Beacon Lesson Plan Library

What Did I Just Read?

Patti Cogburn
Santa Rosa District Schools


Students read with a purpose. After reading each chapter of a novel, the students write a chapter summary; therefore, students are reading for main idea, relevant details, and author’s purpose and point of view.


The student determines the main idea and identifies relevant details, methods of development, and their effectiveness in a variety of types of written material.

The student determines the author's purpose and point of view and their effects on the text.


-Each student needs a copy of a novel. This lesson may be done as a class, or individual students can do this when reading independently.
-Each student needs a notebook.
-Each student needs a writing utensil


1. The teacher writes the procedures (stated in the procedures section) on the board prior to class.
2. The student summaries are collected and assessed by the teacher and returned to the student. If this is the first time the students have written summaries, the teacher may want to periodically collect them to make sure they know what they are doing. After writng chapter summaries for a couple of novels and the teacher feels the students have mastered them, the teacher may chose to collect them only after the novel is finished.
3. The teacher must return the summaries in plenty of time for student study if there is to be a test on the novel.


The teacher may need to review previously taught literary terms, such as point of view, author's purpose, conflict, plot, theme, etc. If these terms have not been taught at this point, the teacher needs to take time before beginning the novel to teach these.

1. After reading a chapter in a novel, students write a summary of it in three to five statements. (See #2 below for contents of summary.)

2. Summary statements should include the following: (Write these on the board or chart. Be prepared to give examples, perhaps with a previously read class novel.)
a. new characters and their descriptions
b. the conflict within the chapter
c. exciting incidents
d. memorable quotes
e. the main idea,
f. relevant details
g. author's purpose
h. effect on student's feelings and perceptions

3. The student writes summaries in his or her notebook after each chapter read, therefore, when completing the entire novel, the student has an entire book summary. The summaries are to be written in class if time. If not, write them that night at home.

4. After reading the novel, the student also summarizes the authorís purpose and point of view, as well as determining how the purpose and point of view affected the novel in his or her notebook.

5. The student turns in his or her notebook for the teacher to assess.


Assess chapter summaries for details, plot development, characters, conflicts, points of view, author's purpose and the effect of the text on the student's feelings and perceptions. Provide feedback often (every other summary) so that students who are not including statements concerning these areas will know to revise and add to their writing.
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