Summarizing can be a very difficult task for some kids to master. It’s tough to figure out what the key points are to begin with. It’s even tougher to rephrase them into an original summary without simply copying what was initially read.
A strategy called I’m Melting can help with that. I’m Melting asks kids to slowly take away less meaningful parts of a sentence or paragraph until they are left with only the essential details. It’s an activity that can be done independently, with a parent, or with siblings.
Step 1 is to select a reading passage and introduce it to your kids. Give only a basic overview of what they’ll be reading…no details!
Step 2 involves one person (parent or child) reading aloud while others listen. (If a child is doing this independently, they can just read it quietly to themselves.) Then the listeners take turns slowly melting the passage. Each person (or the child if there's only one child) helps to melt the paragraph down to its key parts. To do this, ask questions about who or what the paragraph is about, what was the most important thing about the “who or what,” and what they think the main idea was about the paragraph.
Step 3 involves the listener playing a version of the hotter and colder game. Each time a child helps to melt the paragraph, they are getting hotter. But if they say something that the reader doesn’t think was hot, then they’d say they are getting colder.
Step 4 involves the child or children restating the main idea of the paragraph or passage in 10 words or less. You could have kids write this down, dictate it to you, or copy it after dictating.
Use this strategy with the Hamburger Helper strategy to help kids recognize the parts of the paragraph that are less essential (e.g., condiments) and which can help you find the main idea (e.g., buns).