Summarizing is an important skill, and when studying a work of fiction, a useful skill as well. I used the following technique for chapter by chapter summaries when conducting novel studies with my students. When it came time to go back and discuss the novel and write essays, the webs made it easy for them to locate passages to support their ideas. So…
Read for at least twenty to thirty minutes. When you are done, think about what you have read.
Set up your Elements of Fiction web.
Now fill in rays with information for each bubble. Remember:
Characters are the people, sometimes animals, aliens, etc.–the players who are living out the story.
Plot refers to the events that take place in the story.
Conflicts are the problems the main character/s face in the story. Common conflicts involve the character being challenged by another character, him or herself, nature, or circumstance.
Setting includes the places, times, and moods of the scenes played out by the characters.
The theme or themes are ideas that the author, character, or story seems to be exploring.
Once you have filled out your web, use it to write a one to two paragraph summary of what you have read.
For Pre-readers: Enjoy a story together. When done, talk about the characters, setting, or story problem. Ask your child which character he liked best and why, how she might have handled the story problem, or what places he knows that the setting of the story remind him of. Take your time and enjoy the discussion.