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The summation pyramid strategy guides students through writing summaries of expository text and it will aid in developing understanding and improving retention. In particular, it will come in handy for research activities. Model the process at least once before the students work independently.

Picture of Summation Pyramid for teaching summary writing.

  1. Have student use their own notebook paper to draw a large triangle that is at least six lines tall.
  2. Fill out a triangle for every 250-500 words of text where a logical break occurs in the reading.
  3. Write a short summary sentence that uses all 12 words from the pyramid. Add connecting words as needed.

Summation Pyramid Adaptations:

  1. Provide simplified text for struggling readers.
  2. Work with a partner. The teacher can then move about the room and listen to each pair’s conversation and approach to processing.
  3. Break a long article up and then have each student or pair present their summary to the class.


What strategies have you found effective for teaching summarizing?


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