skill. Here are a few question stems to start.

Inference: The text says __ and __, what can you predict from that?

Inference: The [character] did __, but the the author didn't say why. What do you think were the reasons?

Ideas and Details: What are three details that support the idea that __?

Ideas and Details: The text says __ , __, and __. What is this mostly about?

Plot: Can you paraphrase the problem? Can you paraphrase the solution?

Cause/Effect: Why did __ do __? 

Context Clues: What words or phrases help you know that __ means?

Use the task cards during the lesson. Then follow-up the next day as a warm-up or bell work. Do these simple steps:

  1. Give students the same card as yesterday's comprehension lesson.
  2. Instead of using the question stems like those above, have the students pick the best summary from multiple choices on the task cards! 

Read our Newer Posts: Summarizing Video & Task Card BundleReading Test Prep, Summarizing Without Headaches


3. Playing Games with Task Cards

You know when students are dragging. Several days of monotony is slowing their energy levels. The emotional engagement just isn't there.

Use a task card game to change it up. Increased excitement to participate may be just what the students need to increase engagement in learning.

Here are previous posts with ideas for games with summarizing task cards including task card basketball.


4. For Skills-Focused Guided Reading

Summarizing task cards are perfect for guided reading when you are wanting to teach a specific skill. They're long enough to use the reading process, but they're not too long to lose focus on teaching a skill.

Use any one of the question stems above and pair your questions with modeling and explaining. Talk less and ask students to explain to you how to do the skill you're teaching.

End the guided reading lesson giving the summarizing questions that come with the task cards. Watch student comprehension increase quickly!

These are five simple, research-based approaches to using summarizing task cards.Click To Tweet


5. Recycle the Task Cards for Writing

Use the task cards for writing after you exhaust their potential for reading instruction. Follow these simple steps for an engaging and rigorous writing assignment.

  1. Reread the cards as a shared reading.
  2. Students pick the correct summary.
  3. Change one element of the story structure (setting, character, plot).
  4. Ask the students, "If the ___ changes to ___, how will this affect the plot?"
  5. Give students time to talk.
  6. Then have students write a summary of the story with this important change.

Read our Newer Posts: Summarizing Video & Task Card BundleReading Test Prep, Summarizing Without Headaches

The Research Base

Years of data provide evidence to support the use of shared reading, guided reading, and comprehension focused instruction (Stahl, 2012). The most important aspects of improving comprehension include the use of questioning strategies and ensuring active engagement. The motivation to participate is a major obstacle for many struggling readers. Take away this obstacle using the five teaching strategies above. 

Question + Shared Reading = Increased ComprehensionClick To Tweet


One Set of Task Cards, So Many Uses

You have that perfect set of summarizing task cards, but there are just so many great ways to use them! The great thing is they can flexible and can be reused in each of these ways. If you're looking for a great set of summarizing task cards, you can view TeamTom's best-selling cards at Teachers Pay Teachers.

Tap to view summarizing task cards in our store.